Usually, when you are feeling miserable, you have good reason. Events in life, such as unexpected circumstances, loss, relationships turning out badly, finding that circumstances are worse than you expected and being separated from loved ones can cause anguish. At times, it can feel like you barely pick yourself up from one emotional crisis when the next hits.

As much as we’d like to avoid these painful situations, they are a part of life.  It’s impossible to fully anticipate, plan for or avoid loss and other circumstances that can make you feel miserable.

Because you can’t eliminate these situations from your life, it’s important to ensure that you also have positive life experiences to offset the intense negative emotions that can severely impact on your emotional well-being.

When painful events happen, it often feels like happiness is out of our control. But, you can cause positive experiences and emotions in your life as well.  Feeling better, even briefly, won’t eradicate feelings of misery, but it will keep your emotions on a more even keel and help you begin to feel better.

  • Do one or two enjoyable things today. Don’t take lightly the impact a pleasant experience cab have on your mood and emotions. Today, schedule at least one thing that makes you feel good. It could be anything: a phone call with a friend, exercising, eating food you love, watching a movie, taking a walk, reading a book or magazine, or being alone.
  •  Search for Positive Circumstances. When you are miserable, your focus narrows.  The result is that you keep noticing only those things around you that contribute to your misery.  When you’re miserable, you are much more likely to notice small irritations, times when you don’t get what you’d hoped for or small injustices.  To balance this narrowed attention, set aside a portion of the day to hunt for those moments when someone does something nice for you or you share a special experience with someone.  Notice when you are offered something you want or need or achieve a goal after hard work. Make a list of what your grateful for or remember what happened today or this week that made you smile, laugh or gave you a sense of calm.

When you have good reason to feel bad, it’s hard to make positive changes. However, it’s important to ensure that positive life experiences balance out stressful and overwhelming times.

You can find more strategies to improve how you feel in my new book, The Stress Response and by clicking here to sign up for more of my tips and podcasts using DBT strategies to improve how you feel.

Girl with book photo available from Shutterstock.



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    Last reviewed: 27 Mar 2012

APA Reference
Matta, C. (2012). Stop Feeling Miserable Now!. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 31, 2015, from



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