Young Adult Mental Health & Substance Abuse Treatment Centers

‘I Hate My Life’: 10 Ways to Start Feeling Better

Reading Time: 8 minutes

We’ve all been stuck in a low mood at one point or another. Our energy plummets, we lose interest in the outside world, and accomplishing the smallest things feels like a challenge. But if you find yourself wondering, “Why do I hate my life?” day in and day out, it could be a sign of deeper mental health struggles.

It’s normal to struggle with difficult emotions from time to time. However, when you’re in that low place, it may seem like you’re in the dark end of a tunnel, with no way to reach the light. If you truly find yourself hating your life, it’s essential to reach out for help and start making positive changes. 

Key Takeaways

  • Thoughts of “I hate my life” may stem from untreated mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, trauma, and loneliness.
  • Feelings of hating your life are natural and okay sometimes. Accepting where you are and how you feel is the first step toward making positive changes. 
  • To start feeling better, prioritize developing self-compassion, healthy relationships, and emotional resilience, as well as treating underlying mental health issues. 
  • Residential or outpatient treatment programs can help young adults find healing, hope, and a better outlook on life. 

‘Why Do I Hate My Life?’ Reasons Young Adults Might Be Struggling

“I hate my life” is often a common refrain for young adults. And the source of those feelings can range from having a hard day at work or school, all the way to underlying depression or untreated trauma. 

Reasons why young adults struggle vary widely. But the statistics are harrowing: More than 1 in 10 young adults ages 18­–25 say they have seriously contemplated suicide. And recent research shows that nearly 40 percent of US college students have considered dropping out due to stress and mental health issues.


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Why are so many young adults suffering? Below are some of the causes of distress in this age group.

Underlying Mental Health Issues

Untreated mental health issues like anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder can make a young person’s life feel difficult, lonely, and scary. The symptoms of these issues can make young adults more likely to have thoughts like, “I hate my life and want to die.” If daily annoyances progress to actual suicidal thoughts, young adults need professional support immediately. 

Substance Abuse

Substance abuse or addiction to drugs or alcohol disrupts functioning, impairs the brain, and worsens negative feelings toward life. Moreover, substance abuse is typically triggered by underlying mental health issues that require treatment.

Traumatic Experiences

Childhood trauma rewires the brain, which typically makes people more afraid, angry, and hypervigilant as adults. And if left untreated, trauma creates feelings that can lead to thoughts of “I hate my life.” Young adults might experience current trauma as well, including bad relationships, violence, sexual assault, natural disasters, or grief and loss

Inability to Acknowledge Struggles

Young adults sometimes keep their depression well hidden from others—and even from themselves. Maybe they feel they don’t have any real “reason” to “hate my life” or be depressed, so they push those feelings aside. Or they may feel pressure to look and play the role of the happy-go-lucky, successful daughter, son, friend, partner, or coworker. While it may seem counterintuitive to acknowledge your negative feelings, it’s actually more harmful to ignore them. Shoving your difficulties under the rug won’t get you the treatment you may need. And it may end up exacerbating your problems in the long run.

Negativity Bias

The negativity bias theorizes that people are more likely to pay attention and learn from negative emotions vs. positive emotions. This bias likely developed in part to help us survive threats we encountered. It’s a natural worldview that has been built into human behavior through evolution. But negativity bias, if left unchecked, can inform our beliefs about our abilities and self-worth. It can make us more likely to seek out and believe negative information about ourselves and the world around us.

Comparing Yourself to Others

We live in a world where we are constantly viewing other people’s curated life highlights. Social media in particular plays a role in making you think everyone else’s life is easy and fun, and you are the only one struggling. Comparing yourself to others can make you believe there’s something inherently wrong with you for feeling different things than most people, or for not being able to access the things that everyone else seems to have.

Lack of Self-Compassion

A critical inner voice can wear away at a young adult’s sense of self-worth and make them feel like there’s something wrong with them. True, it’s not easy to cultivate self-compassion when you’re feeing like you hate your life. But a lack of self-compassion can make things worse, because you’re always fighting against yourself. Self-compassion is a skill you can develop and learn to implement, just like any other skill.

Relationship Difficulties

Relationship problems, whether family, platonic, or romantic—impact mental health to an extreme degree. Humans are made for social connection, and if those connections falter, we can feel incredibly alone and isolated. On the other side of the coin, positive and authentic connections are proven to support well-being. 

Failure to Launch

Failure to launch is a term that refers to young adults who feel unmotivated and unable to build a thriving life independent from parents. However, rather than an indication of being “lazy” or “spoiled,” failure to launch typically points to underlying mental health concerns.

Why It’s Okay Sometimes to Feel Like “I Hate My Life”

Although you might feel ashamed for hating your life, it’s important to accept where you are in order to move forward. Sometimes it’s easy to fall into the trap of toxic positivity—trivializing your pain and acting as if you’re okay when you’re not. But having the courage to accept yourself and your experiences, just as they are, is more helpful than pretending your problems don’t exist.

Research shows that accepting yourself exactly as you are right now, without judgment, actually lessens negative reactions, feelings, and experiences. From this calmer, more self-compassionate place, you can make wiser decisions about how to move forward and create positive change. 

What to Do if You Hate Your Life: 10 Evidence-Based Strategies

While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer for what to do if you hate your life, there are many evidence-based approaches to help you get started. Yes, some problems are out of your control, but you can control the way you respond to them. If you’re feeling “I don’t like my life,” try these 10 strategies to lift your mood and shift your outlook.

#1: Prioritize Positive Social Connection

A lack of healthy friendships and relationships can make you feel lonely, isolated, and like you don’t belong anywhere. Seeking out healthy, supportive relationships is one of the best ways to improve positive mood and emotions. Learning social skills and ways to connect with others can help you cultivate better social connections. 

#2: Reframe Your Thinking

Focusing on positive emotions isn’t the same as toxic positivity. Toxic positivity involves being inauthentic about your experiences. Focusing on positive emotions emphasizes ways to feel better by cultivating gratitude and optimism. And remember, optimism is a habit. The more you focus on positive emotions, the more likely you are to reduce your negative thoughts and find healthier ways to cope.

#3: Spend Time in Nature

Spending time outside in nature can improve your well-being and outlook on life. It reduces blood pressure, heart rate, physical tension, and stress hormones such as cortisol. 

It’s also linked to cognitive benefits like better memory recall and better sleep. And it improves mood. Exercise and sunshine increase dopamine, the pleasure and reward neurotransmitter in your brain. 

#4: Get Enough Sleep

Poor sleep is linked to marked negative health outcomes. These include both mental and physical health, such as increased blood pressure, cortisol, heart rate, anxiety, irritability, sadness, and anger, among others. Sleep deprivation can negatively impact your relationships, motivation, habits, and productivity as well. In order to get better sleep, try to maintain a regular sleep schedule whenever possible. Get regular exercise and spend time outdoors on a daily basis. 

#5: Make Real Changes When Possible

If your issues are coming from something you have control over, try to make changes in these areas. Sometimes one or two small changes can make a huge difference in mood and well-being. For example, if you’re experiencing burnout or pressure at work or school, talk to your supervisor or academic advisor to see if you can reach some compromises together. If you have a friend who’s draining all your energy and doesn’t feel like a good fit in your life anymore, start to distance yourself from them. 

#6: Practice Self-Compassion

Self-compassion is a skill you can learn to develop. And as it turns out, having self-compassion can improve your mental health. Developing kindness and acceptance for yourself helps you build self-worth, increase positive feelings, and feel more connected with others. 

#7: Limit Social Media

Spending too much time on social media can make you feel depressed, anxious, and lonely. But it’s not your fault: Social media was designed to steal your attention and keep you scrolling. Not only is social media a comparison trap, but the pressure to look good can actually make you feel worse about yourself. And too much screen and app time can result in a process addiction. If you struggle with too much social media use, try a digital detox to give yourself space and reset your time and energy. 

#8: Cultivate Emotional Resilience

Emotional resilience is the ability to navigate, learn from, and bounce back from difficulties and challanges. Building emotional resiliency also means building the belief that you can handle hard emotions and tough situations. The good news is, emotional resilience is a skill you can learn, just like self-compassion. Here are some ways to build resilience.

#9 Notice and Overcome the Inner Critic

Your inner critic is the voice that wants to sabotage everything you do and tell you you’re not good enough. And while it can be very convincing, it’s a voice you don’t have to listen to. Becoming aware of this inner voice is the first step toward overcoming it. Then counter the inner critic by using self-compassion. Silence your inner critic by reminding that you are human, that we all make mistakes, and that you are a good person who is doing your best.

#10: Access Mental Health Support

Getting treatment for anxiety, depression, trauma, substance use disorder, and other mental health issues, can bring joy and hope back into your life. The right treatment could be residential care, an outpatient program, or weekly therapy. All these options will help you learn ways to cope with your experiences, feel less alone, and cultivate resilience. A mental health assessment is the first step in finding the right treatment option. 

When to Seek Treatment

Lifestyle changes are important, but sometimes they’re not enough. If you’re experiencing symptoms of depression, reach out for support. These symptoms include:

  • Sadness that doesn’t seem to end
  • Crying spells
  • Fatigue or low energy
  • Feelings of hopelessness or emptiness
  • Irritability or anger
  • Loss of pleasure from activities that once brought you joy
  • Withdrawal from loved ones
  • Trouble remembering or focusing
  • Suicidal thoughts or ideation
  • Self-harm or thoughts of self-harm

Suicide and suicidal ideation are on the rise, particularly among young adults. If you have thoughts like, “I hate my life and want to die” or “I need help with my life,” reach out for support immediately. 

Treatment at Newport Institute

Newport Institute’s treatment for depression helps young adults struggling with despair and negative feelings to love their life again. Young adult treatment at Newport help people ages 18–35 and their families discover effective coping and problem-solving skills, learn to cultivate strong social connections, and strengthen skills like emotional resilience, self-compassion, and optimism. 

We tailor our treatment to each individual client, with treatment plans that include:

  • Integrated clinical and medical care
  • Individual, family, and group therapy
  • Experiential therapies, including yoga, art, martial arts, and more (depending on location)
  • Life skills training and support with academic and career advancement
  • Resources and tools to build self-worth, confidence, connection, and resilience

Start the healing journey today. Contact us for a free mental health assessment.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why do I hate my life?
  • Is it okay to feel like I hate my life?
  • What to do if I hate my life and want to die?
  • What can I do if I need help with my life?
  • How do you treat a nervous breakdown?

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Mental Health / April 4, 2023