What to Do When You Feel Like You Can't Do Anything Right

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If you've ever felt like you can't do anything right, you might think you're the only one who has experienced that feeling. The truth, though, is that it's perfectly common to feel this way, and it happens to most of us at one time or another.

In a world where so much of how we experience other people is in the digital world, it's easy to forget that the version we view of our friends, colleagues, and loved ones is the one they want us to see. Most people share photos and stories about the good times in their lives. And most do not share about when they're having a hard time in life.

There are different reasons why you might experience this feeling, and many assorted actions you can take to help alleviate it. Read on to learn why you might be feeling this way, and how to turn things around in your mind.

Why You Feel Like You Can't Do Anything Right

There are endless reasons why you might experience the thoughts and feelings that nothing you do in life is right; these are some of the most common reasons.

Stress

It's a common motif in our culture, especially since a pandemic began years ago. Stress makes life feel overwhelming, and it can impact our ability to think clearly. If you're feeling nervous, worried, anxious, or depressed, and you don't have a chronic condition involving those feelings, chances are that you're stressed. Fortunately, you can learn how to manage stress.

Overwhelm

When we have a lot going on in life, we might feel overwhelmed. And when you're overwhelmed, it can be quite difficult to see clearly—just like when you're stressed. Because we have all been through so much in recent years, sometimes little things overwhelm us these days.

It might feel like it doesn't make sense to you that a simple task or project feels like too much, but it's important to understand that our brains, nervous systems, and hearts have really been through the wringer since 2020.

When you're feeling overwhelmed, your mind can slip into a tricky pattern where it feels like you aren't doing anything right.

Self-Worth

We all have to be our own biggest champions in life. That's because having good self-esteem may boost your happiness.

Having high self-esteem doesn't mean that you think you do everything right all the time, but it does means that you think you're a person who is capable of doing things right.

Low self-esteem manifests in different ways, such as not feeling in control of life, having a hard time asking for help, being afraid of failure, not having good boundaries, and not speaking kindly to yourself.

Boosting your self-esteem can help you feel like you can do things right in life after all.

How to Cope With Feeling Like You Never Do Anything Right

While it's normal to sometimes feel like you can't do anything right, that doesn't mean you have to just live with the feeling. Instead, there are a lot of different actions you can take that can help quell this notion and put you back on a positive path in your mind.

Let Yourself Feel This Way

Running away from our problems never makes them go away, and running away from our feelings doesn't allow us to move through them. Sometimes, all you have to do to get past a feeling is stop trying to fight it.

When you're feeling like you can't do anything right, take a moment and just let yourself feel that. Once you're feeling a little calmer, try to delve deeper into where the feeling is coming from. This can lead you to understand if there is a large issue at play that you need to deal with.

Prove Yourself Wrong By Reviewing What You've Done Right

This simple task lets you know you're wrong about never doing anything right. In a journal, on your phone, or in a computer document, make a list of things you've accomplished, succeeded at, or done well at in life. It doesn't have to be complicated!

Were you a good babysitter for a younger sibling at one time? Did you graduate from high school or college? Have you made a friend laugh recently? All those are things you've done right.

Journaling is useful for stress management. It also is a way to visualize that you have, in fact, done many things right in life.

Speak to Yourself the Way You Speak to Others

Positive self-talk can get you through tough situations, and can also improve your self-esteem. When you're feeling like you can't do anything right, turn the table on yourself and imagine a friend or loved one saying that to you. What would you say to them? Chances are, you certainly wouldn't agree!

Instead, you'd point out everything you've seen them do right. You'd tell them they are a great person, worthy of thinking highly of themself.

When it's hard to speak kindly to ourselves, a way to work around that is to pretend we're speaking to someone else.

Go for a Walk

Not only does walking reduce stress and improve your health, but a change of environment can also help you get out of your negative mind space.

Going for a walk is a great way to clear your head of negative thoughts like that you can't do anything right.

Stop and smell the flowers, feel the sunshine on your arms, notice the breeze against your face, or say "hi" to a neighbor as you pass them. As you walk, let your thoughts wander away from the idea that you can't do anything right. When you get home, you just might feel a bit better.

Talk to a Friend Or Loved One

Holding your feelings inside isn't conducive to letting them go or, even better, helping them shift into more positive feelings. Talking to others and having connections is vital to human happiness, so even if you're feeling like you don't want to share about this issue, you'll probably feel better once you do.

If it seems like there just isn't anyone to talk to, follow these guidelines to get started making and enhancing the human connections in your life.

If you want to talk to someone about this feeling but you're worried, nervous, or embarrassed, you can always text or email first. Asking a friend or loved one if they have the emotional availability to help you work through a difficult feeling is a great way to practice boundaries, and if they say "yes," you'll likely feel safer discussing it, knowing that they have the emotional space held for you.

Practice Self-Care

Self-care is a great stress reliever, and it also helps you feel more positively about yourself. Self-care is anything you do for yourself that makes you feel good. It can be physical, such as taking a bath, or emotional, like laying down and listening to relaxing music.

Do a Good Deed

Science has proven that performing kind acts for others helps us feel better ourselves. It's called prosocial behavior, and even if you don't necessarily understand why helping others will make you feel better, know that it does.

Acts of kindness toward others aid our emotional well-being, and when you're feeling more positively emotionally, chances are you'll realize you do plenty of things in life right.

Additionally, a kind act is also something you did right! Everyone wins when you practice being charitable toward other people.

Take a Break

It's not a failure in life if you just need a break. We all need breaks, and we all benefit from taking them! Taking a break reduces stress, makes us more productive overall and clears our heads.

That last benefit is key when you're feeling like you can't do anything right. Taking a break doesn't need to be complicated, and there isn't any specific task you have to perform for it to count. Just pause, ask yourself if you'd like to take a few minutes off, and see where that leads you. If it leads you straight to the couch, that's totally fine! Taking a break is supposed to be unproductive.

A Word From Verywell

Feeling that you can't do anything right happens, but there's no need to get stuck in that feeling. With the above tools, you have the power to change that mindset. Try one of the suggested actions so that you can soon realize that, in fact, you do many things right in life.

2 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Baumeister RF, Campbell JD, Krueger JI, Vohs KD. Does High Self-Esteem Cause Better Performance, Interpersonal Success, Happiness, or Healthier Lifestyles? Psychological Science in the Public Interest. 2003;4(1):1-44. doi:10.1111/1529-1006.01431

  2. Lai W, Yang Z, Mao Y, Zhang Q, Chen H, Ma J. When do good deeds lead to good feelings? Eudaimonic orientation moderates the happiness benefits of prosocial behavior. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Jun 6;17(11):E4053.

By Ariane Resnick, CNC
Ariane Resnick, CNC is a mental health writer, certified nutritionist, and wellness author who advocates for accessibility and inclusivity.