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‘Why Do I hate My Life’: Actions & Tips to Overcome Unhappiness In Life

Written by Evolve's Behavioral Health Content Team​:

Alyson Orcena, LMFT, Melissa Vallas, MD, Shikha Verma, MD, Ellen Bloch, LCSW, Lianne Tendler, LMFT, Megan Johnston, LMFT Meet The Team >

Do you ever want to scream ‘I hate my life?’’ Maybe you hate school, hate your parents, hate yourself, or all three. You wonder whether life will ever get any better, or if it will always be this terrible. By asking yourself ‘Why do I hate my life,’ you’re taking a very important first step to healing, but there’s some good news and bad news.

Good news first: Life will get better. You won’t always feel this hopeless or helpless. Things will change.

Bad news: You have to change your situation yourself. Here are five things you can do to make your life better—starting today.

What To Do When You Hate Your Life: 5 Major Steps to Consider

It’s important to recognize that many people experience things in life that make it unpleasant. Whether your job is awful or you feel like you have no time for friends or your relationships are suffering, then it’s important to recognize that there are things you can do to make it better. 

Whether you need some serious intervention like depression counseling or you just need to change some things in your environment, there are steps you can take to make your life better. If you can say, “I hate my life,” then these tips are for you.

1). First, get up and do something fun.

We know what you’re thinking: getting up from your phone or laptop and going out into the fresh air won’t change anything. Here’s what we’re thinking: it will. Evidence shows that people’s moods actually improve when they participate in something that brought them pleasure in the past. So, for you, this could be listening to your favorite singer on repeat. Shooting some hoops, with or without a friend. Going for a run. Having a barbecue (and then eating your steak). Going out to buy a canvas and painting something you’ll want to hang in your room later. This is what the therapeutic modality Behavioral Activation is all about. We know you want to stay immobile right now and wallow in misery or rumination, but we bet you will feel better once you get up and do something fun or active.

2). Now, take a dialectical perspective.

Taking a dialectical approach means acknowledging that two opposing ideas can be true at the same time. Your pain is valid, period. You are struggling. You’re unhappy with your life. And that is acceptable. We’re not telling you to “look at the glass half-full instead of half-empty” or consider that other people have it worse than you. All we’re doing is telling you to also consider the things going right in your life. Hopefully, you can think of a few things you really do like about yourself or your life—whether it’s a specific hobby you enjoy, a good friend that you have, or even a pet you love. This is the approach of Dialectical Behavior Therapy. So, instead of thinking I hate my parents, think I hate that my parents took away my phone privileges, and I like that they have given me lots of things in the past. Instead of thinking I hate myself, think I’m a kind and sensitive person, and I also need to work on my relationships. Instead of my life is terrible, try school is stressful, and I like my friends.

3). Consider whether there is something you can change in your life.

Now that you (hopefully) feel a little bit better, think about whether there are any action steps you can take to change the situation you’re not happy about. If you’re struggling with school, can you get some extra tutoring? Just experienced a breakup? Can you talk about it with a friend who will sympathize? If someone at school is bullying you, can you talk to the school’s guidance counselor or even just any adult who will listen?  Would your parents consider letting you switch schools? Not every problem always has a fix, but there are often practical things you can do to make every situation a little better.

4). Get immediate crisis help.

You might have just had a really bad argument with your parents. Perhaps you’re considering running away from home. Or you might be experiencing a tragic breakup. If you’re in a crisis right now and need help immediately, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255). This is a free, confidential hotline available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for anyone in emotional distress or suicidal crisis. You can also text the Crisis Text Line. This free, confidential resource is open 24/7/365 and offers trained counselors ready to help you with anything you might be going through. The National Runaway Safeline at 1-800-RUNAWAY is another resource. If you’re thinking of running away, call them first. They’ll help you evaluate your options and make a plan for how to keep safe. With all of these options, if you don’t want to talk to a stranger, you can always phone a friend who is nonjudgmental and supportive. Try to see if they can help you work through any of your problems or issues.

5). Seek long-term professional help.

If you feel like you’re always feeling hopeless and negative about your life, consider whether you might have depression or another mental health issue. Consistently feeling down and being unable to participate in previously enjoyed activities are two primary symptoms of depression. If you do have a mental health issue like depression or anxiety, or even a behavioral issue like Oppositional Defiant Disorder, you might need therapy, medication, or even treatment at an adolescent mental health rehab or substance abuse treatment center (or dual diagnosis treatment center). Depending on the level of your clinical acuity, you may need a teen outpatient program (intensive outpatient or partial hospitalization) or full-time residential care. 

Additional Actions to Take For When You Hate Life

There are other things you can do to make life more enjoyable. You won’t have to say, “I hate my life” when you start working on the things in your life that are difficult. 

Practice Mindfulness

Being mindful means that you connect your mind and body to what’s happening around you. You identify thoughts and emotions that you are experiencing and how they are linked to what’s happening in your environment. It’s a way to be aware and present in the moment instead of being tormented by the past or worrying about the future. 

Get Sleep

Not getting enough sleep impacts your physical and emotional wellbeing in countless ways. People who don’t sleep well are more irritable and unhappy with life. They struggle to control their emotions and may experience mental health challenges as well. If you want to know what to do when you hate your life, focus on getting enough sleep.

You can do this by creating a bedtime routine that you follow each night including turning off technology at a reasonable hour, creating a dark space in your room, and using a white noise machine to help you rest better. 

Eat Healthy

Healthy eating is about far more than just losing extra pounds so you can look good. Healthy foods support your emotional wellbeing as well. The right foods can reduce the incidence of depression in teens and adults. The right foods can help you balance hormones and improve your hormonal health. And for those who have self-esteem issues, eating nutritious food is one component of getting to and maintaining a healthier weight. Eating healthy can reduce inflammation in your body as well and make it easier to do the things you enjoy the most. 

Control the Inner Talk

When you are constantly thinking about “why do I hate my life” or you are continually telling yourself that everything about you is bad, then it will be hard to find positive things in life. One way to live a better life is to consider your inner talk and to create new habits in your inner talk. What you say to yourself and about yourself matters and if you want to take action when you hate your life, then getting a handle on the inner talk matters a lot. 

Is There Family or Friends to Spend Time With

Spending time with your loved ones is important. When you isolate yourself you are more prone to depression and other mental health conditions. Instead, find friends and family to connect with. Go for coffee with a friend, run errands with a family member. These little interactions can bring more joy into your life and make it worth living. You’ll find over time that these short connections can add up to big emotional gains over time. 


When your home is in disarray it can make everything else in life feel bigger than it really is. Schedule some time to organize your house. This can start with throwing out 10 year old spices in your pantry and donating those extra shoes you’re never going to wear again. Get rid of extra things you don’t use anymore. 

If needed, hire a professional organizer to come in to help you get control over the clutter. Some people find it helpful to sort decorations and swap them out every few months so that their space feels less overwhelmed with stuff. Having space for family and friends and inviting people over can improve your life in numerous ways. 

Realize Personal Power

When you allow yourself to get caught up in a victim mentality, you feel helpless to control what’s happening around you. Your personal power means tapping into the things that you can do for yourself that can make your life better. 

If you hate your job, look for a new one. If you feel like you don’t have opportunities for growth, find free and low-cost resources online to learn new things. If someone is treating you poorly, look for ways to set healthy boundaries that keep you safe physically and emotionally. You have more power than you realize. 

Write in a Journal

Journaling is a powerful practice. When you can verbalize even through writing what you are experiencing and why you hate your life, then you can start figuring out what to do when you hate your life. Journaling can be a combination of thoughts, feelings, events, and how you process those things. You may find that in the process of writing you can come to important changes that you can make in your life for it to be better. 

Treat Yourself

Sounds crazy, but some people don’t think they are worthy of doing things they enjoy. Whether your treat is a cup of coffee and an hour of peace and quiet or it’s playing golf a few times a month, create space to treat yourself. People who practice regular self-care are more likely to love their life or at least not hate it as much. For some, self care is about connecting with their friends and others need quiet time. Taking walks, getting outside, and focusing on things that fill you up are vital. 


Dancing is so much fun and releases endorphins that make you feel happier. Learn to dance through lessons, or simply turn on your favorite music and let yourself get to it. This can be an incredible release that allows you to feel happier with your life. Dancing has numerous physical and mental health benefits that include reducing the incidence of depression, calming anxiety, and more. 

Closing Thoughts

You don’t need to hate your life. There are numerous actions you can take to enjoy a more fulfilling life. Whether you find friends and family to spend time with, you take time for personal care, you improve your inner talk or you organize your house, you can do things that will help you love the life you were given. 

Our Behavioral Health Content Team

We are an expert team of behavioral health professionals who are united in our commitment to adolescent recovery and well-being.

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