How To Stop Feelings Of Hopelessness

Updated October 5, 2022by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Content note: If you or a loved one are experiencing suicidal thoughts, reach out for help and support immediately. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255, and is available 24/7.

Experiencing hopeless thoughts can mean losing direction and no longer understanding the point of your job, your relationships or family, or your life. Feelings of hopelessness can have many causes including experiencing the loss of a loved one or someone in your family, or the loss of any close relationship. In some cases, experiencing hopelessness can arise from dealing with a difficult situation, a major life change, or living with a mental health issue which might benefit from online therapy. However, in some cases, there may be no cause and hopeless thoughts can flare up without explanation or an easily identifiable catalyst.

The First Step

Feeling hopeless 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 that you are feeling this way is the first step to finding treatment and a way forward.

Recognizing that your thoughts of feeling hopeless have become a serious issue and looking for a solution is always a good first step toward addressing any mental illness. And though it seems like a small step, even the smallest of steps can feel insurmountable if you feel hopeless. So, the fact that you recognize you’re struggling emotionally, the fact that you're still searching and fighting, and the fact that you came here to this article, is important. Don't let hopeless feelings trump the importance of what you've just done. You have recognized that prolonged feelings of hopelessness do not have to overcome your life. That deserves recognition.

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

The Next Step

The next step toward treatment is figuring out where those feelings of hopelessness are coming from. Though only a licensed therapist can accurately diagnose you with a mental illness, taking time to look at the factors that may be affecting you negatively can be incredibly beneficial. For example, you may feel overwhelmed with the stressors of daily life, or perhaps you've gone through a traumatic event that makes it difficult to feel excited moving forward. Or you may be experiencing family problems or a lack of support that may be affecting your mental health.  A variety of factors are likely impacting your mental well-being, and you may need to make some adjustments in daily life. Some feelings to look out for: depressed, anxious, stressed, lonely, worthless, guilty, ashamed, inferior, not good enough, confused, scared, rejected, ignored, or invisible.

Navigating A Hopeless Outlook

Hopelessness is often 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. Learning more about the information available as well as the action following diagnosis can help you better understand behavior patterns and solutions, as well as thinking patterns or life changes (such as grief) that may impact your happiness or lives in general.

Recovery from these issues is possible and could be right at your fingertips. Therapy is a great treatment option that tackles hopelessness at its root, whether that is through online counseling sites such as BetterHelp.com or a local therapist and face-to-face meetings. Getting advice for anything in your life (alcohol use, broader purposes or goals, skills, strength, drugs, child relationships) can help you turn your pain into action and even strength. Actions can help you work through signs and events with the right services.

How Does Depression Affect Things?

A feeling of hopelessness is often one of the key diagnosing factors for depression. Although many people associate depression with sadness, feeling both hopeless and helpless are frequent symptoms of depression. This can mean feeling stuck, apathetic, lost, or as though there is no hope or possibility of getting better. This 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 is not.

Depression can also cause people to feel lethargic and disinterested in certain activities. They may also struggle to do tasks that seem simple for other people, such as taking care of their hygiene or household chores. This can often lead to feelings of hopelessness or feeling overwhelmed.

Suppose 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. In that case, depression may be at least partly responsible for your hopeless feelings, and treating your condition could directly assist in dissolving hopelessness. Studies show that online therapy can be an effective treatment option depression.

Inside How Anxiety Contributes

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, may not necessarily be due to an anxiety disorder. Anxiety is usually characterized by nervous 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. There is no sign of alleviation or healing shortly.

For people with anxiety disorders, they may also feel hopeless when it comes to certain situations. People with social anxiety may struggle to enjoy social situations or talking with family, which can feel isolating and uncomfortable. Since anxiety causes persistent negative thought patterns, it can be challenging to work against them.

As with depression, however, anxiety is treatable and does not need to be a source of hopelessness. Treating anxiety can alleviate any 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 many treatment options to reduce your 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 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, a therapist will be ready to support you on your mental health journey.

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

Tools to Find Hope

Though therapy is a great treatment tool to help work through feelings of hopelessness, there are other ways that you can do on your own to help you effectively cope with your feelings. As you begin to find new hope in your life, you may want to implement new habits in your daily routine to keep yourself grounded and moving forward. It's also possible you may want to evaluate which circumstances in your life cause you to have the most negative thought patterns, such as family problems or challenging situations.

1) Connect With Family And Loved Ones. Hope is often reinvigorated when you connect with people you know and love. Spend time with friends or family members to reassure yourself that there are still reasons to connect with people and reasons to keep trying. Furthermore, your loved ones and family members are a vital support system when you experience any problem with your mental health, so you should talk with them if you need some general support and care during this time.

2) Cry. That's right: sit with your emotions for a few minutes and allow yourself to have a good, long cry. Suppressing emotions can make them stick around longer, so let yourself feel things for a minute and let yourself sob. Take a walk outside afterward 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 not feeling hopeful 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 focusing 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. Hopelessness 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 thrill of a bird outside of your window. You don't have to create a huge list; find one thing.

6) Practice Self-Care. Engaging in self-care is one of the most powerful ways to help your mental health if you are struggling or feel hopeless. Eating well, getting enough sleep, and exercising often can do wonders for your mental health. Furthermore, you should engage in self-compassion and not beat yourself up for the emotions you are experiencing as they are very normal.

7) Develop A Positive Perspective. Though being more positive is not a fix-all treatment, being mindful and developing more positive thoughts may help ease the negative cycle you are in. It does require some effort at first, but trying to be optimistic may help. After all, the future holds so much opportunity and you never know what goods things are right around the corner.

8) Join Support Groups. There are many support groups that help tackle feelings of hopelessness, no matter the cause. Some support groups help people struggling with mental health issues while others help people facing challenges or dealing with a tough time. Talking with other people who are dealing with the same feelings and struggles as you can offer great support and resources.

Overcoming Hopelessness With BetterHelp

A growing body of evidence from peer-reviewed studies shows that online therapy can be a valuable resource for those who want to address difficult emotions associated with depression, anxiety, or similar mental health concerns. In one study, researchers found that app-based guided therapy produced significant and long-lasting effects for participants living with anxiety and depression. Such guided therapy programs often consist of counseling sessions, along with resources, such as group webinars, interactive exercises, and video and audio files. This study can be added to an already large amount of research pointing to online counseling as an effective treatment option for managing emotions such as hopelessness and despair.

When you work with a therapist (whether online or in-person), you can discuss your sense of hopelessness in a confidential conversation. Your therapist can offer support while you’re struggling emotionally and provide you with coping strategies to process and heal your hopelessness and feel positive again. Anyone who feels hopeless can find support and resources through therapy and counseling.

As discussed above, if you're having problems with hopelessness or similar mental health challenges, online therapy is a valuable resource for getting on the road to recovery. If the idea of going to an office to participate in face-to-face therapy seems daunting, you can attend online sessions from the comfort of your home. With BetterHelp, you'll be able to connect with a licensed mental health professional from the comfort of your home. Read below for some reviews of counselors from those who have experienced similar issues.

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, helping me get through a "stuck" period in my life. She gave me validation, helpful reading material, and great video sessions. I appreciate her very much!"


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

Conclusion And Moving Forward

While there are several reasons for feelings of hopelessness to emerge, a licensed therapist has the experience and knowledge to figure out the underlying cause behind yours and address that cause directly. It's important to note that you are never alone. No matter what you're feeling, a trained counselor can help. Take the first step toward healing today.

Commonly asked questions on the topic of hopelessness can be found below:

What does it mean feeling hopeless?
What causes hopeless?
What God says about hopelessness?
Is hopelessness part of depression?
What is a hopeless person?
What Bible verses are good for depression?
Does God forgive despair?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What do you do when you have no hope?

When you have no hope, try not to isolate yourself. Consider talking to a friend or someone you can trust about how you feel. They may give you another perspective on the matter, which can also provide valuable insight. This may also allow you to stop feeling hopeless as you consider things and start to question your hopelessness. Feelings of hopelessness are not always an accurate depiction of the situation at hand.

Though having occasional feelings of hopelessness is normal, it's time to reach out for help if you find yourself feeling hopeless frequently. A licensed therapist can help you figure out an underlying mental health disorder affecting your thoughts and emotions.

Do young people feel more hopeless these days?

Yes, studies have shown that more young people struggle with mental health disorders and feelings of hopelessness than they have in the past. These statistics could also be affected by mental health becoming a less stigmatized topic, and therefore, more young people are aware of what symptoms look like.

In one study reported on the Advisory Board, people aged 18-25 experienced depression 63% more in 2017 than in 2009. There was also a substantial increase among people aged 12-17, at about 51% higher in 2017 than in 2005.

The study reported in the Advisory Board also indicated that, in the past year, the same groups of younger people from ages 12-25 had the greatest share of depressive episodes among people of all ages.

No matter your age, you may find yourself dealing with challenging thoughts related to hopelessness, such as psychological distress, depression, or suicidal thoughts. If so, talking to a mental health professional might be the best way to deal with these issues. You may find a therapist in your local community or online through a site like BetterHelp, to help you deal with the problems you're facing as a young person and the mental health issues you are experiencing.

For those whose loved ones are experiencing homelessness, you must offer your emotional support and concern for their wellbeing. Avoid judging them or criticizing them for feeling the way they do. Instead, be there for them. And if they ask for your help, be ready to point them to a mental health service that can assist them.

If you or a loved one are experiencing suicidal thoughts, reach out for help immediately. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255 and is available 24/7.

Where can I find emotional support to overcome hopelessness?

A therapist can provide excellent support, as they not only listen non-judgmentally but also teach you ways to move beyond times of hopelessness. You can also find help in your community, such as local support groups. Your friends and family also might play a significant role in helping you see more positive possibilities in your future. Remember that having and maintaining social and emotional bonds with others can improve mental health and reduce homelessness. Whether you make those connections in support groups for anxiety or depression or in a hobby group, just being with others sometimes is essential.

Is it a sin to be hopeless?

No, it is not a sin to feel hopeless. Almost everyone experiences hopelessness or depression at some point in their life. Life can be quite challenging, and God understands this. He still loves you even when you are in despair. If you wish to find treatment for your feelings of hopelessness, try praying to God for support, talking to religious family members for help, or utilizing religious resources, such as the Bible or a pastor. Watching videos or learning individuals rights to be happy through and LCSW therapist, music you enjoy, a place that makes you feel safe, or a certificate such as a PhD, can help you make everything a chance to succeed.

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