How To Stop Feeling Hopeless

By Toni Hoy

Updated August 01, 2019

Reviewer Heather Cashell

Losing hope can mean losing direction, and no longer understanding the point of your job, your relationships, or your life. Hopelessness might have emerged following the loss of a loved one, or the loss of a beloved relationship. Hopelessness might not even seem to have a cause, and can flare up without explanation or an easily identifiable catalyst.

Hopelessness might seem like a never-ending companion once it has made a home in your life, but it does not have to live with you forever. Recognizing hopelessness is the first step to recovering hope.

There Are Ways You Can Stop Feeling Hopeless, Even If It Doesn’t Seem Like It
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The First Step

Recognizing that there is a problem and looking for a solution is always a good first step toward addressing that problem. And though it seems like a small step, when you're feeling hopeless even the smallest of steps can feel insurmountable. So the fact that you're still searching and fighting, the fact that you came here to this article, is important. Don't let feeling hopeless trump the importance of what you've just done. You have recognized that prolonged feelings of hopelessness do not have to be your status quo, and you have begun to seek a way out from the shadow of despair that may be engulfing you. That deserves recognition.

The Next Step

The next step is figuring out where those feelings of hopelessness are coming from. Without knowing you personally, it is impossible for an internet article to diagnose what's causing those feelings within you. A horrible situation may be the cause, but sometimes what seems hopeless to you right now, is in reality an opportunity to move forward and emerge a happier and more resilient person.

Let's consider for a moment that things are not as awful as they appear right now. Often, feelings of hopelessness are thoughts hijacking your reality, coloring even what could be your brightest moments in varying shades of gray. And if this is the case in your situation, you are still left with the questions you started with. What is the source of these feelings of hopelessness? How can you make them go away? A licensed counselor with an unbiased perspective can help you determine the source of your feelings.

Navigating the Loss of Hope

Hopelessness is usually associated with periods of anxiety or depression. If you feel hopeless, you are not alone. Over 18% of the population live with anxiety disorders, and approximately 7% have a depressive disorder. Most importantly, 80% of these populations experience significant improvement in symptoms following treatment. Because depression and anxiety can make you feel isolated, alienated, and embarrassed, hopelessness may go unchecked for quite some time before you seek treatment.

Recovery for these issues is absolutely possible, and could be right at your fingertips. Therapy can help treat hopelessness at its root, whether that is through online counseling sites such as BetterHelp.com, or through a local therapist and face-to-face meetings.

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Treating Hopelessness with Therapy

Because hopelessness can often paralyze your ability to reach out for help, reaching out to a therapist or therapy clinic can prove difficult. Therapy practices themselves can be quite intimidating, as most require insurance information and a basic rundown of your issues upfront. If you have a full schedule, it may be difficult to find the time to see a therapist in-person. Finding treatment is certainly possible, but can prove tricky.

This is where online counseling sites such as BetterHelp.com come in: you can choose when you'd like to schedule your sessions, and you don't need to waste time commuting to your session, either. The costs of online sessions are typically the same as the co-pays for in-person sessions.e. Many insurance companies require a concrete diagnosis before treatment can move forward, while online therapy may be able to provide focused treatment without the rigid requirement of a formal diagnosis Read below for some reviews of BetterHelp counselors.

Counselor Reviews

"After having two tries at in-person therapy that didn't fit, I was so happy to find Lisa Rivers. She was so helpful to me in a very short period of time, helping me get through a "stuck" period in my life. She gave me validation, reading material that was helpful, and great video sessions. I appreciate her very much!"

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"Rachel is a patient, dedicated, skilled, and kind counselor. Her expertise and thoughtful approach has helped gain insight to my problems, which in turn has armed me with confidence to forge ahead, flaws and all."



Is Your Hopelessness Caused By Depression?

A feeling of hopelessness is often one of the key diagnosing factors for depression. Although many people associate depression with feelings of sadness, feeling both hopeless and helpless are frequent symptoms of depression means feeling stuck, apathetic, lost, or as though there is no hope or possibility of getting better, which is one of the aspects of the disorder that makes it so dangerous: the condition behaves as though it is the end of the line, when it absolutely is not.

If hopelessness is accompanied by unexplained weight gain or loss, sleep disturbances, feelings of apathy, or loss of interest in things that once caused you joy, depression may be at least partly responsible for your hopeless feelings, and treating your condition could directly assist in dissolving hopelessness.

Is Your Hopelessness Caused By Anxiety?

Anxiety could also be the source of hopelessness. Anxiety is characterized by intense or persistent feelings of anxiety that linger for an extended period (typically at least one month), without a distinct, reasonable trigger. Feeling apprehensive about an upcoming interview, for instance, is unlikely to be due to an anxiety disorder. Anxiety is usually characterized by anxious feelings, sleep disturbances, a racing heart, racing thoughts, feelings of fear or paranoia, and hyper vigilance. All of these (and more) can signal the onset of an anxiety disorder, and feelings of hopelessness can arise when anxiety is a constant companion, and there is no sign of alleviation or healing in the near future.

As with depression, however, anxiety is extremely treatable, and does not need to be a source of hopelessness. Treating anxiety will likely alleviate many feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, as you will be getting the help you need to manage your symptoms, and even overcome your disorder.

What You Can Do

The good news is that regardless of the cause of your feelings of hopelessness, there are things you can do to shed those feelings. Many other people have been in your shoes-approximately 20% of the population, in fact-and have walked away with renewed vigor and a renewed excitement for life. Seeking help is the first step in any form of treatment, and doing something as simple as researching local therapists or online therapy resources can be a tremendous and exciting step forward. Getting the perspective of someone outside of your immediate circle, with fresh eyes and a broad view can help ease some of the uncertainty, concern, and sadness people feel on a day-to-day basis.

From there, selecting a therapist will depend on your unique needs and comfort level. If hopelessness is your primary target, you and your therapist can work with that feeling, and identify its roots and sources. If you find yourself matching the criteria for anxiety or depression, you can search for a therapist who specializes in these areas. Whatever path you take, there will be a therapist who has worked with someone who feels similarly, and is ready and willing to walk with you on your own path toward healing.

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Tools to Find Hope (Besides Therapy)

If therapy is not quite on your radar yet, that's okay! There are steps you can take to help ease some of your hopeless feelings. These include:

1) Connect with Loved Ones. Hope is often reinvigorated when you connect with people you know and love. Reach out to a friend or family member to reassure yourself that there are still reasons to connect with people, and reasons to keep trying.

2) Cry. That's right: let your hopelessness run wild for a few minutes and allow yourself to have a good, long cry. Suppressing emotions can actually make them stick around longer, so let yourself feel hopeless for a minute, and let yourself really sob. Take a walk outside afterwards to help clear your mind, and you'll see how new emotions start to appear besides hopelessness.

3) Try Something Different. If you've never gone for a jog, give it a try. If you've never sung karaoke with wild abandon, give it a whirl. If you're feeling hopeless about the life you're living, get out of that life for a while and try something new.

4) Meditate. Meditation has many benefits, but one of the most important ones is the ability to focus on the present. Hopelessness usually stretches into the future, and quickly becomes overwhelming. Learning how to stay focused on the present moment can help alleviate these feelings.

5) Practice Gratitude. Feeling hopeless often coincides with feeling as though there is nothing to be grateful for. Take a minute to jot down just one thing you are grateful for. It could be the air in your lungs, the ability to listen to your favorite song on the radio, or the trill of a bird outside of your window. You don't have to create a huge list; just find one thing.


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