It’s easy to find yourself feeling bad about your life — rather than feel good. Your thoughts can become louder than your actions. Your mind can become a disgusting swamp of negativity that drags you under the surface and makes you feel like you’re drowning from a lack of oxygen.
Breathe. Relax. To start feeling good about life — or better about your life — there are a few ideas that can help. These are the ideas I used while facing unemployment, leaving a startup behind that I loved, and dealing with multiple illnesses.
These ideas can help you feel incredibly good about life again. They’re damn simple too.
Rejection is redirection, not failure
Making a list of your rejections can feel like you’re looking at a list of failures. Your rejections can make you believe you stuffed up or you’re not good enough or Bob that’s always winning beat you again. A tiny idea that changes how you perceive rejection is to see it as redirection.
What if without the rejection, you chose a career that made you hate going to work each day? What if without rejection, you married someone who verbally abused you every day? What if without rejection, you kept trying to be somebody you’re not to impress strangers? The key idea comes down to this:
Rejection might be saving your life and keeping you from harm.
There’s no guarantee that when you have a goal and get accepted as part of the process, the outcome will be the one you want. Rejection has secretly taken away what I don’t want and brought me closer to what I do want. That idea could become true for you too.
Everyone is struggling; it’s just invisible
You’re not alone. Everybody, including Susie with the new job and pink Mini Cooper that matches her shoes, is struggling.
The ones who are winning are likely struggling more.
Once you have success, it can change you. You can work harder to protect what you have instead of becoming grateful or using what you have to inspire others.
Getting what you want can be a curse. One of the best parts of any challenge is the struggle. The struggle builds your mind’s mental muscle. We don’t display huge labels on our heads that tell us who is or isn’t struggling today.
To live is to struggle.
You can enjoy the struggle or hate it. Both realities are possible and you get to position which idea serves you the most.
If you could hear people’s thoughts, you’d see we’re all crazy
Your life can feel like a mess if your thoughts never give you a break. Your mind is always trying to protect you from the next lion ready to attack you, except you’re not a cave man/woman anymore and there isn’t a lion ready to make your pretty face into lunch.
Life can feel that little bit better when you understand just how noisy all our minds are — even the self-gurus in the back preaching mental toughness and pretending to be navy seals.
It’s rare you’ll meet someone without a noisy mind and if you do, well, they’ve probably meditated for a long time to separate their ‘being’ from their mind and experimented with the weird monk philosophy of enlightenment. If you haven’t attended monk school, then perhaps that’s not you.
You’re doing the best you can
There’s no point in being angry with how you’re doing. There is a high chance you’re doing the best you can or you at least know you have to up your game. You’re not stupid and you’re trying.
We all hit rough patches and lose our motivation. An unexpected death in the family or a goal you fell short on can bring you down.
You don’t have to get right up again. Take your time. Do your best. And feel good about where you are.
You have more than you think
I meet people all the time who live in the western world and earn plenty of money. Many of them think they need more money or to sell their startup for a $100M price tag to be sufficient.
The truth is if you’re reading this, you have a lot more than you think.
There are people all over the world that have to walk a long way to get water while you sip your grande-sized Starbucks coffee. There are people that come home at night and are homeless because they don’t have access to people who can help them with their psychological problems. There are innocent people who had one too many rounds of bad luck and now can’t buy food to feed their family.
I know you think you don’t have enough, but you do. You can always have more, of course, but when you get it — like when writing transformed my life and gave me plenty — you realize that it’s not having more that you were chasing after all. It’s being able to give more.
You don’t have to wait. You can start now.
Life feels good when you know you can always start now. Or start again.
You don’t have to wait for permission from anybody. If you want to write, then write. If you want to sing, then sing. If you want to be a leader, then lead without the job title.
If there’s something you want to do, close this article, get out your phone, open the notepad app, and sketch down one idea. Tomorrow, write down another idea.
Book the appointment, join the dating app, tell that special person you love them, go on that holiday.
Take one tiny step and then another. The key is not what you do, but when you do it. Now is the best time of all to start.
Give love and you’ll receive love
We all secretly crave love in some form: from parents, bosses, romantic partners, friends, and strangers.
Instead of craving love, give love.
This stupidly simple idea changed everything for me and it has the potential to do the same for you. Instead of being so angry and bitter and adopting a scarcity mindset that tells you everybody is trying to take something away from you, give love. Not the cheesy type of love.
Give love in the following forms:
- Tell someone you appreciate them
- Lift someone up when they’re having a bad day
- Share some of your bonus cheques with a human who needs it
- Hug your partner when they get home
- Say “I love you” more often
- Be kind to people who need it
- Give love to trolls and haters online by liking their comments and leaving beautiful replies
Worry can expand and contract
A lot of your worries can come from the need to own stuff. Everything you own requires your attention and maintenance, but you can feel good when you own less.
But you don’t actually need a bigger house or a better car. You don’t have to earn more money to buy more stuff and you’re smart enough to know it won’t make you happy.
All those worries about money can be redirected into experiencing life, rather than owning props that you put on life’s stage and stare at.
You can worry less when you own less. And feel good about what you have.
Don’t be ashamed of the masks you wear
Niklas Göke opened everyone’s eyes recently when he wrote about the masks we wear. He claims the problem we have is that we think we only have one mask. He says we don’t.
When you go to work you have the work mask. When you come home you wear the relaxed mask as you sit on the couch. When you kiss your partner or significant other you wear a mask then too. When you visit your parents you have a different mask that says “Don’t worry, I’m fine.”
You are not one person and your masks change throughout life. If you look back at the masks you wore a decade ago, you’ll probably find the new ones you ordered from a fictional Amazon Seller that sells personas, are somewhat different.
We wear masks based on the place and time we’re in and who is going to be on stage with us. We’re all acting. To live is to act in some form or another. Feel good about the masks you wear rather than trying to declutter them down to one.
Picture your worst day. This is worse.
I left the most important idea until last.
Picture your worst day.
Now picture an even worse day.
Now fast-forward to the last day of your life.
You’re sitting on the hospital bed and those who love you are all around you. Everyone in the room knows you’re going to be dying soon. Your fate is sealed.
You think back to your worst day. Now you think about your life in its entirety and wish you did more with it. You have terrible regrets. Which day feels worse to you?
Now think about this: if getting to the end of your life and realizing you have regrets is the worst thought imaginable, remember that you’re not there yet. You can make changes right now so that you get to the end of your life and don’t have regrets.
Your imaginary “worst day” is not worse than finishing your life with regrets having half-lived and half-assed your way to the end.
You can go out right now and choose to live a life of no regrets and feel good about life again.
This article originally appeared on Medium.