Mental health management is an incredibly personal journey and often includes much trial and error. Since it is common for certain feelings and emotions to hinge themselves on specific goings-on within our lives, it can make identifying the root of the problem that much more difficult.
The most important thing to recognize is that you are not alone and that acknowledging the need to feel better is an essential first step.
How to overcome feelings of worthlessness
Practice Healthy Self Talk to Combat Negative Self Talk
How you speak to yourself directly impacts your sense of self-worth and your self esteem. If you are experiencing feelings of worthlessness and negative thinking patterns. Take some time to consider how those feelings and thoughts were generated. The more negative things you say about yourself, both in your mind as well as out loud to other people, the more you are going to believe them. If you weren’t to take on board any other significant steps from this article, at the minimum work on correcting this toxic habit within your life.
Allow the words that you speak over yourself to be positive and uplifting. Work on encouraging yourself on a regular basis. Affirmations are a great way to help guide you to speak more lovingly and with respect to and about yourself. Not only will these short sentiments be authentic to the struggles you want to work through, but they will also provide you with daily encouragement.
Try some of these affirmations below:
I am a special person and there’s nobody else like me
I love myself
I am worthy of all good things in life
I am worthy of happiness
I am enough
Utilize Your Resources
One of the best and most intimidating things about learning how to work on your mental health is that you must be your own advocate. While the truth remains that you have to do the bulk of the hard work on your own, you will not be alone when you do it. Utilize your resources and identify which ones help you combat negative thoughts and feel the highest degree of support.
If seeing a mental health professional appeals to you, that is a tried and true way to really take a stand against your negative feelings. Perhaps you are not yet ready for this formal step. If that is the case, below are a few other ways to ease yourself into the process of increasing your quality of life and embracing things that decrease struggling and anxiety.
- Books or podcasts centered around building your self-esteem
- Treatment facilities or retreats that focus on mental health
- Community support groups
One reassuring element of taking control of your mental health is that there is no blueprint. Since the experience is unique for every person, there should be no fear of failure. Give each attempt your best effort while permitting yourself to deem it unsuccessful if you are not feeling like value is being added to your life.
Identify Your Triggers
Part of working towards a solution is going to be identifying the core of the problem. Worthlessness may be your overwhelming emotion, but ask yourself what makes you experience that feeling? When do you feel that way? Are there any common threads between your bouts of feeling worthless? You may struggle to initially see your triggers clearly when you are experiencing the emotions that go along with a sense of worthlessness.
This may be a good opportunity to reach out to a trusted family member or friend to help you understand what may trigger you. Alternatively, you can see a compassionate therapist or mental health professional and they will be able to help you with identifying the route of the issue and what continually triggers you.
Be prepared to experience some discomfort during this stage. Speaking out loud about elements of your life that lower your sense of self might mean going back to your childhood and any trauma or negative events that may have happened then, or even evaluating your adult relationships and discovering that you may need to end some. Remember that growing pains are temporary, but the relief that you will experience as a result of working through your feelings is very much worth it.
Maintain a Gratitude Journal
Gratitude journals are a proven way to show yourself that you are a high-value individual in a way that someone else is simply not going to be able to when you feel worthless. By putting pen to paper each day and physically writing down an honest account of the best parts of your life, you are forcing yourself to see the good from your own perspective.
This written record will also serve as a tool for when you are experiencing one of your identified triggers. You can keep your journal on you and refer to it when you need to have a moment of mindfulness and remember the positive aspects of your life.
Resist the Urge to Self-Medicate
If you have a habit of transferring your worthless feelings into another unhealthy behavior, that is only a temporary fix. When you are struggling with one issue, breeding another can create a vicious cycle that can be difficult to pull yourself out of.
Not only will self-medicating not correct your issue, but it can also lead to lifestyle behaviors and choices that have negative consequences you may not be prepared to face. Here are some common forms of self-medication for you to be aware of and avoid:
- Alcohol: Think very carefully about your relationship with alcohol and be honest with yourself. While you may not have a diagnosable addiction, eliminating alcohol from your life while you are working on yourself will allow you to think more clearly, sleep better, and make healthy choices. Alcohol and substance abuse can not only be detrimental to your health but also to your future.
- Food: Using food to fill an emotional void is terribly common but not a healthy healer. Food is meant to nourish our minds and bodies, not solve our problems. Focus on eating healthful, whole foods and pay attention to the beginnings of any type of disordered habits you associate with food. You don’t want to develop an eating disorder due to feeling worthless.
- Sex: Physical intimacy is a very important part of life but using sex to block out depression and attempt to no longer feel worthless is a temporary high that won’t help you in the long run. Even if you are in a monogamous and committed relationship, sex with your partner is not a substitute for doing the work within your own mind to increase your sense of self.
- Money: Trying to use money as a therapist can be a slippery slope. Not only is it ineffective, but you could potentially land yourself in a financial hole, which will only increase your stress.
Increase Physical Activity
The endorphins that your brain creates during physical activity are unrivaled when it comes to your mental health and moments of feeling worthless. You need these happy brain chemicals each and every day to remain positive and focused. Daily movement has so many health benefits they are hard to ignore.
You can use this time to listen to music that motivates you, put on a television show that brings you joy, or enjoy the sound of nothing but your own breath as it supports you through whatever activity you select.
Rely on Nature
Both natural light and fresh air have healing properties that can complement how you treat your mental health symptoms when you feel worthless or have low self esteem. When you can get out into the world and take advantage of the fresh air, even during times of the year where the weather is not ideal, opening a window slightly, even for a few moments, and taking several deep, intentional breaths can refresh you.
The restorative properties of natural light can help turn things around when you are feeling any type of stress. While you cannot always count on a sunny day, simply opening your blinds no matter what is impactful. When natural light is not available, look into specialized lamps that can replicate the effects. Seasonal Affective Disorder is truly real, and it is not unique to you if the winter months and days without sunlight prevent you from being able to deal with your thoughts.
Use Food as Medicine
Paying attention to what you feed your body is just as important as paying attention to what you feed your mind. Different kinds of food can make you feel free and other food, such as junk food, can leave you feeling empty and worthless. If you are unsure where to begin, hop online or seek help from your physician or a registered dietitian.
It is important to recognize that some of your symptoms may be manifesting themselves in you physically. Stress on your body can look like restless sleep, weight gain, being quick to anger, just to name a few. If any of this sounds familiar, take that as a sign to search for the food combinations that serve your body best and have the ability to improve your emotional state.
When changes in your diet are not yielding the progress that you hope for, take your research one step further and consider adding in vitamins and supplements. Maybe you are feeling worthless or down because of a hormone imbalance or an intolerance to things that you are eating. Adding in the right types and amounts of nutritional substitutes through vitamins and supplements could be a form of treatment. Here are a few common options and a brief overview of their healing properties for you to consider:
- Vitamin D: This is a vitamin that helps afford you the benefits of the sun when getting them naturally is not an option.
- Magnesium: This supplement can help with calming down your mind and body in preparation for sleep and can also aid in digestion.
- Pre and Probiotics: These food enzymes can be taken in tandem with one meal a day to help ensure that your body is absorbing nutrition from the food at optimal levels and also that your food can be broken down to make its journey through your body easier.
If your feelings of worthlessness have prevented you from being able to feel support, value, or gratitude, try to reverse the process and do good deeds as a way to have that positivity circle back to you. Being a philanthropic person might take practice depending on the severity of your thoughts, but being an active member of the community can truly heal you from the inside out.
When you give back, you gain perspective. Acknowledging that your thoughts might be a product of your past trauma or any negative events that occurred in your life, can help you connect with people experiencing similar situations. Topics like abuse can be incredibly hard to be open about, and victims often need to trust that the advice they are receiving is coming from someone they have a shared experience with.
Giving back to your community, church or not-for-profit organization, allows you to meet people who are also in need and may be struggling more than you are. It will give you a sense of purpose and allow you to feel like you are making a difference in someone else’s life.
Kill Your Ego
Having an ego can significantly deter your ability to diagnose your emotions properly. If you are feeling worthless, that is a sign that you could potentially benefit from putting your ego to the side. Sometimes ‘the grind’ and a constant need to be the best and stand out in a dramatic way can actually negatively affect our self-worth.
Once you allow yourself to come to grips with the fact that you are an element of the world, not the entire world, you can begin to pick apart any symptoms of depression that stem from ego. It is essential to understand that it takes a great deal of confidence and self-awareness to admit when having an ego has been a part of your problem.
Specifically, in professional settings, it can be easy to feel that it is your job to carry yourself in a way that gets you noticed. While this is not entirely untrue, do not allow yourself to confuse confidence and arrogance. In many regards, it is the person who stays positive without ego that gets noticed.
Reflect on Your Accomplishments
Much like a gratitude journal can help remind you of the positive emotions that you are thankful for and what you are planning to work towards, reflecting on your accomplishments can also combat negative feelings by giving you a tangible account of things you have done that add value to your life and others. When you begin this practice, allow yourself to examine the full scope of your life and give credit to personal achievements of all sizes and sectors.
There are no limits or minimums as to what constitutes an accomplishment; the definition is personal to you and pertains to goals that you set for yourself. Specifically, when you find yourself in a period of depression, an accomplishment can simply mean changing from your pajamas to regular clothes. Marking down even the slightest of accomplishments can help show your growth and make you feel like progress is being made to the point that you are motivated to keep working and keep achieving.
Run Your Own Race
Comparison is a progress killer. It is natural to observe those around you, but it can be unhealthy when you use those observations as benchmarks for your own life. Your sense of happiness should not be hinged upon what is giving your peers that same feeling. When you waste your resources on trying to keep up, you are eventually going to burn yourself out.
Not to mention that failing to align with whomever you decided to attempt to run parallel to is something that makes you feel anxiety and like you are constantly struggling. Not having the ability to make you feel that you are settled in your position and with your own emotions can cause undue stress and a sense of worthlessness because in your mind, you will never measure up.
Instead, decide to run your own race and believe that you are worthy of accomplishing great things for yourself. It may take you longer than someone else and you may take a different direction but it is your journey and when you begin to remain in your own lane, you no longer feel unworthy of finishing your own race.
Know What You Are Up Against
There is a balance between being upfront with yourself about your feelings, and if they are a symptom of depression, and telling yourself you are beyond professional help and succumbing to that negative self-talk. A frank snapshot of your mental state is the best way to set a plan of action to improve your life. Balance is truly key here. Allow yourself to feel your feelings and the gravity of the symptoms but do not give yourself permission to jump down a rabbit hole and spiral into feeling worthless.
One major key here is the acceptance that this is a process and it will take you time. We would all love a quick fix and to be able to blink and magically be relieved of symptoms of worthlessness, but slow and steady wins the race. Working towards a lasting positive mindset is a test in both patience and resilience. The sense of accomplishment that you will inherently feel from each small step forward is what will build a permanent foundation for you to ultimately feel better.
Examine Your Personal Relationships
Instead of purely focusing on whether your feelings of worthlessness may be stemming from the inside, consider the possibility that they may also be coming from external sources. Who we choose to surround ourselves with has a direct impact on how we evaluate our self-worth. It is not uncommon for people to allow someone else to affect their mental stability and accelerate a feeling of worthlessness in ways that otherwise might not have been provoked.
This might be something to work through in professional treatment and under the guidance of a therapist that specializes in interpersonal relationships. Taking a deep dive into disorders that might stem from childhood, for example, can be painful and difficult, but try to remain positive that this period of discomfort is what will launch you to the other side, where your feelings of worthlessness no longer exist.
Relationships that we hold with family can be incredibly complicated. There are elements of obligation and feeling that you owe these people your peace because of your family bond, but you do not owe anyone that, for any reason. Things that happened in your past that you believe are contributing to your lack of self-esteem, or overall feeling of worthlessness should not be pushed to the side simply because they are rooted in family.
Parents have an incredibly difficult job, but that does not mean that they are off the hook for the consequences of their choices. You can have gratitude for their efforts and acknowledge the good that you experienced under their care. Still, if their choices created an environment that was ultimately unhealthy, you should consider removing yourself from it or at the very least creating and asserting boundaries.
Keep Change in Mind
Major life changes are going to have an impact on your emotions, whether those changes are positive or negative. Think about if your feelings of worthlessness are directly related to a recent change like a divorce, job loss, or financial strain. These are all high-stress life occurrences that can cause anxiety in people who are otherwise strong mentally. Mental health will have its ups and downs; that is just a fact of life.
One thing to keep in mind here is that if you are experiencing situational feelings of worthlessness, then same as there was a starting off point, you can be assured that there is an endpoint as well. Seek support from individuals who have previously walked this path themselves and consider their experiences as you determine your own road to once again feeling capable and worthy.
Don’t forget that you don’t need to live a life where you feel unworthy or live with a sense that you are not good enough or don’t belong. You have been created uniquely and there is no one like you. Work on implementing the suggestions provided in this article and you will begin to see your life turn around. You are worthy and your peace of mind is always worth fighting for.