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Psychologists Find Quarter-Life Crisis Is the Hardest One in Our Lives

Psychologists Find Quarter-Life Crisis Is the Hardest One in Our Lives

We so often hear of the “mid-life crisis” — in TV shows, in jest, and in real life. But what about the lesser talked about crisis — the one of our mid twenties, our quarter life? Some may know it as the “saturn return”; others simply as the realization of turning 30 and that we are not “kids” anymore. But psychologists are saying that this particular crisis may actually be the most profound crisis point of our lives.

According to the Harvard Business Review researchers (as seen in graph below), there was a significant amount of stress that increased among thousands of test studies in their late twenties, or from the age of around 25. And even though the stress levels did keep rising through their 30s and 40s, the time in which those levels increased was significantly shorter than the rapid increase of stress of the quarter-life crisis time.

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    This graph indicates the steep incline of stress as it hits around the 25–34 mark. And although it shows clearly that the stress levels continue to rise before they again fall around the late 50s, the graph indicates that the incline is slower everywhere else but the late 20s.

    Negative Feelings and Wandering Mind

    Negative feelings decrease in your late 30s, signalling that our 30s is when we learn to deal with stress and cope in a positive way. Positive feelings nearly hit absolute bottom at the quarter-life mark, but afterward, they begin to constantly increase. General satisfaction with life also starts low in your 20s but increases from thereon in, leading psychologists to believe that the late twenties is the time to understand how we recognize and deal with our emotions in the best ways.

    The Five Phases of a Quarter-Life Crisis

    According to scientists there are five phases of a quarter-life crisis. These are:

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    Phase 1: Feeling as if you are living your life automatically and are powerless to stop it or regain control. You might feel trapped or unable to know which way to move or how you got where you are.

    Phase 2: A distinct creeping feeling that you want to “get out” or run for the hills and somehow change your life.

    Phase 3: Taking time out suddenly to explore the world, explore yourself, or “find yourself” as they say. Suddenly making flip decisions to leave whatever it is you are doing at that moment and to embark on a journey that helps you understand the crisis better.

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    Phase 4: Putting your life back together in a way that you actually want, rebuilding it in a new way.

    Phase 5: Developing fundamental ways to understand and perform better your new and developed choices. Having new commitments that better represent you and the things you really want.

    80% of people who went through such a crisis said that they came out the other side better. The quarter-life crisis can be the most astounding and profound time of your life in terms of making your life into what you want it to be — and trimming the fat from all unnecessary areas.

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    People deal with pain in a myriad of ways, but we should always use these times to better understand ourselves. How are we feeling? Why do we feel this way? What is within our own control? What is NOT in our control? How do we feel about ourselves? How does what we put out affect what we receive?

    These are the things we should be thinking about when we are dealing with our own happiness. And part of our happiness is determined by the autonomy that we have over our own choices and our own life. We must be the masters of our own destiny, and we do so by being inherently honest with ourselves and by truly listening to who we really are.

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    Last Updated on September 12, 2019

    12 Things You Should Remember When Feeling Lost in Life

    12 Things You Should Remember When Feeling Lost in Life

    Even the most charismatic people you know, whether in person or celebrities of some sort, experience days where they feel lost in life and isolated from everyone else.

    While it’s good to know we aren’t alone in this feeling, the question still remains:

    What should we do when we feel lost and lonely?

    Here are 12 things to remember:

    1. Recognize That It’s Okay!

    The truth is, there are times you need to be alone. If you’ve always been accustomed to being in contact with people, this may prove difficult.

    However, learning how to be alone and comfortable in your own skin will give you confidence and a sense of self reliance.

    We cheat ourselves out of the opportunity to become self reliant when we look for constant companionship.

    Learn how to embrace your me time: What Your Fear of Being Alone Is Really About and How to Get over It

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    2. Use Your Lost and Loneliness as a Self-Directing Guide

    You’ve most likely heard the expression: “You have to know where you’ve been to know where you’re going.”

    Loneliness also serves as a life signal to indicate you’re in search of something. It’s when we’re in the midst of solitude that answers come from true soul searching.

    Remember, there is more to life than what you’re feeling.

    3. Realize Loneliness Helps You Face the Truth

    Being in the constant company of others, although comforting sometimes, can often serve as a distraction when we need to face the reality of a situation.

    Solitude cuts straight to the chase and forces you to deal with the problem at hand. See it as a blessing that can serve as a catalyst to set things right!

    4. Be Aware That You Have More Control Than You Think

    Typically, when we see ourselves as being lost or lonely, it gives us an excuse to view everything we come in contact with in a negative light. It lends itself to putting ourselves in the victim mode, when the truth of the matter is that you choose your attitude in every situation.

    No one can force a feeling upon you! It is YOU who has the ultimate say as to how you choose to react.

    5. Embrace the Freedom That the Feeling of Being Alone Can Offer

    Instead of wallowing in self pity, which many are prone to do because of loneliness, try looking at your circumstance as a new-found freedom.

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    Most people are in constant need of approval of their viewpoints. Try enjoying the fact that  you don’t need everyone you care about to support your decisions.

    6. Acknowledge the Person You Are Now

    Perhaps you feel a sense of loneliness and confusion because your life circumstances have taken you away from the persona that others know to be you.

    Perhaps the new you differs radically from the old. Realize that life is about change and how we react to that change. It’s okay that you’re not who you used to be.

    Take a look at this article and learn to accept your imperfect self: Accept Yourself (Flaws and All): 7 Benefits of Being Vulnerable

    7. Keep Striving to Do Your Best

    Often those who are feeling isolated and unto themselves will develop a defeatist attitude. They’ll do substandard work because their self esteem is low and they don’t care.

    Never let this feeling take away your sense of worth! Do your best always and when you come through this dark time, others will admire how you stayed determined in spite of the obstacles you had to overcome.

    And to live your best life, you must do this ONE thing: step out of your comfort zone.

    8. Don’t Forget That Time Is Precious

    When we’re lost in a sea of loneliness and depression, it’s all too easy to reflect on regrets of past life events. This does nothing but feed negativity and perpetuate the situation.

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    Instead of falling prey to this common pitfall, put one foot in front of the other and acknowledge every positive step you take. By doing this, you can celebrate the struggles you overcome at the end of the day.

    9. Remember, Things Happen for a Reason

    Every circumstance we encounter in our life is designed to teach us and that lesson is in turn passed on to others.

    Sometimes we’re fortunate enough to figure out the lesson to be learned, while other times, we simply need to have faith that if the lesson wasn’t meant directly for us to learn from, how we handled it was observed by someone who needed to learn.

    Your solitude and feeling of lost, in this instance, although painful possibly, may be teaching someone else.

    10. Journal During This Time

    Record your thoughts when you’re at the height of loneliness and feeling lost. You’ll be amazed when you reflect back at how you viewed things at the time and how far you’ve come later.

    This time (if recorded) can give you a keen insight into who you are and what makes you feel the way you feel.

    11. Remember You Aren’t the First to Feel This Way

    It’s quite common to feel as if we’re alone and no one else has ever felt this way before. We think this because at the time of our distress, we’re silently observing others around us who are seemingly fine in every way.

    The truth is, we can’t possibly know the struggles of those around us unless they elect to share them. We ALL have known this pain!

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    Try confiding in someone you trust and ask them how they deal with these feelings when they experienced it. You may be surprised at what you learn.

    12. Ask for Help If the Problem Persists

    The feeling of being lost and lonely is common to everyone, but typically it will last for a relatively short period of time.

    Most people will confess to, at one time or another, being in a “funk.” But if the problem persists longer than you feel it should, don’t ignore it.

    When your ability to reason and consider things rationally becomes impaired, do not poo poo the problem away and think it isn’t worthy of attention. Seek medical help.

    Afraid to ask for help? Here’s how to change your outlook to aim high!

    Final Thoughts

    Loneliness and a sense of feeling lost can in many ways be extremely painful and difficult to deal with at best. However, these feelings can also serve as a catalyst for change in our lives if we acknowledge them and act.

    Above anything, cherish your mental well being and don’t underestimate its worth. Seek professional guidance if you’re unable to distinguish between a sense of freedom for yourself and a sense of despair.

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    Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

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