Three Steps to Recover When You Feel Like Giving Up On Life

There have been several moments in life where I wanted to give up. I just couldn’t do it any more. Every one of those times, the problem in front of me seemed larger than I could cope with. I didn’t see how I could make any headway, or ever succeed or move past it.

Instead of giving up on life, I’ve learned a 3-step plan for shaking myself out of those moments. It’s simple, but I don’t mean to imply that it’s easy. Those “I give up” times in life are sneaky, and it can be hard to get out from under them. But it’s not impossible.

Step 1: Lean In to the Wallow

The pity party gets a bad rap. But taking a moment to indulge your sadness and frustration can be a good thing. In fact, one of the worst things you can do when you’re struggling is TRY to push through, but instead keep ruminating on the problem. Rumination and its verbal sibling, “venting,” keep you stuck and angry. It’s better to actually take a moment to feel your feelings, instead of pretending you’re okay or toughing it out.

Give yourself a few hours to wallow. Curl up in bed with a favorite treat food (not 5 favorites – you don’t want to add a sugar or salt crash to your emotional roller-coaster!) and Netflix. Take 10 minutes to write out your thoughts and frustrations. After those few hours are over, the indulging is over and it’s time to move forward to the next step.

 

  Rumination and its verbal sibling, “venting,” keep you stuck and angry. It’s better to actually take a moment to feel your feelings

Step 2: Lend a Hand

Helping someone else is one of the best ways research has found to get perspective. Research for my first book, The Giving Prescription, shows that when we help someone else, we see our own struggles in a new light. Scientifically, helping offers several great ways to heal yourself, like increased personal connections, a sense of purpose, and an endorphin rush often called the “Helper’s High.”

Structured volunteer work is a great way to give back to others, but it isn’t the only way. Even just helping a colleague or a neighbor with a problem can earn you the same benefits. It doesn’t matter what kind of work specifically you do to help, as long as it’s meaningful to you. When you find a way to help that holds deep meaning for you, it helps you find perspective and a new way to think about your own struggles.

 

Step 3: Tackle Something Small

Have you heard the joke about “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!” When things feel like they’re out of your control, it’s important to take action steps to regain your personal power. So start by working on accomplishing something small. Studies show that accomplishing small things wthin our control helps us regain a feeling of personal power. When our personal power is missing, we feel helpless and hopeless, but by starting small, we can confront those feelings.

Look for a task that has a reasonable goal and a specific time limit. It can also help to choose something that plays to your strengths, so you won’t feel like the work is as much of a chore. Dedicate your time to accomplishing that one task before you move on to something else, and once you’ve accomplished that task, you should feel like your personal power is getting back on track.

 

 Studies show that accomplishing small things wthin our control helps us regain a feeling of personal power.

It’s not shameful to feel like you want to give up. It’s a completely normal response to feeling like things are out of your control. Follow this 3-step action to both feel better and to regain actual control over your circumstances, and you’ll be on your way to having life eating out of the palm of your hand.