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Your Life Is a Mess? How to Fix It and Turn Things Around

Your Life Is a Mess? How to Fix It and Turn Things Around

Your home is a mess, but not even half as messy as your life. Your partner isn’t talking to you, your work life seems out of control, your social relationships don’t go the way you want, and you feel like something is missing in life…

We all go through a point in our life where everything seems out of control. Once you get to that point, it’s hard to know where to start.

If you’re reading this, then chances are you’re at this point.

The bad news is that it will be hard. The good news is that you will get through it.

In this article, you’ll learn 3 steps to fix it and turn things around.

Step 1: Recognize the Mess You Have

It’s easy to say that you have to take back control of your life, but how do you actually do this?

If there was one right answer, most people wouldn’t deal with this problem for more than a minute.

The true is there isn’t one. There is no quick solution, but there are ways to deal with it.

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First, you have to recognize that you have a problem. If you tell yourself everything is fine, then there is nothing to fix. The moment you don’t prioritize dealing with your problems is the moment you lose.

It’s possible to get through your days even though your life is a mess. Because maybe your home isn’t a mess. Maybe everything looks alright from the outside. We can still go to work and pick the kids up from school despite our problems, but day by day you’ll become more and more anxious and depressed, until it finally hits you all at a once.

The first step is therefore to take your problems seriously and actively decide to turn things around. Maybe you’re not at a breaking point yet, but you will get there if you keep ignoring the mess.

Step 2: Know What Are out of Control, and Let Go of Them

When your life seems like a mess, it often comes down to a lot of things around us that aren’t going the way they are supposed to. It can be the small things like a messy kitchen and the big things like personal relationships not working out, or bills that are overflowing.

Start out by figuring out exactly where it all seems to go wrong at the moment. Sit down and write down everything that’s been bothering you.

It may seem basic and stupid to spend time on a list like that, because with everything you should be doing – making a list about it just creates even more pressure on you.

But by writing it down, you’ll be able to get a good look at your messy life. Sometimes, we need to see the problems on a paper written down in our own words. My boyfriend keeps cheating on me. I’m way over my budget every month. My co-worker doesn’t like me.

Once you do this, you’ll be able to see that a lot of the things that seems to make your life a mess is out of your control. Underline all the things on the list that you can’t control and then let go of them.

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It’s very normal (and okay) to have a lot of these out-of-our-control things on the list as well as problems that aren’t even really problems. Humans need problems, but we need to be able to solve them.

Mark Manson explains it like this,[1]

“Problems are a constant in life. When you solve your health problem by buying a gym membership, you create new problems, like having to get up early to get to the gym on time, sweating like a meth-head for thirty minutes on an elliptical, and then getting showered and changed for work, so you don’t stink up the whole office. When your solve problem of not spending enough time with your partner by designating Wednesday night “date night”, you generate new problems, such as figuring out what to do every Wednesday that you both won’t hate, making sure you have enough money for nice dinners, rediscovering the chemistry and spark you two feel you’ve lost…”

Problems are a constant in every human life, but stop creating problems you can’t fix.

We get so caught up in small things like our partner liking someone else’s picture on social media. It’s much easier to let our bottled-up anger out on a person about a picture instead of saying you’re not happy anymore and that you should have broken up six months ago.

So, to recap step 2:

Pinpoint all the things that are brining you down that you can’t control. Problems are okay. They are a part of human existence, but if you want to move on and fix your life, then you need to only focus on the problems that can be solved.

Step 3: Don’t Get Lost in Distractions and Fantasies

When your life starts to feel like a mess, it’s often because we’ve been moving forward at a fast pace, but somehow still feel like we’re standing still. You thought that if you just kept going for another week, another month, or maybe even another year, you would get “there”.

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You’re not sure where, but you told yourself that you would know this happy place once you got there.

Then you wake up one day and all the problems are still there. The magic solution you thought would save you from all the negative things in your life was nothing else than a tale.

We tell ourselves that we can overcome problems like having too many bills, if we just find our true love, or that it doesn’t matter you’re alone and miserable as long as you get the promotion at work.

We like to idealize the idea of a few good things in life that we’ve seen in all the movies: the perfect job, the perfect partner… And then we tell ourselves that instead of focusing on the small problems in our life, we should focus on getting those.

It’s in fact delusional to think that one good thing in life can make all the bad things go away. It’s a fantasy.

Even if you do get that one good thing that you’ve put so much pressure on getting, it will end up backfiring and make you feel even more sad once you get it, because you realize that all the other things in your life did kind of matter as well.

Instead of finding a quick fix, or chasing a fantasy, you should embrace the suffering. Mark Manson expressed his concern about today’s society in his book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck:

“I believe that today we’re facing a psychological epidemic one in which people no longer realize it’s okay for things to suck sometimes.”

While it’s important to not spend time caring about all the problems we can’t fix, it’s just as important to care about the things we do have the ability to fix.

Maybe you can run away from your problems for a while — getting caught up in a new relationship that makes you forget that you’ve broken the one with your family, or a new promotion can make you forget that you actually wanted to do something else with your life. Unfortunately, the on-going problems in your life will come back and they will hit you much harder.

The final step is therefore to keep your focus on the problems that can be fixed. The problems in front of you that you are in control of. Embrace them. Deal with them. One day at a time.

Don’t get lost in distractions. They might make you feel better for a minute, but they’ll make everything worse in the long run.

It doesn’t mean that you can’t fall in love or enjoy some good news at work while you’re dealing with your problems. But remember to deal with your pain and problems instead of pushing them to the side.

More to Boost Your Motivation

Featured photo credit: Riccardo Mion via unsplash.com

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Maria Jensen

Specializes in personal and professional development.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

How to Break Free From Negative Thinking for Good

How to Break Free From Negative Thinking for Good

Negative thinking can make us feel as though we are never truly good enough to change our lives. Whether we believe that we are not good looking enough, not smart enough, not funny enough, or something in between, we are always right.

We often tell ourselves the following:

“I’m not good enough to accomplish this.”

“They won’t like me. I’m too ugly to be around them.”

“I won’t ever be able to get out of this situation.”

How we see ourselves dictates how we lead our lives. This simple truth, while it is currently impacting your reality in a negative way, is actually good news. Why?

You can change your thinking, and when you can change your thoughts, you can change your reality.

Put simply, if you start to believe and feel like you are good-looking, intelligent, wealthy, or other things, you begin to see yourself in that light. If you tell yourself that you are capable of achieving greatness, you will eventually get there!

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That said, many find themselves wondering what to do when they get stuck in negative thinking. Are you tired of letting negative thinking run your life? Do you want to take control of how you feel and put yourself out there?

If you want to start writing your own narrative, let’s learn more about negative thought cycles and how you can change your own internal voice.

Where Do Negative Thoughts Come From?

You aren’t going to wake up one day and find that you are suffering from random negative thoughts. Negative thoughts are often a mix of ideas that we develop on our own, as well as ideas that we may have gotten from others.

For example, if you are constantly watching media where individuals are depicted as having thin bodies and perfect skin (and you do not have the same characteristics as those who are traditionally considered to be beautiful), you may come to the conclusion that you are not beautiful or deserving of love.

This is far from the truth, but your own take on how the world works can play into how you feel about yourself.

Equally harmful, the opinions of others can start to affect our self-perception. If several people tell you something negative about yourself, you may begin to take these opinions to heart, telling yourself the same things over time. This self-belief then becomes the model for how you live.

More often than not, the reality is that individuals who lack confidence and self-esteem are going to develop negative thought patterns.

This does not mean that confident people do not face internal crises of their own. After all, everyone is prone to experiencing a negative thought here and there. However, those who are self-aware and confident are able to bounce back from these thoughts and return to their truth.

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Those who do not think highly of themselves, on the other hand, are going to keep believing the negative thoughts that come into their mind. The issue? These negative thoughts turn into a repetitive cycle that becomes harder to break over time.

When you tell yourself something for months or years at a time, it can be difficult to transform that internal dialogue into something more positive and realistic. But is it possible? Absolutely!

The Importance of Quitting Negative Thinking

Beyond low-self esteem, there may be mental health-related causes behind your negative thought patterns, like depression. One of the major symptoms of depression is, you guessed it, negative thoughts. Depression can make us feel unworthy of love and life, even if we have everything we could wish for[1].

You may be struggling with anxiety disorders instead, which can paint uncertain visions of the future and leave you anticipating the worst long before the moment has arrived. Some people have anxiety about the present or will return to past moments where they felt as though they failed, which affects their feelings about who they are or who they will be[2].

Having mental health issues can make your situation more complex, but it is important to know that these types of health issues are highly treatable, especially with the assistance of a mental health professional. You are deserving of self-love, and getting help is the first, most important step of your journey!

How to Break the Cycle of Negative Thinking

In order to overcome your negative thought process, you are going to need two things: self-awareness and a willingness to love yourself. Once you are armed with these two tools, take a look below to learn more about how you can break free of the cycle of negative thinking.

1. Become Aware of the Thoughts That Are Affecting You

Negative thoughts are hard to catch because they have a tendency to become a part of who we are. These thoughts build our belief system and go unchallenged, even when they pop up daily.

All change begins with awareness. Whatever it is that you believe about yourself, take the time to pay attention to your own dialogue.

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What are you saying to yourself on a regular basis? How does it make you feel? Is any of it true?

 

When these thoughts are brought to your attention, you begin to notice just how often you are saying these things to yourself. Once you’ve cultivated awareness around these thoughts, you can begin to develop the change that you want.

2. Learn to Accept Them as They Come (and Move on)

A lot of people believe that you have to completely remove negative thinking patterns from your life in order to be happy. Not only is this not possible, but it’s also not true. You are going to experience negative thoughts regardless. It’s what you decide to do with these thoughts that matters.

Next time a negative thought comes into your mind, treat it like a passing car. Acknowledge it and let it pass you by. Don’t try to wave the driver over to you or continue thinking about once it has passed. Just let it go.

Giving power to your thoughts allows them to have control over you. You can’t stop a negative thought from entering your mind, but you always have the power to let it go!

3. Challenge Your Negative Thoughts

Our own beliefs play on a loop, telling us certain things over and over again. While it’s important to let go, it is also important to get to the root of these issues and figure out where they are coming from.

Let’s imagine that you are telling yourself you are stupid throughout the day. If you notice this pattern, ask yourself: Does this have any basis in reality? Am I really stupid or am I telling myself this unnecessarily? Is there any evidence to support this[3]?

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Challenge negative thinking by asking questions.

    Challenging your negative thoughts will help you realize that they are highly-exaggerated and untrue. This gives you the opportunity to transform these negative thoughts into positive ones that resonate with you.

    4. Replace These Thoughts with Kinder, More Realistic Alternatives

    Anything that is broken must be replaced. The broken record playing on a loop within you can easily be changed to a tune that you can actually sing to.

    Whenever a negative thought comes up, take the time to stop yourself and think of something positive to put in its place. If you find yourself saying, “I can’t do this,” try telling yourself that you are more than capable instead.

    Keep in mind, however, that you need to tell yourself things that you truly believe. If you start telling yourself things that don’t resonate with you and encounter a situation that proves your belief wrong, you may do more harm than good!

    Bottom Line

    Changing the way you think is a rigorous but rewarding process that will change your outlook on life. If you find yourself struggling with negative thinking, learn more about where they come from and how you can stop them for good with the guide above!

    More on How to Stop Negative Thinking

    Featured photo credit: Max Ilienerwise via unsplash.com

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