How do you survive when your world is falling apart?
First things first: You’re not alone.
It may not feel like it, but it’s the digital age, and help is all around.
All you have to do is reach out.
Secondly, know that rock bottom is often a blessing in disguise.
After all, we learn and grow the most when everything is falling apart around us.
So today, we’re exploring 13 ways to pull it together when life insists on knocking you around.
- Why Is My Life Falling Apart?
- What to Do When Your Life Is Falling Apart: 13 Ways to Pull It Together
- 1. Practice Self-Care and Self-Love
- 2. Start Journaling
- 3. Get Professional Help
- 4. Practice Mindfulness
- 5. Practice Gratitude
- 6. Become More Aware of Others’ Needs (Increase Compassion)
- 7. Meditate
- 8. Stick to a Budget
- 9. Eat Well
- 10. Challenge Yourself
- 11. Read Self-Development Books
- 12. Set Healthy Boundaries
- 13. Take a Social Media Break
- Final Thought
Why Is My Life Falling Apart?
Life is beyond complicated.
Zillions of moving pieces keep us on our proverbial toes, and finding one’s way in the chaos can sometimes feel overwhelming — impossible even — especially when nothing is falling into place.
But patterns present themselves, and certain things tend to carry us to dark, difficult places. Let’s examine six of them.
1. Unresolved Trauma
In 2015, Dr. Bessel van der Kolk published a best-selling book about the lingering effects of trauma entitled “The Body Keeps the Score.”
The title is poignant and addresses the fact that experiential pains hang around if we don’t identify and work through them. Letting trauma fester can lead to myriad professional and personal problems.
2. Unaddressed Mental Health Conditions
Scientists and researchers are making considerable headway in understanding neurodivergence and how mental health conditions — like depression, anxiety, and borderline personality disorder — affect our outlooks, personality, and behavior.
But people who ignore their mental health tend to lead more reckless and risky lives, which often leads to problems.
Addiction spirals can be devastating and have the power to ruin lives.
When people become dependent on alcohol, drugs, and other destructive vices, rationality and responsibility fly out the window.
Addiction takes control and drags you down the darkest paths.
4. Financial Mismanagement
Being bad with money can lead to many practical problems. Not paying bills on time and letting them pile up can lead to extreme stress and additional fees, which manifests in negative ways.
5. Strained Relationships
Is your life filled with people that make you miserable? Is your family life strained? Or maybe you’re going through a rocky patch and figuring out that people you thought were friends aren’t.
Feeling like you have no support can wreak havoc on your mental health and lead to bigger issues.
6. Uncontrollable Outside Forces
As poet William Ernest Henley suggested, we are the “masters of our fates” and the “captains of our souls” — but we’re not in control of every aspect and element that affects our lives.
Sometimes, life gets in the way, causes a ruckus, and rudely dumps problems on your doorstep.
What to Do When Your Life Is Falling Apart: 13 Ways to Pull It Together
Your life, at the moment, is a chaotic sh*tstorm, laced with hemlock, inside a burning dumpster. Everything around you screams, “My life is falling apart!”
And right now, there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. You’re deep in the cave and losing your cool.
Thankfully, there’s good news: Nothing lasts forever.
Impermanence is life’s fundamental nature. Furthermore, you have the power, ability, and talent to turn things around. Anyone who suggests differently is an ignorant liar who lacks insight.
All it takes is some elbow grease, discipline, and persistence. When you don’t give up, you eventually win.
1. Practice Self-Care and Self-Love
There’s nothing more important than elevating your self-care routine when you’re down in the dumps.
Don’t feel guilty about taking care of yourself. At this juncture, it’s imperative. After all, you won’t be able to pick yourself up without a mental health tune-up.
Don’t be reckless or irresponsible. (For example, booking a first-class, week-long spa vacation is the opposite of smart if you’re having money problems.) But don’t deprive yourself to the point of emotional privation.
Try to notice patterns in your life, analyze them, and make adjustments.
Also, if you find yourself catastrophizing, ask yourself how often the dreadful things you imagine come true. In 99% of cases, our worries never materialize.
Self-care involves everything from getting enough sleep to reading a great book. Indulge. It truly helps.
2. Start Journaling
The verdict is in: Journaling is a wonderful, beneficial habit. Not only does it buoy your mental health, but studies suggest it positively impacts your physical wellness.
Why is journaling so effective?
To be honest, nobody is 100% positive about why the process works. All they know is that writing down our thoughts settles parts of the brain associated with stress and emotional control.
Moreover, there’s just something about getting “your head” onto paper (or a screen) that puts things into perspective and reduces anxiety.
When your life feels like a toxic cesspool, try journaling. It’s small but can help you sort through the muck and make a recovery plan.
3. Get Professional Help
In the not-too-distant past, therapy was taboo. Thankfully, that’s changing.
Increasing numbers of people understand that mental health is just as important as physical health and respect the strong connection between the two.
So don’t be afraid or embarrassed about enlisting a therapist, psychiatrist, or life coach. They have the knowledge and experience you need to get better.
Tight budget? Check if your healthcare plan offers coverage. Many do. If that’s not an option, consider checking out an online therapy platform where prices may be more affordable.
4. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is the art of living in the present. Instead of fretting about the past or worrying about the future, mindful people concentrate on the current moment.
“When you’re in the weeds, live in the moment!” may seem dismissive — but science says differently.
Studies prove that deliberate and consistent mindfulness practice is a massive boon for mental health.
Plus, people who lead mindful lives tend to make better decisions and have more emotional control, skills that will help you overcome troubles.
5. Practice Gratitude
There’s a vast difference between “toxic positivity” and “gratitude practice.”
The former encourages you to deny your feelings and hide emotions. The latter will help you see the glass half-full when you need to escape your own head for a bit.
Popular options include keeping a gratitude journal or doing appreciation meditations in the morning and night.
You needn’t spend hours prostrating in humble gratitude. Just five minutes a day will make a massive difference.
6. Become More Aware of Others’ Needs (Increase Compassion)
We often find our lives falling apart when we’re not operating at our behavioral best, and treating other people poorly is a common culprit. After all, if you don’t treat people well, negativity is likely to follow.
So if you find yourself struggling, try being nicer. We’re not suggesting you kiss asses or become a pathological people pleaser, but pay more attention to others’ needs and feelings.
Be more accommodating. Live by the motto that it’s easier to “catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”
You may find your fortunes change when you change how you treat people.
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Meditation is excellent for the body and mind.
Study after study shows that people who maintain a consistent meditation routine enjoy improved cognitive function, better memory recall, and lower blood pressure.
You don’t need to spend hours a day to leverage meditation’s benefits. A mere 20 minutes does the trick.
We recommend, however, not starting with 20-minute sessions. Instead, begin with five-minute sittings to develop the habit.
When you get to the point where you’re doing it daily and can intensely focus for that time, boost your minutes.
8. Stick to a Budget
Financial troubles are the worst — or, at least, they feel like the worst since our society’s comfort and safety are inextricably tied to money.
The good news is that financial troubles aren’t final. You can fix them. The key is spending less.
You may scoff and exclaim, “I don’t spend a lot as it is!” And we hear you.
Times are increasingly tough for too many people. But right or wrong, you gotta figure out a way to make it work. So go through your bank records with a fine-tooth comb.
Can you cut costs by limiting takeout or nights out at the bar? What about shopping?
Are you going to places with the best deals or the ones that are most convenient? Do you shop at places like Whole Foods because of status pressure?
Stop trying to impress people you don’t like and put yourself on a strict budget until things are under control.
Use the time you would have dithered away spending money and putting on airs to read, learn, and expand your skill set. Doing so will better position you for a more lucrative job.
9. Eat Well
Eating well can make all the difference. Healthy food has the power to boost your mood, improve your blood chemistry, and fend off illness.
So when life is smacking you around, bolster yourself with nutritious nibbles.
Start small if you don’t have the taste buds for healthy food. Commit to eating one good thing a day. An apple or orange will do.
After a week, bump it up to two healthy things a day. Keep the pattern going until the majority of your menu is nutritious.
Simultaneously, cut your sugar by half, then by three-quarters. Before long, your preferences will begin to change, and healthier food will start to taste better.
Studies show that people who eat better perform better and profit more. So start your transformation on the plate.
And no, you don’t need to go to expensive stores to get healthy food.
The apples you get at “Whole Paycheck” may look gorgeous, but they have the same amount of nutrients as ones from Aldo or Trader Joe’s, which cost half the price.
10. Challenge Yourself
When life is challenging, we tend to retreat and hide away.
But if you want to turn things around, do the opposite. Instead of wallowing, get out there and challenge yourself.
The sooner you redirect your mind to productive things, the faster you’ll be able to rebuild your life.
Don’t let your inner critic take control. It’s a dumb, nasty voice that has nothing to do with the talented, brilliant person you are.
Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get back out there. It’s the only way.
11. Read Self-Development Books
Reading is fundamental and can be the helping hand that pulls you out of a trench.
And though not every self-help author is for everyone, luckily, there are thousands from which to choose.
Look for books that address your exact situation. Some people make the mistake of only choosing titles that fit their current outlook or comfort areas. Instead, aim to be open-minded.
Make room for books that may challenge your assumptions and long-held beliefs.
No rule says you must agree with everything you read, but busting out of your intellectual comfort zone will exercise the brain and get back on track sooner.
In addition to self-development tomes, look for books about people who beat the odds or overcame ostensibly insurmountable obstacles. Use it as inspiration.
Reading is also an excellent tool for emotional rehabilitation. In addition to helping you escape intrusive thoughts for a bit, reading fills you with knowledge and insight.
12. Set Healthy Boundaries
A lack of boundaries can lead to a messy life.
We’re not suggesting you live locked up alone, but ensure you’re not sacrificing too much of yourself to the detriment of your mental or physical health.
Boundaries aren’t meant to shut people out, nor should they be used to wield control over situations and relationships.
So try not to be one of those folks who mistake bratty entitlement with boundary setting.
However, establishing reasonable guidelines that shape your life will make it easier to pick yourself up and move onward and upward.
13. Take a Social Media Break
Social media is sometimes fun and relaxing, but it can also be a soul-sucking, confidence-eroding, mental-torture device.
Study after study strongly suggests that spending too much time on social media can lead to severe depression, anxiety, and other conditions that negatively distort our perceptions of reality.
So if you’re navigating a rough spot, consider taking a break from Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and other mentally punitive platforms in your rotation.
People who do find they start feeling stronger and healthier within weeks and are better able to scale obstacles in their way.
We’re sorry things are rough right now. But remember that “right now” isn’t “forever.”
You’re bright, determined, hard-working, and can turn things around. Heck, if you’re looking up ways to pull yourself out of a downward spiral, that’s proof you’ve got everything it takes to turn lemons into lemonade.
We believe in you — so get to work! The sooner you attack the problem, the quicker you’ll be back on top.