‘What Is Wrong With Me?’ 20 Ways to Overcome These Feelings

Navigating through life’s ups and downs is a common human experience, but sometimes feelings of despair or unease can leave us questioning: “What is wrong with me?”. Such self-doubt, while prevalent, can be debilitating. In Australia, where mental health is a significant public health concern, understanding these feelings and knowing how to address them is crucial. This comprehensive guide aims to assist those grappling with such sentiments, offering insights, backed by research, for Australians and individuals globally.

Why Do We Often Feel “Something’s Wrong?”

Society, peer pressure, personal failures, or even physiological factors can contribute to feelings of inadequacy or disquiet.

  • Comparative Culture: With platforms like Instagram and Facebook, comparing our lives to others becomes second nature, often leading to feelings of inadequacy1.
  • Physiological Causes: Hormonal imbalances or other medical conditions may result in mood fluctuations or chronic feelings of unhappiness2.
  • Past Traumas: Previous traumatic experiences can manifest in feelings of unease or anxiety in the present3.

Understanding the Signs

It’s essential to distinguish between temporary feelings of discontent and more prolonged, persistent feelings, which might indicate deeper issues.

Signs & SymptomsDescription
Prolonged SadnessFeeling low or depressed for extended periods, not linked to specific events.
Social WithdrawalAvoiding social events, preferring isolation.
IrritabilityEasily agitated or angered.
Chronic FatigueConstantly feeling tired, regardless of sleep or rest.
IndecisivenessUnable to make decisions, big or small.
Feelings of WorthlessnessPersistent feelings of inadequacy or hopelessness.

The 20 Ways to Overcome These Feelings

Here are the 20 ways to help you realign and get back on track, backed by research and evidence-based practices.

1. Self-reflection

Taking a moment to reflect on your feelings, actions, and decisions can offer clarity. Journaling or meditation are effective tools to engage in introspection and pinpoint what might be amiss.

2. Seeking Professional Guidance

Psychologists and counsellors can provide insight into behavioural patterns and offer coping strategies. It’s essential to remember that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

3. Setting Clear Goals

By establishing specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals, you can find direction and purpose.

4. Limiting Social Media Intake

Studies have shown that excessive social media use can lead to feelings of inadequacy and anxiety. Setting boundaries can help improve your mental well-being.

5. Physical Activity

Engaging in regular physical exercise has numerous mental health benefits, including reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety.

6. Proper Nutrition

A balanced diet impacts not just physical health but also mental well-being. Consuming nutrient-rich foods can boost cognitive function and mood.

7. Mindfulness and Meditation

Mindfulness practices have been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress. By being present in the moment, you can gain a clearer perspective on your emotions and reactions.

8. Cultivating a Hobby

Dedicating time to a hobby can provide an escape, foster creativity, and offer a sense of achievement.

9. Establishing a Routine

Consistency and structure can provide a sense of normalcy. Establishing a daily routine can ground you and offer predictability in tumultuous times.

10. Sleep Hygiene

Ensuring you receive 7-9 hours of sleep can drastically influence mental and emotional health.

11. Building Strong Social Connections

Humans are inherently social creatures. Building and maintaining robust social connections can ward off feelings of isolation and loneliness.

12. Limiting Alcohol and Drug Intake

While they might offer temporary relief, excessive alcohol and drugs can exacerbate feelings of depression and anxiety.

13. Continuous Learning

Engaging in lifelong learning can boost self-esteem and cognitive function. Taking up a new course or skill can provide a sense of purpose.

14. Accepting Imperfection

Perfection is an unattainable standard. Embracing imperfection and understanding that it’s okay to make mistakes can alleviate self-imposed pressures.

15. Setting Boundaries

Whether in personal relationships or work, setting boundaries is essential to ensure you don’t overextend yourself.

16. Nature Engagement

Spending time in nature has been linked to decreased levels of mental distress, better well-being, and enhanced cognitive function.

17. Avoiding Overcommitment

Taking on too many tasks can lead to burnout. It’s essential to recognize your limits and prioritize self-care.

18. Positive Self-talk

The way you speak to yourself matters. Replacing negative self-talk with positive affirmations can shift your mindset and boost self-esteem.

19. Gratitude Practice

Acknowledging and appreciating the positive aspects of life can uplift spirits and provide a balanced perspective.

20. Seeking Feedback

Sometimes, an external perspective can offer valuable insights. Friends, family, or colleagues can provide constructive feedback to help you understand areas of improvement.

Finding Further Help in Australia and Beyond

For those in Australia:

  • Lifeline: A 24/7 crisis support service offering short-term support for individuals who are overwhelmed.
  • Beyond Blue: Provides resources, including counselling services, for mental health challenges.


  • World Health Organisation: Offers a comprehensive list of mental health resources for various countries.
  • International Crisis Helplines: Many countries have helplines that offer immediate assistance.


Feeling out of sorts is a common human experience. These 20 ways provide a roadmap to understanding, addressing, and navigating such feelings. Whether you’re in Australia or elsewhere, remember that you’re not alone in this journey, and numerous resources are available to help.


  1. Moore, A., & Malinowski, P. (2009). Meditation, mindfulness and cognitive flexibility. Consciousness and cognition, 18(1), 176-186.
  2. Australian Psychological Society
  3. Doran, G. T. (1981). There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management’s goals and objectives. Management Review, 70(11), 35-36.
  4. Primack, B. A., Shensa, A., Sidani, J. E., Whaite, E. O., Lin, L. Y., Rosen, D., … & Quesnel, V. (2017). Social media use and perceived social isolation among young adults in the US. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 53(1), 1-8.
  5. Rebar, A. L., Stanton, R., Geard, D., Short, C., Duncan, M. J., & Vandelanotte, C. (2015). A meta-meta-analysis of the effect of physical activity on depression and anxiety in non-clinical adult populations. Health psychology review, 9(3), 366-378.
  6. Jacka, F. N., O’Neil, A., Opie, R., Itsiopoulos, C., Cotton, S., Mohebbi, M., … & Castle, D. (2017). A randomised controlled trial of dietary improvement for adults with major depression (the ‘SMILES’trial). BMC medicine, 15(1), 1-13.
  7. Keng, S. L., Smoski, M. J., & Robins, C. J.