I was a patient person. Or so I thought.

Everything that could go wrong was going wrong.

In a short period of time, I was dealing with multiple issues: chronic back and eye problems that were both worsened by the type of work I was doing.

I couldn’t stop the work because I needed to pay off debt I accumulated despite having low expenses. I put in a lot of energy, time and thought into getting new work, but I hardly gained any traction.

I thought I was doing all the right things. I was trying to stay positive. I kept putting in effort.

Why was nothing working?

Chances are, you’ve also gone through periods where nothing is working out for you. Maybe you’re dealing with some tough issues right now.

5 Strategies for When Nothing is Working Out

 Here are some strategies for when it seems that absolutely nothing is going your way.

I’ve used a combo of all of them when I’ve gotten stuck. They’ll work for you too.

1. Regroup and reflect.

  • Take a break from your efforts so that you can regroup and reflect. Stop what you’re doing for awhile, or at least greatly reduce what you’ve been doing. Withdraw temporarily. If you’ve been tearing after something and not getting results, take a break to re-think your strategy.

2. Practice gratitude.

  • Look for and focus on what’s positive in your life. What’s working? What are you doing well?
  • Start a daily gratitude practice. Make it part of your new morning success ritual.
  • Write down what you’re grateful for. When we write things down, it gives them more power, as Gregory Ciotti writes in his well-researched article, “The Psychological Benefits of Writing”.

3. Change direction.

  • What could you do differently? Maybe even radically differently? Is there an angle that you haven’t yet considered for solving your current challenges?
  • Shake it up. Maybe you could sell your house, take a leave of absence from your job and travel around doing work exchange programs (and learning skills and getting life experience along the way).
  • Change physical location. Change your job, your business, your mind. Just change.

4. Treat yourself really well.

When we get chronically frustrated and stressed, the danger is that anxiety and depression can take over our minds. When we’re depressed, we don’t take care of ourselves. We eat poorly and we don’t bother exercising (because hey, what’s the point?).

  • Eat well. When we’re stressed, the temptation is to reach out for feel-good junk food or even start skipping meals. Eat natural food and avoid packaged food (that usually has excessive salt, sugar, and chemicals in it). Check out this article on eating healthier from the Holding Your Feet to the Fire blog.
  • Exercise. Movement is our natural state. It’s what we would be doing all day if we didn’t have all these damn desk jobs. Exercise reduces stress, promotes relaxation and boosts your mood.
  • Use positive self-talk. There is a lot of evidence that shows the power of positive thinking and how it helps with health issues, improves how we feel and inevitably helps improve our external situation.
  • Reward yourself. This means you’re allowed to sleep in sometimes. Take an extra long shower. Buy your favourite food. Do anything that you really enjoy.

5. Find a mentor or coach.

When you’re at a low point in life, you might need the help of others.  We’re meant to lift each other up in times of need.

Working with a mentor or coach can help you see new solutions that you hadn’t thought of before, plus you can get faster results.

Take action to get results

I’ve covered some simple strategies here in this article, but turning your life around may require a more hands-on approach.

All you have to do is have a little trust that the methods will work and follow along.  The rest takes care of itself.

Remember:  Every day you hesitate is a day you can’t ever get back, so let’s go!


  1. hi it is os difficult for me to write thi but I am so tired of trying to get things in order. my husband is not working and I have twins, I am so tired of asking my mother to help I should be the one assisting since I am working. I am riddle with debts and I am not coping. my wosrt fear is not being able to live my dreams, one of those dreams is to act in a Tyler Perry production. secondly I have an idea of an app that I want to develop but i do not have the funds to do so…I do not want my kids to live my life when they get old. the thought of not being able to live my dreams or just forgetting about them is a hard pill to swallow… I ask myself when will it end I have no energy now. What is it that I have done so bad to deserve this…its like a get happy just 20 % of my life the rest I am just fighting. I am grateful for my family , kids, husband and it pains me to see him suffer the way he does not finding work. there is limited opportunities this side and it is hard to find information. What is that I must do.
    South Africa

    1. Although things seem difficult right now, you’ve already taken the first step in looking for solutions: You’ve expressed what’s not working out and you can start to take action in small ways at first, to help you improve your situation.

      You’ve got several challenges that you’re dealing with right now. I would really recommend “feeding” your mind daily with positive thoughts. I know that might seem like an annoying suggestion when things seem really negative, but this exercise of looking for positive things will really help improve things internally and externally. You could do this as a written exercise too and then read your list when you need to.

      For your idea of creating an app…I’ve heard of some entrepreneurs who get their customers to pay for the software first and then they develop the app. I don’t think this would be possible with apps that are sold through Apple or any other commercial online store, but if you sell it directly, you could do this.

      I hope these ideas help and just let me know if you have any questions or if you’d like any other ideas.

    2. I’ve been painting and drawing my whole life since the moment my mother would allow me to be messy. I’m forty now I am no closer to my goal of being an artist then when I was getting paid a hundred bucks a week by a local store to make signs every week when I was in college. I’ve been working my but off selling online and doing some shows while still working. It has caused me so much heartache and I have tried to quit it but I still persist I can’t help it. I’m getting no where despite having sold my artwork to people all over the us. This year I’ve made 400.00 with a full-time effort. I should be asking for higher prices but can’t seem to find that ellusive customer. I’m lost.

      1. Hi Tara,

        You’re obviously very passionate about your art and that’s a great thing. You’re also persistent and have proven you can stick with something for the long-term. I’m sure that it’s been really frustrating to spend a lot of time trying to sell your art without the results you want. Are there other galleries you can contact to sell your work? Are there a few well-known artists in your area that are doing well that you could contact for advice? I’m sure they’d be happy to help and it might only take one new idea that you could try that will help springboard you to sell your work at a good price.

        The important thing is to stay in action-mode as much as possible. Action keeps us out of constant “analysis mode” where we end up thinking and planning a lot but not taking any real action.

        I hope you have a lot of success with your livelihood in the next few months!

  2. Hi Nigel,
    Glad I found your blog. It’s all really good stuff, and I keep trying to implement these things in my life. Recently, I have been hitting a wall and can’t seem to break through. I’m finishing my BS in anthropology and design ethnography, and have grad school coming this fall. My enthusiasm has stayed strong but anymore I can’t seem to get through my work very well. It’s like a constant mental fog. I’m wondering if I sold myself on this and am now questioning my decision. I really haven’t figured what I am going to do, career wise, which I know is bothering me. I home school my four kids, the oldest is special needs, and there are times that I feel like I am not doing as well as I could be for them. I’m in a rut, and nothing seems to be helping anymore. I talk with my wife about it, and we talk often, but it isn’t helping. I’m honestly wondering what it is I am doing anymore. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.

    1. Hi John,

      I just realized that I replied back in April but not directly to your comment. You probably didn’t get a notification when I replied. Sorry for the delay! Here’s my original comment:

      That’s great that you’re putting some personal development habits into practice! A couple positive things that you’ve got are you have the willpower and discipline to work steadily on your education and you’ve got more plans to continue with grad studies. Another positive focus you have is you seem quite dedicated to your family which is a great thing.

      Do you do any writing or journalling? For getting out of a rut or determining a career direction, I recommend doing some journalling over the next few weeks. It could be as simple as just 5-10 minutes of writing.

      Writing is a great way to get clarity and to reduce any anxiety or other mental fog. By putting thoughts down on paper, they can be easier to deal with.

      When you journal, you can answer questions like, “What kind of activities make me happy?”, “What possible career directions would I enjoy?” “What’s the easiest first step I could take to make a decision [about x] ?”.

      Another tool I like to use for making decisions is the weighted-decision matrix tool. You can find a spreadsheet template here: https://www.idea-sandbox.com/innovation-tools/

      It’s a useful way to get some clarity when making tougher decisions.

      The antidote to fear and doubt is always to take action, even if it’s small steps. By staying in “action-mode”, this will help boost a sense of control and certainty which is really important when we’re in phases where we feel unsure of our path or our decisions.

      Hope these ideas help! Feel free to send me a personal message through the contact form if you’d like.

  3. I am a civil servant and an accountant. I have worked for 30 years but have succeeded in getting married with 4 children. Two of them are on the university.One is about to enter university.I am expecting for promotion to the rank of Assistant Director in my agency.I have finished my course work for MBA but yet to graduate due to lack of finance.I am in debts.I have a computer business center that is not producing desired results. I have a building project that has been roofed with some windows and doors fixed but yet to be completed. But to get stable savings as to move on with my life is my battle.Also to overcome debts and start enjoying my life.As a christian,I don’t have friend with meaningful relationships.But I notice God’s great
    concern for me.

    1. Jacob, congratulations on building a successful career and a great family! Great that your kids are pursuing education in university too. These are all very positive things that are working well for you…

      For dealing with debt, have you spoken with a debt-reduction consultant/advisor before? They might be able to create a plan for you to eliminate or deal with the debt. Are there any areas that you can reduce expenses? I recommend tracking all your income and expenses in a spreadsheet. This way, you can see exactly how money is being spent.

      Regarding your business… Have you identified the 20% of the actions you can take that will generate 80% of your income? This might take some time to identify them but once you know which actions are your “high-impact” actions, you can focus on those and build a strong business.

      For any doubt or confusion that you might be experiencing about your business direction, spend a few minutes each week to do some reflective journalling. When we write our thoughts down on paper, it can be easier to get clarity.

      For both your business and building project, stay as positively-focused as you can. There are a lot of actions and habits that you could take but it’s best to work on just a few in the next month or two. One key habit is a morning success ritual. This can include waking up at a consistent time, starting work at a consistent time, eating a healthy breakfast, doing some exercise, meditation, a gratitude session, affirmations and other practices. This sets the tone for your success each day.

      I hope these ideas help and I hope things will improve each week as you continue to take action on your goals and challenges. As always, taking consistent action is what will reduce that feeling of being stuck.


  4. I have bern trying to find a job. I was laid off and I have limited work experience because I was a stay at home for almost 10 years. I have a BA and an MBA, now I am divorced, unemployed, lost my apartment, my storage, and living with my mom who is a borderline hoarder…all this while I try my best to raise my 12 year old daughter. Everything I set out to do fails. I would like to relocate to find a job, but I don’t have money to relocate. Lately, I just want to go to sleep and never wake up. Life is useless to me.

    1. Hi Angela,

      Thanks for your comment and for being brave enough to talk about the difficult challenges you’ve been going through. That’s such a great step for resolving challenges: Acknowledging them! And that’s exactly what you’ve done. Often, when we’re dealing with stress and problems, we want to put our heads in the sand and ignore the issues. I’m glad that you’re not ignoring your current situation.

      You’ve definitely been dealing with a lot of challenges, no doubt about that. Have you done any writing or journalling on what you’re going through? A few 5-minute writing sessions can really help bring clarity on how to best move forward. It’s also a nice way to “unload” thoughts, fears, doubts, problems onto paper. We can get the thoughts out of our heads and see them more clearly on paper.

      In this writing process, you can ask questions like, “What are 1 or 2 small things I could do today to (find work or improve my health or generate money)?” “What is the first, easiest step to fixing this?”

      These questions will direct your mind to look for an attainable solution. They are simple but powerful questions. I use them often and it’s helped pull me out bad situations.

      Be mindful of your thoughts and emotions, and recognize when thoughts are taking you down a negative road. Be determined to stop the negative pattern as soon as possible. Tell yourself that thoughts are just stories…They’re not necessarily true. Then…change the story to something that will work better for you.

      Remind yourself that regardless of your current external situation, you are worthy of success in this life and that you WILL find the solutions you need to find work and improve your situation.

      Keep taking action, even the small steps will have a big impact for you. I hope things improve for you very soon. Stay in action-taking mode as much as possible. Let me know how things go…You can send me a private message if you like.


  5. I’ve been stuck in a negative spiral for 20 years now. I’ve spent most of my life helping others get ahead by being supportive and helping them with their children, including my most Recent ex. And I get nothing but shafted and left with nothing. My last partner said I didn’t have to work full time and would support me if I helped him around the house with his kids. Of course I fell for the lies and didn’t listen to what I truly needed for myself and now I’m left struggling to start over again. The economy here in Alberta is tough to find employment. I’ve sent hundreds of resumes and I’m eother not qualified enough or too qualified for positions- so the rejection over the last year is putting me in a major depression and effects my self esteem. I’m reachimg out for help but people seem to be too busy or feel the negativity from me and are afraid they’ll catch whatever I have. It’s Christmas and have nothing to give my son and what little family I have left. I’m stuck in this hopeless pit of despair- I don’t know what else to do.

    1. Hi Nadine,

      Sorry to hear that things haven’t been going well for you…It sounds really stressful to be dealing with negative situations and pressure for such a long time. I know it can feel difficult or impossible to get out of a negative spiral.

      There are lots of possible things that we can do to improve our internal and external situation. There is one main action that might help you considerably…

      I’d like to invite you to try a mindset game. In this game, whenever you notice a negative thought, question that thought and don’t immediately believe it. You can dismiss the thought with a quick, “That’s not true.” or ask “Is this really true?”. For example, “I’ll never find a job. Is that really true?” If you do this, it will stop negative thoughts so that they don’t spin out of control. This might feel challenging at first. Sometimes, we get very attached to certain thoughts and beliefs. I used to be a really negative person and experienced a lot of anxiety and low moods. This is one of the practices that helped me a lot so I hope it has the same effect for you.

      Next, I’d like you to start a habit throughout your day of being “unrealistically positive”. The idea is to feed your mind with a new belief system so that it brings your mental state up. Take every negative statement or belief and spin it to it’s positive. “People always take advantage of me. People don’t support me.” becomes “I am quickly learning to attract positive, supportive people.”. Doing affirmations like this is a powerful way to reshape internal and external reality. If it feels like you’re lying to yourself when you use positive statements or affirmations, it’s good to remember that the negative thoughts are also not that true.

      If you do both of these practices, I think you’ll experience a big improvement in how you feel. Once your mental and emotional state is up, this will help you with any external challenge that you’ve been dealing with.

      Let me know how things go or if you have any other questions. You can email me through the contact form on my web site, if you’d like. I hope things improve for you very soon! You’ve already made the first step in creating change in your life by being aware of and expressing what’s not working, so that’s a very positive sign. : )

      1. After reading this it makes me realize in my situation that maybe it’s become a habit or even a comfortable place to think negatively or stay in what seems to be a downward spiral. After so long in the same direction it’s like turning around and swimming or walking upstream against a current to make a change in that pattern. But….it can be done. Starting the change in direction is the most difficult.

  6. Hello! I had some awesome days during my high school, as I grew up I am constantly gaining a lot and I am growing actually, but the thing is that more I grow, I observe is that people around me are stupid af, they don’t actually deserve the way I am to them. Only my parents are there whom I can talk about the things but I feel like I already have troubled them a lot before, I don’t want to create more problems for them, things which I give a lot effort on always tends to failure, and I live away from my family, where there is no one I can talk to openly. Please help me solve my problem. I really wanna get out of this depressive life and live my old good awesome life.
    I have a lot of reasons to be happy, but the thing is that it takes a lot lot more for me to even achieve smallest of things and a series of failure. Tell me what should I do

    1. Hi Shivam,

      I agree with you…The more we grow, the more we might notice a difference between our awareness level/behaviour and the awareness/behaviour of other people. This might be difficult but as a personal growth experiment, focus on being a role model for other people and then be as unattached to whether they change or not. We can control ourselves, but we can’t control others.

      About failure, depression and getting back to your old life where things were better… There are two things I’d like you to focus on:

      1. Set Goals
      Write down up to three major goals that you want to reach in the next 5-10 years. What do you really want to do and experience? Setting goals helps us take in “action-mode” and gives us purpose. This can help to pull us back into a positive emotional state. I recommend that you also write 1-3 goals you want to achieve every month, every week and every day. Then, start to take action on them.

      2. Cultivate a Success Mindset
      To feel and think that we’re successful can take a bit of time. Be patient with this. During your whole day, observe your thoughts and emotions as much as you can. Be like a scientist who is observing a test subject. When you notice negative thoughts, change the story and make them positive. You’ll have to do this a lot in the beginning. When you change your thoughts like this, you’ll notice you’ll start to feel better, with more energy and this will continue to grow.

      There are lots of other things you could do but experiment with those two practices first. Make it like a game or personal challenge to yourself. I hope these ideas help!

  7. Hello

    My name is Debra Arnold, I am heading towards a bachelors degree in computer science, yet no longer finding myself motivated in work with computers. I am more finding myself motivated towards motivational speaker, meditation, and energy healing. The only problems if finding a way to start making these things happen in my life especially when everything just seems to be falling apart around me.

    1. Hi Debra,

      That’s great that you’re in tune with what motivates and interests you…Always good to spend time doing an activity or livelihood that we’re excited about, in general. If things seem stressful right now or if it seems like there are major blocks to you moving in the direction you want, it can be a very useful exercise to do some journalling. When you write thoughts, fears, doubts, problems down, you can “unload” them from your mind onto the paper and that can help give some objectivity and create some distance between you and any negative emotions.

      Everything starts with mindset…The biggest practices that have helped me pull out of negative states are:

      1. doing affirmations
      2. re-framing negative situations
      3. practicing meditation and calmness

      Keep listening to that inner voice that’s calling you to explore speaking, meditation, energy healing or any other positive activities. : )


  8. Hello,

    I am a 39 year old single mother of 4. I am living in a city/state with no family nor “real” friends. I moved here 3 yrs ago to give my children a better life and came to work in the human services field. I already have an associates degree in Accounting and also went to culinary school. I have dibbled and dabbled in different areas that interested me over the last 24 years: education I worked in for around 13 yrs, real estate for 8, human services for 3 and cooked for friends and family. I wear MANY hats. With my last job for the county-(something I went to class for for 6 months, two nights a week for to learn their system and went through several tests and interviews for and finally got the job)-something went wrong with the system and I was blamed for it and was placed on suspension.My co-workers basically said I was set up by our supervisor that did not like me. Either way I was up for termination and just turned in my two weeks notice. I would rather say I quit than to be fired for something I could not nor would not do. Now I have been unemployed for almost 4 months with no luck in finding another job despite my non stop attempts. I pray constantly…my faith is what has seen me through this. But I’m starting to lose it. I don’t know what I did so wrong. All I wanted to do and strived to do was better myself and my situation for my children and this happened. I’m so lost and don’t know which direction to go in or what to do next. I have a GREAT support system…back home. They have encouraged me and pray for/with me. I need help though, now from a neutral PROFESSIONAL party. Please. If you can. Any suggestions would greatly be appreciated.

    1. Sorry to hear about what happened at your last job. Some workplaces can be quite toxic or antagonistic. Yes, sometimes it’s better to just leave a job on your own terms. Good for you for taking control of the situation. Looking for work for several months in a row is frustrating (and stressful).

      I think the most important thing you can do is to keep your energy and mindset as high as you can. If your physical energy and mind are doing good, all your other actions flow from that. You’ll feel better, more relaxed, make better decisions and be able to present yourself better when talking to employers. To keep your energy and mindset up, try this:

      –do some exercise every morning (even a 30-minute is a good start)
      –in the morning, at least 2 mins of gratitude/prayer/meditation
      –in the morning, at least 2 mins of affirmations (there are some good videos on Youtube for this but you can also create your own)
      –re-frame negative thoughts throughout your day to change them to be positive or at least neutral

      Most importantly, continue to take real action on your job search. Be as proactive as you can with this. Choose a few companies that you are interested in, visit them personally to ask about employment. You might need to visit them again in 3-4 weeks to follow-up. I know several people who have done this and they got hired. There are often quite a few unadvertised jobs out there.

      Look for ways that you can do your job search a bit differently than in the previous months. Sometimes, those different strategies can really make a difference.

      I hope these ideas help and that you connect with a great livelihood opportunity very soon. : )


  9. Thanks for your article. It has been the most sound advice since I’ve been searching for answers. I did end up selling my house because I haven’t been able to find steady work. That’s my biggest issue right now. What am I supposed to be doing now that my career of 28 years is no longer supporting me? I feel blank inside and directionless for the first time in my adult life. Also, I have no mentors.

    1. Thanks for your comment and for talking about what’s been happening with you. Not finding work is really stressful and I’m sure is causing a lot of frustration and worry. Even though things are difficult, do your best to focus on being as physically healthy as possible and keep feeding your mind with a positive focus.

      I totally agree with you that making changes in patterns and behaviour is difficult but it can definitely be done, just like you mentioned. Start with a few smaller changes and then grow the habits from there.

      Start by focusing on your morning routine because the morning sets the tone and energy for the rest of your day.

      I hope you find work soon and that the path becomes more clear for you.

  10. I don’t think that I have ever felt this hopeless. And I hate that. There are good things in my life, but they are drowned out by the seemingly never ending bullsh!t that I have been going through for the last 1-2 years. I’m usually the one saying that it will get better. I believe I am an optimist (or at minimum a recovering pessimist) but to be honest… I am losing hope. In everything and everyone. How do I get back to me?

    1. Sorry to hear you’ve been dealing with a lot of ongoing difficulties. It sucks when challenges seem to be never-ending. The good thing is that you’re mostly an optimist or at least, trying to view things positively. Keep expanding your habit of looking for the good, as much as you can. Some days will be better than others. Look for small (and relatively easy) things you can do to improve any negative issues that keep coming up. Sometimes simply asking a question like this can have a big impact, “What is the first, easiest action I need to take to resolve this?”. Questions re-direct our focus and “shake up” our typical thought patterns.

      Anyways, thanks for your message and I hope things get better soon. : )

  11. Hi Nigel, I really loved your write up, it’s so motivating. I sometimes wonder why life is so challenging, i am a Nigerian and things have been a bit slow for I and my fiance, the office where i worked shut down last year leaving me with no job, been applying for several jobs but still keeping my fingers crossed. My fiance’s business has been a bit dull since last year, he is a car sales man and hasn’t been able to sell his car which is in turn tieing his capital down, really wish he knew what to do differently to make business move. We’ve also been having difficulty raising money for our wedding, things have been quite challenging and the delay is too much for a relationship of 9 year.We’ve been struggling to make things work, We have prayed but I think we need to do something differently to make things work. Please your advice would go a long way. Thank you.

    1. Hi Josephine, Sorry to hear that things are pretty challenging for you and your husband right now. Here’s one possible way to help you move forward:

      Write down 2-3 of the actions you could take that have the strongest chance of getting you good results. If you’re not sure what those actions are, spend a few minutes to answer questions like “What’s the next best step I can take?”, “What are 2 or 3 actions that will improve my situation?”.

      These questions will help identify a simple plan of action. Then, the next step is to take action on the plan.

      Keep adjusting and looking for improvements as you start to take action.

      You can also ask, “What do I need to do differently to get better results?” You’ll notice that this question will provoke new solutions, new ideas and new paths forward.

      I hope these ideas help you to get unstuck very soon! : )


  12. Nothing seems to work. I have always been a hard worker, I studied hard and am currently doing my PhD. Against many odds I stayed on the straight and narrow, was well disciplined growing up. All because I wanted to be successful, comfortable and to be able to support my mom and younger siblings. I have a job that I am passionate about but doesn’t pay well, am up to my ears in debt. My life is plateauing and I can’t seem to get things to work. I am 34, unmarried and live in a foreign country away from my family. I have just recently lost a younger sibling whom I was living with. I have always taken solace in my job when all else was failing but I keep getting passed up for promotions. I would love to leave the job, relocate and start over somewhere but am doing a part time PhD with the company for the next 2-3 yrs. Where the bloody hell did I go wrong because this is not what I worked so hard for. How do I fix this mess. I am tired of being the strong one. I need a break or else I am headed for a breakdown.

    1. Hi Sina, sorry to hear that things have been pretty stressful for you for quite awhile. You’ve been dealing with a lot and you’ve been doing your best to manage it all. I think you’re right to want a break. Sometimes, taking some rest and recuperation is essential in order to move forward. If there’s any way that you can reduce your stress/responsibilities/business, that might help you to get your energy back up again. Even if you can’t take a total break for a few weeks, taking a “reduced” break might help. Focus on taking care of yourself and treating yourself really well. You’ve already had a lot of success in life and you’ve shown that you’ve got good focus and good work ethic. Stay positive and I wish you all the best!

      1. Hello. All my life i had abuse from my family. Now i’m 22, looking for job almost 2 years, and even found one, but got fired for no reason. No matter what i do to start over my life and get away from my family – nothing is working out. Just nothing. I have so many social and entertainment projects which seem to remain on the paper only. I have no money, no connections. I’ve tried really hard and deliberately achieve these goals, but nothing happened. Now i’ve completely lost motivation, except for job searching though i want to give up. No matter what i do nothing working out. It’s like a curse. No matter how kind and open i to people – no one willing to be friends with me, real ones. I’m so lonely and desperate. The last thing in my mind is to get in USA and try to find job there and immigrate by that. Thank you for listening, i now no one can help me.

  13. Your article was very helpful. I was already thinking of doing some of the things you suggested so it was nice to have them confirmed.

    1. Hi Lorna, I’m glad the article was helpful… That’s great that you were already thinking of doing some of the action-items in the article! Sometimes, the simple steps are the most effective ones we can take.

  14. We bought and moved into a new flat we finally liked after seeing so many houses after after doing a lot of due diligence. We are in it for 5 years now.

    We have faced a number of snag problems after moving in and have renovated the flat but problems keep coming up. The renovators, plumbers, etc have all come and gone. The latest contactor made me do unnecessary works which keep giving issues and I have to continually spend on repairs. Also there are a number of other repair issues involving other flats in my building, but neither the flat owners nor the management are bothered about it. I have been running from lawyers, to contractors, plumbers,etc but all give different, conflicting advices and no one wants to do anything. I have been losing money.

    I am in a lot of pain, anger, frustration, anxiety and panic state. We love the house as we won’t find a place like this in this location, with this size, view, layout, etc but these problems has put me in shock and affected my health, work, relationships. Also if we were to sale the house we would not fetch the right price and we might not get another house that we may like, or it may not be affordable, or it may have other or worse problems.

    I have put in a lot of effort, money and just don’t know what to do. There are no trustworthy people I can rely on. Everyone has taken me for a ride. I feel like I have put my and borrowed money in a Casino and don’t know how to cut my losses.

    It seems the harder I try the worse matters get. I have spared nothing and now I feel depressed and devastated. Nothing seems to work.

    Please advise what to do.


    1. Hi Ham,

      Sorry to hear you’ve been having a ton of problems with renovating your flat. Very stressful to be continually dealing with that!

      The most important thing right now is to take care of you, take care of your health (both physical and emotional). You mentioned that you’ve been in a lot of pain and negative emotional states. I’ve found that the most helpful thing to get myself out of an emotional negative “story” is to practice awareness of my thoughts and emotions but in a mostly-detached or observational way. Doing this will help to give you some separation or distance from the negative emotions. I recommend that you experiment with this.

      The next step is to recognize, “I’m experiencing anger (or fear, frustration, worry, etc..). This is a temporary state and is subject to change. It’s not permanent, it only feels like it is permanent. I take full responsibility for my emotions and I can change them.”

      Hopefully, these practices will help you to manage the “internal” part of what you’re dealing with. For the external part (the situation, problems, etc…), try to avoid making any decisions if you’re in any “charged-up” emotional state. You don’t have to be perfectly calm or feeling perfectly balanced but it will help the decision-making once you start to shift towards a more balance internal state. Next, stay as solution-oriented as you can. Wipe the slate clean and ask “What’s the next best step I can take to improve this situation?”.

      By asking that question on a regular basis, your mind will work to produce better solutions on how to proceed with your renovation issues and any other hard decisions that you have to make.

      I really hope things improve for you soon! Practice some of these ideas and let me know how things go.


      1. Thanks Nigel. This is Ham. I tried what you say but life doesn’t seem to be all that logical. The solutions that the mind produces once I’m in a more balanced internal state sound rational but when they are implemented inorder to resolve the issues, I end up in more trouble, more anguish, more pain and more contractors conning me out. Perhaps I should doubt my own mind, own self… How can I heal myself? What should one do if nobody can be trusted at all? One can’t live life like this.

        1. Hi Ham,

          Yes, I can imagine how frustrating and disappointing it is for you to be dealing with contractors who are ripping you off. Stressful, indeed!

          If you still need to hire contractors, continue to practice a lot of due diligence for your next contractor. Do extra research on them, look for real positive reviews, ask the contractor if you can talk to a couple of their previous clients and look for negative comments about the contractor online.

          Any work they do, plus the costs, should be in a written legal contract so that everything is clear.

          To keep the costs correct and fair, you can tell the contractor that if they are going to add any extra work (and cost) to the project, you will give that extra work to a different contractor. This will encourage the first contractor to give you a very accurate price quote and will prevent them from playing games with the price quote by purposefully underquoting for the project.

          Maybe you already did these things with the previous contractors and you still had bad luck with them.

          To help move forward from this situation, I recommend doing some short writing or journalling sessions. It can be very helpful to “unload” thoughts and negative emotions onto paper.

          When you see the thoughts on paper, they can be easier to deal with and it can help bring clarity to any decisions you need to make.

          You can ask questions like, “What actions do I need to take to fix this?” “What are a few possible options I have?” “What haven’t I tried yet?”

          I hope these ideas help! Let me know how things go and I hope this situation improves very soon for you.

  15. Hello there. please I need some help. I’m 30 years old and feel like I’m having a a midlife crisis. Went through a separation 2 years ago and am now divorced (was with my partner for 8 years, he cheated on me with multiple women) I left him and left town. Now after 2 years I’ve returned and I hate being back to the place it all happened. Everyone expects me to be healed. But I’m no where close. I got a job but I’m just so dissatisfied with work, my relationships and living situation (temporarily staying with my parents until I sort things out). I’m super stressed anxious and depressed all the time, cry everyday and nothing seems to be working. I am wondering whether I need to just go on a 1 year backpacking trip or on some spiritual journey as what I’m doing now is not working. Any advice is appreciated

    1. That sounds very stressful what you’ve been going through. I think your idea to change physical location could be a positive thing, especially if you’ve got a lot of strong memories of your relationship in your current town. Travelling can be great for encouraging personal growth and having new experiences.

      To help with any stress or anxiety you’re experiencing, here are a few ideas:

      Do some journalling or writing sessions at least a few times a week. Write down what’s bothering you. Get all those thoughts onto paper. Once they’re on paper, they’re easier to deal with. You can ask yourself questions when you write. Things like, “How can I move forward from this?” “What are some simple daily actions I can take to start feeling better?”. “What makes me happy?” You’ll start to notice that answers and solutions will come to you. Writing is a powerful way to reduce anxiety and get clarity.

      Another thing to try is to stay physically active every day. Even going out for a walk is a good start. More vigorous exercise will be even better as it will help to “shake off” and counter any stress, anxiety or depression. You will probably notice a nice boost in mood and energy. This boost will become a positive cycle that feeds itself.

      Purposefully look for and surround yourself with activities and people that inspire you, help you grow or make you feel good. This includes reading books, blogs, movies, artwork, pets, etc…

      Hope these ideas help. Keep taking action as best as you can and treat yourself really well. : )


  16. I moved to another country to be with my girlfriend of 8 months and when i got into the country she confessed she slept with another man the day before i got there.

    1. In some ways, it’s better that this happened now rather than 5 years into the relationship. Of course, this is an emotionally painful situation and it might take several months for you to move forward. On the positive side, you’re now more free to continue working on your personal development, your career/livelihood and you’ll be able to choose someone who has the same relationship values that you have. The future is wide open for you and I hope to see you do some amazing things in your life!

  17. I want to commend you for your work, working for the betterment of others. And your commitment, as it was a long time since this post was made but I see that you’re still replying very regularly.
    I’m 22, I’m a uni student (retaking the first year) of games design in England. I work out, I am perhaps not very consistent with the positive outlook techniques like being grateful and saying the things I like about myself out loud. I don’t have a girlfriend, not by my choice and my interactions of this nature are few and far in between. But I eat well and I have a very good support system. But I struggle so hard with my studies. I often think of quitting and doing something else, but pretty soon I couldn’t ask for another loan so I have to really nail this down and figure out something afterwards. But as soon as I sit down to do some work, I’m just procrastinating. I just have this sense of dread whenever I think about continuing an assignment. I know I put a lot of pressure on myself, I’m not sure if this is counterproductive or not. Nothing works for me, I can’t get out of my head and I’m just really stressed out. I started out the year okay and I just keep handing things in late. I just feel like a ship with no sails, I have big dreams but I feel like everything is just too hard. I just feel like I’m letting everyone who ever believed in me down.

    1. Hi Mat! Thanks for your feedback on the article and for getting in touch with me about some of the things you’ve been working on and some of the challenges you’ve been dealing with.

      First, I want to say great work in eating healthy and making that something important. This will help keep your physical and mental energy optimized. Better energy, better moods, and ultimately, better decisions. Good stuff. Also, really good to hear that you’ve got a good support system.

      About your studies…If you are frequently resisting the work you’re doing and noticing that it causes stress, dread or just a strong lack of interest, then I think it’s a good idea to start exploring other options for a career/livelihood. There’s a big difference between “I really like this field or career but it’s demanding and challenging.” and “I’m not into this at all. And it’s demanding and challenging!”.

      But…If you ARE interested in the topic and field that you’re studying, then I think it would be good to try to troubleshoot what’s causing the procrastination or resistance. When work or a project seems too hard, sometimes breaking it down into smaller steps can really help us to get momentum on something.

      I recommend doing some exploratory writing sessions. Ask yourself a few questions by writing them down and then answering them. A few example questions could be:

      What did I use to love doing as a kid?

      What activities cause me to sometimes lose track of time because I’m engaged in the activity or enjoying it?

      What kind of work environment do I enjoy? Contact with many people, some contact or minimal contact?

      How much control do I want over how I work, when I work and control over my income? (this helps to determine if you prefer being an employee or if being self-employed or a business owner would be better for you)

      You’re young and you’ve got time to make any changes and adjustments that you need to. You’re not locked into this career path so hopefully knowing this will help to reduce some of that pressure you’re feeling.

      Like you, I can be in my head quite a bit…What’s helped me to snap out of “paralysis by overanalysis” and keep me in action-mode is to: stay physically active almost every day, and to write out a simple plan for each day and take action on it. The antidote to fear is taking action. When we’re in action-mode, we can feel more in control of the direction of our lives. Definitely a good thing!

      These are just a few quick ideas… If you have any more questions or anything else you wanted to mention, just reply here or you can send me a message through my contact form and I’ll do my best to help you get clarity on this. : )


  18. So what do you do when despite ALL of your efforts nothing works out because of “bad luck” for lack of better term? What do you do if you do everything just about right, and yet life puts obstacles in your way, and nothing turns out the way you want? Stupid accidents, health issues, bad weather, other people cause you misery and it doesn’t go away. EVERY day there is a new problem. What do you do to deal with that? I have a college degree and had a professional job , which I hated towards the end ( 20 years), so I quit and did what I really wanted to do, move to a rural area, and become a farmer. Husband went along, he did no like his job also. We had enough money saved and got enough for our city house to buy a farm and have enough left over to live on for a while. So now we live in a beautiful location, like our neighbors, I love my animals ( we raise goats and sheep, chickens, have lots of dogs) and this is what I want to do. Yet bad things keep happening. The weather makes the animals sick or ruins the garden, we have accidents that prevent us from working. I just had a really bad one, cut half my foot off. Still recovering, and I am so much hating it. Now I have some intestinal problem from the massive doses of antibiotics. In the meantime the animals got sick because husband doesn’t have enough time to do it all. He hurt his knee and has to go really slow. House is having issues, garden is dried up and overgrown with weeds, and I am depressed because I can’t even walk yet. It never ends. My best friend died ( heart attack unexpected) , last year my mother died. My father is now not looking so good either, and they don’t live in this country so it is impossible for me to go visit him right now. Almost every day something new bad happens. I used to be a Christian, but then I prayed and prayed and went to church, yet bad things still happened. Now I am not, and bad things still happen. So religion is not the answer. Completely changing your life isn’t either. I have changed my life several times completely , like moved to a different continent when I was 18 and got married, went from high school diploma and working in a warehouse to homeless, to going to college and getting an engineering degree, to becoming a farmer. I have gone through 3 husbands ( but been married to current one for 21 years) , have 2 kids that cause me stress, even if they do ok ( I worry about them having bad luck like me, and worry about some drunk driver running them off the road, or daughter getting killed by some gang, or them getting a brain tumor or something). Nothing nothing nothing I do in my life turns out great! I wished I was never born. But now I am here and have to deal with it. I don’t know if I should just quit everything, sell the animals, and go on welfare and get fat and lazy and watch Netflix, until I die from heart attack hopefully soon.

    I don’t really expect any help from some random internet site, but what else have I got to do while I sit here with my foot in a cast?

    1. Very stressful to be dealing with continual problems like this. These issues are probably more difficult than what most people encounter. Repeated, painful situations can really take a toll on our happiness and well-being.

      There are two mindset practices that have really helped me during times when I’ve gotten hammered with too many back-to-back challenges. Maybe these practices will help you too…

      The practices are to: “actively look for the good” and “surround yourself with inspiration”.

      When things seem like they’re always falling apart or that you’re getting blasted with bad luck, it can be easy to fall into a very negative state. To help counter this, the practice of actively looking for the good helps us to shift our focus. To actively look for the good, purposefully look for things that are positive, working well or things that you’re thankful for. I know this probably seems like the opposite of what we actually want to do when dealing with challenges but I have found it to be quite effective in improving how I feel and how I perceive negative situations.

      The second practice of “surrounding yourself with inspiration” helps to boost the first practice. Start to immerse yourself with books, music, people, activities that help lift you up and help you to make any changes that you might need to. This can include personal development books or books about people who have overcome difficult situations. This can help us to see new options and paths.

      I hope these ideas help and I hope things improve for you very soon.

  19. I don’t know what to do. Nothing seems to work in my life. I’m constantly moving and trying new jobs but it never works. I wonder why I’m still here! I feel cursed.

  20. I am just tired of trying and trying. I have already turned 24 and I have no degree no job. Trying to stay positive but nothing is going the way things should be. I have been trying my best and now I don’t feel motivated at all and I just feel like giving up and running away. I feel exhausted all the time and I am just not happy. I want to make my parents feel proud about me but I don’t feel any of it is happening.

  21. Hi,

    I will start by saying what others have already said. I don’t know how to function in life/society. Everyday I feel that I am slipping further under this quagmire called life. Everything I have tried, to make life better has failed. I have never been shown how to accomplish anything in this life. I have looked at myself carefully and thoroughly. I came to the realization that I don’t have any discernable skills or talents. No redeeming attributes. I don’t know what to do. I don’t have anything to work with. A life lost in perpetual poverty and uselessness. 3+ decades of stumbling along without any hope.

    Have a great day and God bless you, in Jesus name, Amen.

  22. I’m having my fair share of life too presently. It’s been hard but Ive been a fighter, I’ve been tried on everything I thought I was, my finances, business, relationship, morals, faith… Everything actually. And I’ve failed at everything, I’ve failed so much I’m no longer scared of failing. I tell myself what the worst that could happen (fail?) Then I go ahead and do it anyways. I’ve discovered life itself is a battle, it just comes against you for no reason, You don’t have to do anything wrong, life will come for you, and it will give it’s best to frustrate your efforts.. then you start feeling like you have bad luck, cursed e.t.c. but it’s a lie. I’ll say we keep going, cry if you need to but don’t stop trying. it’s not your fault your fault you are going through whatever it is you are going. What I want for myself is what motivates me, I’ll keep going; the worst that could happen is I fail again.
    I’ve not seen it through but this has helped me over the years. When I act strong life feels like I need more burdens. Lol, it’s funny.

  23. Hey, I definitely relate to that feeling of being tired of trying. I`m a newly graduated student who over the past year has jumped in and out of casual jobs which in reality provide neither satisfaction nor happiness to me. I get it “we`ve all been at that stage, work your way up, things get easier”. I`ve heard it all. Yet things don`t improve and I find myself getting increasingly more frustrated for feeling like just another disposable cog in the system. My dream career of being a nurse seems ever more like an impossible, ridiculously complex endeavour and this leads me feeling unmotivated, agitated and above all hopelessly stuck. To top it off I`m now at the age where everyone else seems to moving forward in the direction they want for themselves while I just feel like I`m going round in circles even though I have and continue to try to take steps towards my own dreams. I don`t expect a reply but won`t lie, it is nice being reminded that we`re not alone in our struggles. That there are others who feel the same way and want to provide support. So thanks.

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