If you feel worthless, you feel insignificant. Sometimes, these feelings can overlap with signs and symptoms of other mental health issues like depression. There are many reasons why you may feel worthless, including situational triggers, recent trauma, history of abuse or neglect, and long periods of low self-esteem. Effectively coping with these feelings of worthlessness may include being kinder to yourself, keeping a journal, and work with a therapist address negative thoughts.
9 Tips to Overcome Feeling Worthless
Fortunately, there are ways to support yourself and reduce these feelings of worthlessness so you can have a more compassionate inner monologue. If you feel worthless, try exercising your body and mind. Other ways to cope include being creative, getting out into nature, and talking to a therapist.
Here are nine tips to overcome feelings of worthlessness:
1. Practice Yoga
Yoga lets people express emotions through their body. In general, there are many benefits to exercising, but yoga takes it further with a goal of finding balance. When finding balance and an emotional equilibrium are at the center of your mind, it’s easier to recognize your worth.
2. Read About Others Who Have Overcome Challenges
When you internalize your feelings, it can be hard to distinguish between what’s real and what’s the result of prolonged negative feedback. Shame makes it hard to accept your own positive attributes, but reading books about overcoming adversity, even when it’s internal, can be empowering. When you experience stories other than your own, it’s validating. It can give you hope for something better.
3. Practice Self-Compassion
According to Dr. Howard, “To stop feeling worthless you need to develop a healthy relationship with yourself the way you would anyone else. Relate to yourself with compassion first and foremost and see if you can feel that in your heart. You may have to imagine yourself as a child to get in touch with how innately worthy and valuable you are. It will take work, time, and repetition to be a loving presence for yourself the way your parents and others should have growing up, but you definitely can stop feeling worthless if you are willing to do that for yourself.”
Meditation when you’re feeling low can help you slow down, process emotions differently, and react in a way that helps your own personal cause. It can also help you be more mindful and remember to speak to yourself with kindness and grace, even on the hard days.1
5. Practice Mindfulness
Even beginners will find mindfulness can teach you to embrace finding your inner voice and let it help guide you. Being mindful means being in the most conscious state of yourself. This is when you’re most self-aware and accepting.
6. Keep a Journal
Writing down your thoughts and reading them aloud can help you realize how you really feel. Journaling prompts focused on mental health can help you focus on identifying negative thought patterns and exploring where they come from and why.
7. Creative Therapies
Channeling emotions into art can be rewarding. Whether that art involves paint, music, or dance, it reminds you that there is beauty in all stories. It helps you see yourself through a different lens and recognize both the positive attributes and the imperfections. Creative therapies help you cultivate self-love and strength in the face of inner adversity.2
8. Nature Walks
There is a lot of research suggesting that spending time in nature helps reduce feelings of anxiety, depression, stress, and other mental health issues. Nature has a way of improving the mood. There is a strong connection between the time spent in nature and overall mental wellness.
9. Talk to a Therapist
Getting objective feedback and guidance from a professional is always going to be helpful to address any emotional distress you may be facing. Healing takes time and having someone objective on your team may be exactly what you need to change your inner critic’s voice.3
Why Do I Feel Worthless?
Many factors contribute to feelings of worthlessness. These feelings may come from the way you were raised, childhood trauma, past experiences, or underlying mental health concerns.
Common reasons people feel worthless include:
- Mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Relationship trauma such as hostile work environments or divorce
- Childhood trauma caused by maltreatment, abuse, or neglect
- High stress situations combined with poor coping mechanisms
“It is extremely common to feel worthless—it is normal and you definitely aren’t alone,” says Charlotte Howard, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist & Certified Group Psychotherapist. “However, it is only normal because so many people have repetitive painful experiences during childhood of not feeling good enough, or of being treated as though they don’t matter that much by their parents.”
When Feeling Worthless May Be a Sign of Depression
It’s possible that long-term feelings of worthlessness are linked with underlying mental health issues like depression. Feeling worthless is a common symptom of depression and other mood disorders. Accompanying symptoms may include withdrawal from usual activities, isolation, and feelings of hopelessness, shame, and guilt.
Types of Therapy to Treat Feeling Worthless
The best type of therapy modality for treating feelings of worthlessness depends on the individual. If you’re considering therapy, you might start by exploring narrative therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT):
- Narrative therapy helps individuals own and take control of their story by using empowering language. It helps individuals remain the leader in their life and supports self-determination.4
- In CBT for depression and other mood disorders, the therapist facilitates dialogue and engages you to identify negative thought patterns that impact your behavior and emotions. By getting to the root of the thought, this common form of therapy empowers you to reshape your experience.
How to Find a Therapist
One way to find a therapist is through word-of-mouth. Ask for recommendations from close friends and family members, but keep in mind, everyone is different. If, after talking to the recommended therapist, you don’t feel like they’re a match, don’t get discouraged. Try using a therapist directory to locate someone in the right area with the appropriate expertise.
You can also ask your physician for recommendations. This sets them up to collaborate on treatment and potentially manage any medication. If you don’t have a primary care physician, locate a mental health provider from your in-network list of counselors. This information should be on the back of your insurance card. If not, call your insurance company about mental health coverage and get a list of in-network providers.
Copays and coverage of treatment will depend on whether the provider you choose is in-network or out-of-network. It isn’t uncommon to have a copay, even with an in-network provider; however, many providers offer a sliding scale payment model. Be sure to ask what therapy will cost so you feel confident about affording treatment.
Final Thoughts on Feeling Worthless
Remember, if you feel worthless, you’re not alone; a lot of people feel this way. There are ways to move forward and live a happy life. If you need immediate help for suicidal ideation, call a friend or family member who you trust, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255), or 9-1-1. If you can’t make a call, go to the nearest emergency room or inpatient psychiatric hospital.
Infographics About Feelings of Worthlessness