Are you a 20 or 30-something-year-old and finding yourself questioning your career choice? Are you feeling doubtful or insecure about yourself, relationships, or life choices in general? If you’ve been answering yes to these questions, chances are, you may be experiencing a quarter-life crisis.
Linkedin conducted a survey with 2,000 millennials and found that about 72% have experienced this period of self-doubt and insecurity. They went on further to discuss factors triggering this crisis. What they found was many people are anxious about finding a career they are passionate about. Many struggle with comparing themselves to their same-aged successful peers. They might also feel pressured to meet certain milestones, such as purchasing their first home, getting married, starting a family, etc.
At times, solutions to resolving the anxiety that comes with the quarter-life crisis seem rather simple–change jobs, make that large purchase, go on that date. At other times, the resolutions aren’t so clear, and many people find themselves grappling with difficult choices. The good news is, you’re not alone. Here are some tips on how to navigate through the quarter-life crisis.
As humans, we are constantly evolving and getting used to change–that’s just how our brain works. It’s natural for us to take for granted things we have now that once seemed far-fetched or unachievable. And, we can quickly find ourselves on a hedonic treadmill, leaving us feeling empty, because nothing seems to make us happy. A helpful way to combat this is to practice daily gratitude. Make a list, verbalize aloud, or even share with others, things that you’re grateful for. Often times, we can forget the great things in our lives and tend to focus on the negatives.
Anything from being grateful that the weather is nice, to the smell of your first cup of coffee, or getting a warm greeting in the morning from your pet, can be a great way to boost your mood. Also, you can spread gratitude and positivity by asking others around you to consider one or two things they are grateful for today.
As humans, our minds are always going and we are constantly, problem-solving, planning, worrying, or reflecting. This can turn into a mental ping-pong game between jumping to regrets of the past and/or worrying about what the next second of the future will bring. In doing this, we often miss a lot of important life data going on in the present moment. There are so many sweet, grateful, and rich moments that occur within a split second in the present moment, and if our minds are elsewhere, we can miss them.
Adjust Your Expectations
Often times, we may not be aware of the expectations we have for ourselves and others around us. It can be helpful to take a hard look at what we expect from ourselves, given our current life circumstances, and determine if some of our expectations need a temporary and/or permanent adjustment. It can feel very defeating and hopeless if the bar that we have to reach seems unattainable. So, reevaluate your expectations, given your current life circumstances, and see if you can set realistic, manageable, and finite goals to help boost your mood.
Seek Help from Others
We tend to assume that no one else could possibly understand what we are going through, or, we assume that they would harshly criticize us for our struggle. The truth is, you are more likely to find similarities between you and your peers–regardless of age–than differences. Talking about your anxieties to a trusted friend or confidant can help you create cognitive distance from them. It allows you to see them for what they are. Most people find that talking about their difficulties with at least one other person provides them with a sense of relief and a feeling of validation. Many people will often seek brief therapy for help with their quarter-life crisis. It’s important to realize that you’re not alone. Whether you turn to a friend or a mental health professional, you’re likely to feel better when you open up about difficulties that you’re facing.