13 Ways To Overcome Feeling Defeated And Discouraged (2024)

No matter what you do, things are not working out. You feel your energy is done, you’re out of options and are too deep in trouble.

You feel defeated.

Well, you’re not alone in this mate, I’ve been there too. And to help you crush this, I bring you the tactics for moving past feeling defeated for more victories and peace in your life.

Let’s dive in!

1. Accept and Feel the Emotions

Look, I get it. You’re feeling defeated and it can sometimes make you think you’re weak. You may feel ashamed to let anyone know to the extent of suppressing your emotions.

But that’s the wrong move. Scientists reveal that those who suppress their emotions instead of accepting them end up strengthening the negative emotions to the extent of developing a mental illness. However, those who accept them increase their chances of dealing with them proactively.

Therefore, the first step is to accept the feelings of defeat, sadness, loss, discouragement, and disappointment – you name it.

Say “I feel…” and give the emotions you’re experiencing a label. And instead of distracting yourself from your feelings, sit still and feel it all.

If you usually eat ice cream while crying – go for it. You like going fishing to feel safe feeling your emotions – take a break from your routine and go. Whatever works for you, do it.

You’re an emotional creature deserving of time and space to be just that.

2. Distance Yourself From the Situation to Think

Feeling Defeated
Image by Holger Langmaier from Pixabay

If you can get away from the situation causing you to feel defeated, do it. 

Whether you’ll take an hour break from your responsibilities, go to a place far away from your normal life setup, or go up to the hills near you to contemplate, take your time off doing and just think.


See, when you’re still caught up in your normal routine, there are things you can’t normally see which can help you solve this situation making you defeated. They’re known as your “blindspots.”

But go to the hills and simply contemplate your situation from an outside point of view. Or take a break from the office to analyze your team situation without the pressures of work. Or simply take a break from your relationship and reassess what you could be missing.

More often than not, people get answers when they get away from their problems. 

Your mind gets freer to explore wild solutions. Your body gets less tensed from the immediate pressures you face in the situation. You get detached from the unnecessary ideas you hold while around certain people. And then bam!

Your AHA moment arrives.

3. Clarify Your Situation Through Paper

Writing is widely advised in psychological counseling because it’s highly therapeutic. While you may not talk to a person regarding your issues, the paper provides a venting environment where you can put your most unfiltered thoughts unashamedly. This releases stress.

But writing does more than that.

While thinking about your situation can give you a glimpse of what the reality is, writing it all down puts all the fragments before your eyes and helps you understand it more clearly.

While in your mind you might have made a big deal about things, on paper it shows how simple your issue is. And this creates hope. And with hope, nothing is impossible!

4. Imagine Alternative Solutions to Your Situation

While all the above tactics help you overcome feeling defeated, a strong feeling of relief starts when you feel you’re moving to a solution.

So let’s start brainstorming. You may feel stuck in a rut but the only direction is forward. But the direction you were thinking of going with isn’t the only one. At least not in the exact same way you’ve been handling it.

Get creative. Here are some ideas to get you thinking:

  • Ask a child how they’d deal with the situation. Even if you can’t ask a child, think like one. What ideas would they give?
  • Ask yourself, “What would I do differently if I were, starting from scratch?”
  • Simplify your complex problem for a child. Remember as Richard Feynman the Physics Nobel Laureate said, “If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t really understand it.” 
  • Create a mindmap
  • Come up with silly ideas

You’re not as helpless as you think. By the time you go through these exercises for thinking outside the box, you’d have gotten the perfect idea for overcoming feeling defeated.

Related: Easy Ways Out Of “I Can’t Do Anything Right” Thinking

5. Set up a Routine for Boosting a Winning Mindset

Have you been feeling defeated for a while? Even if you started feeling defeated not long ago, this may be a warning that your winning mindset has worn out.

A winning mindset, whether you’ve ever labeled it that way before is a strong belief that you have what it takes plus there are enough opportunities and resources to get what you want. This mindset is what gets players up even when they’ve fallen badly and were feeling defeated.

But when you experience several setbacks, this mindset may be derailed which increases overwhelm, discouragement, disappointment, and other feelings related to defeat. That’s why you have to rouse that winner in you.

Here’s how to build a winning mindset routine:

  • Start your day by defining “why” you’re doing what you do
  • Plan out your day to help focus on priorities and ward off distractions
  • Act out your plan giving it your very best
  • Surround yourself with winners whether online or offline
  • Make a habit of being thankful
  • Believe in yourself
  • Accept failure as part of the process and devise a way to move on quickly

Focus on these few steps to set your foundation for a winning mentality that sees defeat for what it is.

6. Understand That the Feelings and the Situation Itself Will Pass

Feel Defeated
Photo by Rondell Melling of Pixabay

Lost your job? Soon you’ll stop feeling hurt and you’ll move on to another job.

Feeling as if your life is stagnant no matter how hard you push forward?  It’s okay to feel defeated but this too, this moment of stagnation shall end.

Feeling overwhelmed lately? As if the to-do list at work and home have all become too much than you can handle? It’s all going to slow down and the overwhelm will end too.

See, the good thing about accepting and allowing yourself to feel the emotions tied to feeling defeated is that it’ll all pass. While knowing about this may seem trivial, it is extremely crucial for moving past failures.

So before moving on, remember:

 “Everybody goes through difficult times, but it is those who push through those difficult times who will eventually become successful in life. Don’t give up, because this too shall pass.” – Jeanette Coron

7. Imagine Your Friend Was in Your Situation

Self-compassion is one of the BEST Ways To Overcome Defeatist Attitude. It not only spreads positivity within oneself but also pumps belief in oneself enough to get back up from defeat.

Think about it: what would you do if your friend was feeling the same way you’re feeling?

Let me guess:

  • You’d tell them “It’s okay, everyone makes mistakes.” Rather than judging them for a wrong they did, you’d probably console them, reminding them of their human nature to make blunders just like everyone else. That they’re not total idiots for not knowing to do better.
  • You’d offer a listening ear for them to vent. You know your friend needs to get things off their chest and you’re willing to just sit and urge them on since it would make them feel better.
  • You’d avoid using should’ve since it’ll give them regrets. Of course, the milk is already spilled and there’s no time machine to help reverse situations so you don’t use should’ve since it only brings suffering.
  • You accept them for them and don’t force them to grieve “normally.” No matter how weird your friend’s strategies of grieving are, you’re willing to let them use them and even tag along because it helps them feel better.

See all these things, you can do for yourself.

I’ve gone into depth to show you the specific things you do for your friend that you can not forget doing for yourself. It really helps.

8. Surround Yourself With Optimists

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

To overcome feeling defeated, you need to hang around people who are feeling the opposite. People whose positivity helps pick you up from the rut you’re in so you can move forward.

But in this case, I don’t mean toxic positivity where someone doesn’t acknowledge your struggle and covers it up with platitudes, no. I mean people who are there to sit with you through your struggle while giving you their hand so you may rise.

This type of support you can find offline if you’re lucky to have a proactive circle or online where communities are supporting each other every day to tackle lives with confidence.

From Facebook groups to Youtube spaces, all you need is to search out the struggle making you feel defeated or the type of lifestyle you follow and you’ll get a nice supportive community.

9. Talk Reality

If you’re feeling defeated, you might find yourself telling yourself:

“I’m such a loser, I can’t do anything right!”

“Now I won’t ever get the life I dreamed of. I’m damned”

“No one loves me since no one has contacted me to know how I’m doing!”

“I feel I’m a bad person. No matter what I do I make others feel bad.”

“I’m such a bad mom I can’t even get my kid to stop crying”

I could go on and on but as you can see, these statements reveal negative self-talk in the form of catastrophizing (assuming the worst outcome although it isn’t true), overgeneralization (taking one mistake and branding oneself a failure in all), black and white thinking (where it’s all or nothing without considering and in-between explanation) e.t.c.

All these ways of thinking are not only wrong but also an escape from reality. This messes you up further as you beat yourself up to more and more into feelings of defeat.

Instead of wasting time with such statements, start challenging your thoughts, correcting outrageous claims you make in your mind every time. The more you talk about reality, the more you’re willing to face it and the faster you overcome feeling defeated.

Read more on How to Stop Self-Sabotaging Behaviors to get deeper on this point.

10. Recall the Amazing Things You’ve Done So Far

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

When feeling defeated, it’s easy to think you’re just not good at anything which discourages you even more. But this changes when you remind yourself of your achievements.

Of course, there’s a time you were really nailing your life vision. 


  • When you showed someone love and kindness at their weakest moments, by forgiving them, when you listened to someone who needed their story heard, helped someone who couldn’t give anything in return, appreciated someone, or cared for your family.
  • When you worked on something hard to the end
  • When you chose to do something scary
  • When you won a contest at school

The trick here is to focus on comparing yourself to the past you. You look behind you and see how far you’ve come, be grateful, and move forward to become more.

11. Do What You Said You’ll Do

If you’re feeling defeated and yet have stuff to do, it’s best to just do what you said you’ll do.

Commitment to your promises whether to oneself or to others has a way of increasing our confidence and happiness.

So if you’re feeling defeated and yet have a huge stack of responsibilities you need to fulfill, then focus on the next thing you wanted to do. The motto here is:

Just do it.

12. Know You’re Not Alone

Photo by THIS IS ZUN from Pexels

When feeling defeated, it’s common to think you’re the only one experiencing such desolate feelings. This may bring more discouragement. Moreover, it may feel like you’re on a dead end as far as solutions are concerned.

But that’s not true.

Feeling defeated is common for all humans/ It’s a feeling everyone gets in their lifetime because we’re all imperfect and life gets tough sometimes. It doesn’t mean someone is weak and in fact, the more intense the feeling, the more the accumulation of strength should the person choose to rise.

So rise my friend, you’re not alone in this. And just like the rest of humanity before you, you too shall overcome.

13. Talk to a Counsellor/Coach

Do you feel defeated most of the time? Or are you struggling to declutter your life?

You’ve tried developing self-compassion, filled your gratitude journal, tried to break free from the fixed mindset to develop the growth mindset, and in many ways tried moving forward and yet don’t feel you’re moving in the right direction. It’s okay.

Then you need a professional to help you clarify your goals and the way to get there. You might be having a few blindspots so a personal growth success coach can help you stop feeling overwhelmed with the right personalized strategy.

Also, you might be having a mental health issue like depression which makes you feel defeated all the time. In such cases, you need to see a counselor ASAP to help you get on the right track.

If you’re considering this step, check out this piece on Counselor Vs. Coach to determine the one you need.

More on Defeating Feelings of Defeat and Discouragement

Looking to learn more about what feeling defeated is all about? Let’s dive briefly into this section.

What does it mean to feel defeated? Feeling defeated meaning

When you reach the end of the rope, feeling like nothing is going the right and you don’t feel you have the strength of the options to continue, you’re experiencing feeling defeated. Nonetheless, you can choose to reject defeat and do whatever it takes to succeed.

How do you deal with feeling defeated?

To recap the tips mentioned here, you deal with feelings of defeat by first allowing yourself to feel those emotions of disappointment, loss, and defeat. But you don’t remain there. Start checking out alternative solutions, start nourishing your mindset for winning, distance yourself from the discouraging situation to think, and follow through with what you said you’ll do.

When is someone defeated?

Someone is defeated when they fail to win in a competition or when they fail to overcome something negative and it instead overcomes them. For instance, one can be defeated by addiction, laziness, procrastination, or anything they allow to control them instead of them controlling it.

What does defeat feel like?

Overcome Feeling Defeated
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Defeat feels awful. Be it losing a job, a new business failing, or simply life not going the way that seems right – all these things can make someone feel defeated. And if you’re experiencing this, check out this advice on how to move past feeling defeated and lay hold of the future.

Feeling defeated at work

Are you feeling defeated at work? It’s time to self-reflect and find out what really makes you feel that way. Shift your way of working and even consider your career interests in case this is a signal you’re not in the right place. Otherwise, check out these tips for overcoming feeling defeated and change your life.

Feeling defeated in a relationship

If you find yourself getting disappointed way more than succeeding in your efforts to keep a healthy relationship, it’s normal to feel defeated. In such cases, it’s best to bring in a counselor who can help you either with better tactics for saving the relationship or make you realize that the best move is to leave.

Feeling defeated as a mom – Feeling defeated in life

Sometimes everything can go extremely wrong and as a mom, you may feel defeated. Your child may cry nonstop while you have lots of mess to clean up, are tired, are overwhelmed at your giant to-do list, and might possibly sleep at 1 a.m. All these things and more can make you feel defeated with self-doubt regarding your adequacy as a mom. 

But remember, no matter how much you feel defeated as a mom:

  • You are made for this task so you got this
  • Your kids are your own and no one is a better expert at nurturing them
  • Sometimes you won’t do your chores perfectly and that’s okay
  • Your happiness is watching your kids grow into amazing adults
  • You’re beautiful even if you stink from breastfeeding and burps
  • It’s okay to cry your overwhelm out
  • You’re good at this no matter what some days look like
  • Tomorrow is a new day to do your best again

How to get over feeling defeated – What to do when feeling defeated

Here’s a recap of the insights we explained above:

  1. Accept and feel the emotions
  2. Understand that the feelings and the situation itself will pass
  3. Imagine alternative solutions to your situation
  4. Imagine your friend was in your situation
  5. Reach out to an uplifting friend
  6. Set up a routine for boosting a winning mindset
  7. Distance yourself from the situation to think
  8. Clarify your situation through paper
  9. Recall the amazing things you’ve done so far
  10. Do what you said you’ll do
  11. Talk Reality
  12. Know you’re not alone
  13. Talk to a counselor

Finally Defeating Feeling Defeated

Ready to rise again? Well, I hope you enjoyed reading this article. Remember, you’re not alone, you got this!

What made you feel defeated? And which strategies are you looking forward to working on in your life? Let’s talk in the comments!

About The Author

Bijan Kholghi is a certified life coach with the Milton Erickson Institute Heidelberg (Germany). He helps clients and couples reach breakthroughs in their lives by changing subconscious patterns. His solution-oriented approach is based on Systemic- and Hypnotherapy.