13 Helpful Things to Do When You Feel Useless
I know right now you’re wondering, “Why am I so useless? What’s wrong with me?”
You feel worthless.
You feel that way not because you actually are but because your sense of self-worth is low right now.
And that happens to all of us at least once in a lifetime.
The first thing I want to say is that I’m sorry you’re feeling that way.
You don’t deserve that.
But go you for searching for help! I mean, you’re here. That’s something.
It’s a solid step in the right direction.
It means that, deep down, you know there’s hope and that you don’t deserve to feel like this forever.
You’re looking for solutions.
I’d say we’ve all gone through moments when our self-esteem isn’t the best, and that makes us feel useless in life.
However, it’s important to remember that those feelings are not a reflection of your true worth as a person. They’re temporary.
Your self-esteem can be like a wave with its highs and lows, but you, the person, remain valuable no matter what.
Everyone has unique strengths and talents, and I know you have yours as well.
It’s also important to remember that asking for help is okay.
You’re not alone in feeling this way, and there are people who can help you get through this, like a family member, a friend, or a therapist.
They can help you work through your feelings and give you the support you need to feel better.
Remember, the road to feeling better about yourself isn’t always easy, but it’s possible.
It takes time and effort, but with the right support and tools, you can overcome this and start feeling better.
In this post, I’m giving you a comprehensive list of tools and tricks you can use to get back on your feet. I hope you find something useful here so you can feel better soon.
You are worthy, you are important and you are capable of changing your life.
How to Not Feel Worthless: 13 Tips and Tools
In times like this, there are different things you can do to feel better.
Not all of them are for you, probably, because that depends on your personality and other factors.
However, I’m sure you’ll find something here that resonates with you.
Here’s what to do when you feel worthless.
1. Take time to get to know yourself
This is the very first thing you should do, in my opinion.
Getting to know yourself better can be helpful when you’re feeling worthless.
When you’re feeling down, it can be easy to get caught up in negative thoughts and feelings.
However, by focusing on getting to know yourself better, you’re allowing yourself to shift your focus and gain a deeper understanding of:
- who you are,
- what makes you tick,
- and what you want out of life.
It’ll offer you a different perspective on your feelings and can even improve the way you treat yourself because it makes you more compassionate.
To me, the best tool to do that is journaling.
I created a collection of journaling workbooks specifically to help you know and understand yourself better.
By getting to know yourself better, you can identify your strengths and passions and find ways to use them in your daily life.
This can give you a sense of purpose and direction, which can help to boost your confidence and self-esteem.
Besides, by understanding yourself better, you will also be able to identify the things that might be contributing to your feelings of worthlessness and work on them.
So, take some time to reflect on what you want out of life, what makes you happy, and what you’re passionate about.
Think about your future and where you’d like to be when you’re older.
Taking the time to get to know yourself better will have a big impact on how you feel about yourself and your life.
2. Keep a journal
I LOVE journaling.
To me, journaling is the top self-growth tool out there.
It’s going to help you understand your feelings, uncover your biggest dreams in life and even plan your future.
However, when we talk about feeling worthless or having low self-esteem, journaling can be especially helpful because:
a. It allows you to process your thoughts and feelings in a healthy way
Writing down your emotions can help you make sense of what’s going on. It’s a healthy way to vent.
Sometimes it can be hard to open up to others, so journaling offers a safe and private way to process your emotions.
b. It can provide a sense of accomplishment
Setting aside time to write in your journal each day and reflecting on your progress can help you see how far you’ve come, which can boost your self-esteem.
c. It’s a form of self-expression
Writing about your thoughts and feelings can be cathartic and help you feel heard and understood.
d. It helps you take care of yourself
Journaling is a form of high-quality self-care.
It’s a habit that helps you take care of yourself, both mentally and emotionally, which will eventually help you feel better and stop feeling like you don’t matter.
e. It can help you identify triggers and patterns
Writing down your feelings can help you identify patterns in your thoughts and behaviors, which can help you tackle the root of what’s happening.
Something to remember here is that when you’re writing down your thoughts and feelings, you want to be as honest as you can be.
However, you also want to avoid getting into a spiral of negativity in your journal.
Practice letting it all out and then letting it go.
Try to make space for positivity once you write about what’s going wrong.
I know that sounds cliché, but finding the positive out of the negative is vital in your recovery journey.
Journaling can help you shift your focus, but that doesn’t come without effort.
Remember that journaling is not a magic solution to all mental health issues. But it can be helpful when we combine it with other self-care practices and professional help if we need to.
3. Learn how to challenge your negative thoughts
We’re all human, and it’s completely normal to have negative thoughts from time to time.
It’s part of having a mind and living in this time and age. (Sadly, I guess?)
However, it’s worth it to start paying attention to moments when thinking negatively becomes the norm.
It can be incredibly difficult to challenge negative thoughts when you’re depressed or with very low self-esteem, I know.
But it’s possible, and it’s worth the effort.
Here are a couple of things that could help you take yourself out of negativity:
a. Recognize when you’re having negative thoughts.
Take the time to notice what you’re thinking about throughout the day (journaling daily can help a lot with that).
Negative thoughts can sound like:
- I’m not smart/disciplined/pretty/funny/whatever enough to do X.
- I failed once, so I’ll always fail.
- I’m not as lucky as X, so I’ll never accomplish X.
And any other thought that sounds like an excuse or like you are saying horrible things about yourself.
Recognizing this type of thought is the very first step, and it’s not an easy one, I’ll be honest.
But once you’re aware of them, you can start questioning them.
b. Ask yourself if the thought is true
You don’t need to believe everything your mind tells you.
Sometimes our thoughts can come from old beliefs or experiences that no longer apply to us.
So, once you’ve identified the thought, try to disprove it by asking yourself:
- Is this still true?
- Am I generalizing here?
- Can I think of moments when [insert negative thought here] didn’t happen or the opposite happened?
So, let’s say you’re convinced you’re a bad driver, but when you think about it, you’ve never caused an accident or collided with another car.
Maybe you have some things to improve about your driving, sure, but that doesn’t mean you’re a bad driver.
If you find evidence that disproves your thought, it’ll be much easier to let it go.
Start practicing today.
c. Reframe your thoughts
Instead of focusing on the negative, try to find a positive twist.
So, instead of thinking, “I’m a failure,” try thinking, “I didn’t succeed this time, but I can learn a lesson from this and give it another try.“
Don’t forget to practice self-compassion during this process.
Talk to yourself with the same kindness and understanding you would offer a friend.
Remember that your relationship with yourself is the most important one in your life.
Changing the way you think takes time and practice, I’m not gonna lie and tell you you’ll be out of this within a week.
That’s not going to happen overnight.
What I can tell you, though, is that, with persistence and effort, you can learn to reframe your negative thoughts and start seeing things in a more positive light.
Remember that sometimes negative thoughts can be a symptom of a bigger issue, such as anxiety or depression.
If you’re struggling to identify or challenge your negative thoughts, it might be helpful to talk to a therapist.
4. Set a small goal
Setting small and exciting goals can be helpful in times like this.
When you’re feeling down, it can be easy to feel worthless and lost.
But if you set a goal, you’re giving yourself something to work towards, which can help give you a sense of purpose.
On top of that, setting goals can help you increase your self-confidence and self-esteem once you see you’re making progress.
It can also help you to identify what you’re good at and passionate about and find ways to use them in your daily life.
Setting small goals doesn’t mean you have to ignore the negative things in your life, but it’s a powerful tool to balance things and get you excited about life, which takes me to my next point.
5. Make a joy list
I know. Probably nothing gives you joy right now.
But deep down, there’s got to be something that either excites you about the future or brings you happiness.
Take your mind off everything that’s going wrong and try to focus on the positive for five minutes.
- What gets me excited?
- What could make me smile or laugh right now?
- What used to get me excited? Can I do that now?
- What makes me happy?
- What makes me smile or laugh?
And reframe your thoughts every time an excuse pops up.
When you’re feeling low, it’s easy to get caught up in negative thoughts and feelings.
But by making a list like this, you’re shifting your focus to the positive and reminding yourself that life is worth living.
I love making lists when I feel like my life’s a mess for any reason because they help me brainstorm.
It’s the perfect exercise to inspire creative thinking and help you come up with new ideas that align with what you truly want in life.
Plus, thinking about things that make you happy can help you identify what comes naturally to you, which can, in turn, help you uncover your strengths and boost your self-esteem.
6. Practice gratitude
Studies have shown that practicing gratitude can help you:
- feel more optimistic within a relatively short period of time
- feel better about your life
- and increase your levels of happiness.
To practice gratitude, make a list (yes, it’s me again telling you to make a list) about three things you’re grateful for today.
It can be anything:
- your family
- a happy childhood memory you keep
- the weather today
- your pet
- everything you learned thanks to a heartbreak.
Create one list daily (either in the morning or before going to bed), no matter if one or more of the items repeat day after day.
Doing this helps you shift your focus from negative thoughts to positive ones.
Like I said before, when you’re feeling down, it can be easy to focus on what’s going wrong in your life.
But by practicing gratitude, you’re making a conscious effort to focus on the good things in your life, no matter how small they may be.
Practicing gratitude doesn’t mean you have to ignore the negative things in your life.
Of course, you need to acknowledge your feelings and your life’s circumstances.
However, there’s no denying that gratitude is a powerful tool to balance the scale of your thoughts, help you focus on the positive, and improve the way you feel.
7. Analyze and improve your surroundings
In psychology, the physical space where you spend the majority of the time, as well as the people you surround yourself with, are called environmental factors of mental health.
These factors have a strong influence on how you feel.
So, for example, if you surround yourself with negative people, chances are you’ll be in a negative headspace too.
On the contrary, if you spend time with encouraging and kind people, you’ll tend to be kinder yourself.
The place you live in (and that includes your home, neighborhood, city, and even country) can also affect the way you feel and think.
If you live in an environment that’s cluttered, disorganized, or in a bad condition, it can make you feel stressed, anxious or negative.
When you’re surrounded by chaos, it can be hard to relax and feel good about yourself.
This, in turn, can contribute to feelings of worthlessness, as you may not feel like you can take control of your environment and your life.
On the other hand, living in a clean, organized, comfortable environment that you feel happy in can make you feel more relaxed, calm, and positive.
And it can even have a direct effect on your ability to reach your goals.
Now, there are many things about your environment you can’t control. But there are also many others you do.
Maybe you can’t move to a different city right now or afford your dream apartment, but you can make your current place a lot more lovely by keeping it decluttered, clean, and organized.
You can also give it a nice touch by hanging prints on the wall.
When you’re feeling down, it can be hard to find the energy or motivation to clean and organize your home. I understand that.
And that’s exactly what creates a negative feedback loop, where your environment contributes to your feelings of worthlessness and vice versa.
If that sounds like you, here are some quick tips to make the process more doable:
a. Break it down into small tasks
Cleaning your entire house can feel overwhelming, for sure.
But you can start with one room or one area of a room at a time and focus on just that for a certain amount of time.
Maybe instead of cleaning your own bedroom at once, you can pick one drawer and start there.
b. Set a timer
Setting a timer for a specific amount of time can help you to stay focused and motivated.
You can start at 15 minutes and gradually increase it as you get more comfortable.
Pick that drawer we talked about and concentrate on getting it as organized as possible in 15 minutes.
c. Make cleaning more enjoyable
Listen to music or podcasts while you clean, or dance while at it.
Making it fun instead of seeing it as a daunting task can make a huge difference.
d. Hire a professional cleaning service if you can afford it
There’s no shame in getting help on that front.
Maybe you can pay someone to do it first and then take care of keeping it as clean as you can, without having to do all the heavy lift yourself.
Remember, it’s okay if you don’t feel like cleaning today. It’s important to listen to your body and take care of yourself.
But, in my opinion, it’s also important to get out of your comfort zone.
Ask yourself: Is my environment affecting the way I feel?
If the answer’s yes and you want to start feeling better as soon as possible, a cleaning session might be the answer you’re looking for.
8. Make a list of things that could help you feel better
Making lists can give you a sense of control and help you organize your mind.
If your sense of worth is low right now, you can create a list of things that could help you feel better either right now or in the future.
Unlike the joy list we discussed earlier, this one’s more action-focused and similar to a to-do list.
It can include anything from small things like taking care of your plants, or walking your pet, to bigger things like changing jobs or ending a toxic relationship.
I know it can be difficult to come up with this type of thing when you’re not feeling your best, but here are a few things that might help:
- Start small and with things that are easy to do. For example, taking a shower, going for a walk, or listening to music.
- Try something new. It can be a new hobby, a new recipe, a new book, or anything that can spark your interest that you haven’t tried before.
Don’t hold yourself back here; give yourself time to think and let your mind run free.
Lists and brainstorming sessions help you dig inside your mind to uncover what you want.
Start small and with the obvious, and soon after, you’ll know what you want from the bottom of your heart.
Remember, all the questions you’re looking for are hiding inside you.
You know what’s best for you and what can make you feel better.
You need to allow yourself to explore those things and let them out.
For this type of list, I want you to keep in mind that some things that may seem like they would make you feel better in the short term, like partying and drinking alcohol or contacting an ex, could be harmful to you in the long term.
It’s important to be honest with yourself and consider whether the things you’re writing are objectively good for you.
What we’re trying to do here is to take you out of the rut you’re in, and you won’t succeed at it unless you take intentional action.
So, if you find that some things on your list are not healthy or safe for you, it’s important to find alternative solutions.
Instead of drinking alcohol, you could go for a walk, call a friend, or watch a movie, for example.
You are in charge of your well-being, and you deserve to be treated with respect and kindness. And that includes the treatment you give yourself.
Be patient with yourself, and remember that healing takes time.
9. Find a creative outlet
Art, in all its forms, can help with self-confidence and self-esteem for many reasons.
One reason is that creating art allows you to express yourself in a unique and creative way.
Also, art can be very liberating because creating something visually or aesthetically pleasing feels rewarding and can help you feel proud.
Another reason art can help with self-confidence and self-esteem is that it can be a form of self-discovery.
It can help you process your emotions and thoughts in a healthy and constructive way, just like journaling.
On top of that, you can learn more about yourself when you create art because it shows you what you’re capable of.
This, in turn, can help you understand and accept yourself better and feel more comfortable in your own skin.
The best part? You don’t have to be “artistic” in the traditional sense to give it a try.
Keep in mind it’s okay not to be good at it right from the start.
Besides, there are many forms of self-expression, from writing and photography to cooking and gardening.
The key here is to find something that speaks to you and allows you to be creative.
The point is to have fun and enjoy learning and growing.
So, why not give it a try?
You might end up surprising yourself and discovering a new passion.
10. Write down your accomplishments, no matter how big or small
Yes, more lists.
I’m that intense with lists.
But yes, now it’s time to create a list of everything that makes you proud.
This can be anything from small things like finishing a book to bigger things like getting a promotion or graduating from school.
Seeing everything written down in front of you can help to put things in perspective and remind you of all the things you’ve achieved.
You can also think about the people in your life that you’ve helped or made a positive impact on. Those things count too.
Reflecting on how you’ve helped others can be a great way to boost your self-esteem and remind yourself that you matter.
You are worthy and capable of achieving great things.
So, take some time to reflect on your accomplishments, and don’t be afraid to pat yourself on the back.
11. Talk to someone
Sometimes it can be helpful to talk to someone who can offer a fresh perspective and a listening ear or even a shoulder to cry on.
Talking about your feelings with someone you trust can help you understand yourself better and come up with ways to cope with them.
And it can also help you feel less alone.
Plus, it can be helpful to hear about how other people have coped with similar feelings and to receive some guidance and advice.
You can talk to a friend, family member, or therapist; they are all good options.
If you’re uncomfortable talking to someone you know, you can reach out to a helpline or online support groups.
It’s important to remember that it’s normal to have moments of self-doubt and feeling down, and reaching out for help is a sign of strength and courage, not weakness.
12. Find a safe way to vent
Sometimes it can be difficult to talk to someone about your feelings, especially if you feel there’s nobody to listen or you don’t feel safe being open about how you feel right now.
However, there are still ways to vent and release your emotions.
For example, you can write about your feelings, like we already talked about, or join an online support group.
Online support groups can be a good way to connect with others who are going through similar experiences and to receive support and advice.
But remember: they’ll never replace professional help if you’re struggling with severe mental health issues.
If your feelings persist and you’re struggling to cope with daily life, it’s a good idea to reach out to a therapist.
13. Take care of your body
Research shows that taking care of your body can:
- alleviate depression symptoms,
- improve sleep,
- and, of course, boost your self-esteem.
There are many ways in which you can take care of yourself, but these are the main ones:
- Physical activity: It can help you improve your mood and reduce stress.
- Sleep: Getting enough sleep is important for both your physical and mental well-being
- Nutrition: Eating a balanced diet can help you improve your mood, so make sure you’re eating different fruits, vegetables, proteins, and whole grains to help you feel your best.
- Personal hygiene: Taking care of your personal hygiene can help you feel better about yourself.
- Relaxation: Taking time to relax and unwind can help reduce stress and improve your mood. Try activities such as yoga, meditation, or reading to help you relax.
Staying away from things that can hurt you, like alcohol and drugs, can also be an important part of taking care of your body and feeling better overall.
Alcohol and drugs can have a negative impact on your mental health and can make feelings of depression and anxiety worse.
On top of that, they can harm your relationships, leading to poor communication, conflict, and other problems, which can lead to lower self-esteem in the end.
Avoiding them will help you improve how you feel.
Take care of your body, and the rest will inevitably follow.
4 Reasons Why You Feel Worthless
Here are a few potential reasons why you may be feeling worthless or undeserving of good things in life:
- Negative self-talk: One of the biggest reasons you may feel worthless is the negative thoughts you’re having about yourself, which can be triggered by past experiences or even the people you surround yourself with.
- Comparing yourself to others: A close second, that’s for sure. It’s easy to look at other people’s lives and see the things they have that you don’t and the things that they’re good at that you’re not. Remember that everyone is on their own journey. Don’t compare your backstage to someone else’s highlight reel.
- Not achieving what’s important for you: It’s easy to feel worthless when you’re not achieving the things you want to achieve. Try setting small and achievable goals for yourself and work towards them.
- Past experiences: Trauma, abuse, neglect, or other past negative experiences can lead to feelings of low self-worth. These experiences can shape how you see yourself and the world around you. It’s important to seek professional help if you feel that past experiences affect your self-worth.
Again: these feelings are not permanent.
You can change them. Remember to be kind to yourself and focus on what you’re proud of.
The Bottom Line
I know you’re going through a tough situation, but I want you to know that you’re not alone and your feelings are valid.
You have the ability AND the power to change your mindset.
You just need to find the right solution for you, whether that’s changing your environment, journaling, or talking to a therapist.
Remember to be kind to yourself. You got this!