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7 Things Millenials can do to Beat the Quarter Life Crisis

7 Things Millenials can do to Beat the Quarter Life Crisis

Just what is this thing called the Quarter Life Crisis anyway? Dictionary.com defines it as “a crisis that may be experienced in one’s twenties, involving anxiety over the direction and quality of one’s life,” or, “an emotional crisis in one’s twenties with anxiety and self-doubt after leaving academic life.” The term has only recently become popularized in relation to the current generation of 20-Somethings who collectively answer to the term: “Millennials”.

Typical features of the Quarter Life Crisis are:

  • Anxiety
  • Frustration
  • an overwhelming dissatisfaction with the direction of one’s life
  • feeling as if life has no specific purpose
  • feelings of self doubt and confusion

Left unchecked, these feelings can trigger a downward spiral from anxiety to depression…or worse. Recent research has shown suicide as being the leading cause of death for young adults in both the UK[1] and Australia[2], and the second leading cause of death amongst 25-34 year olds in the US[3].

If the Quarter Life Crisis is responsible for playing any part In these troubling stats, then finding ways to overcome it early on could be incredibly important.

Here are 7 simple steps that an individual at risk can take to give the Quarter Life Crisis a side-step:

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1. Know Yourself – Identify Your Top 3 Personal Values

Really knowing what makes you tick, what turns you on to life, is incredibly empowering. This information can act like a compass for you as you go through life, giving you a sense of clarity in your decision making. This clarity will eliminate a lot of the mental fog that can cause self-doubt and confusion.

Your Personal Values are the things that are at your core, that make up your essence, and which you consider to be highly important across every aspect of life.

Examples of personal values are: Creativity, Growth, Honesty, Responsibility, Persistence etc. Getting down to just 3 values can be tough, but when you do narrow it down, you will have a clear focus for everything you do. Darren Hardy has a great tool on his site (available for free, via the link) that can assist with the process of identifying your own top 3 Personal Values. Curious? Check it out here: http://thecompoundeffect.com/downloads/english-core_values_assessment.pdf

2. Detox Your Mind – Go on a Mental Diet

On an average day, most of us are overloaded with more information and communications than we can handle or process. Sometimes the clutter of all this information and mental noise can fog what’s really important to us, and for us. In the same way that our physical bodies can benefit from a good detox – eliminating the bad, and flushing out our systems with the good – so too can our minds feel refreshed and renewed after consciously deciding to monitor the information we let into it for a period of time. Try one week without Reality TV, soaps, gossip magazines, news, social media (I know, it will be tough!) and radio etc. Try flushing your mind out with a combination of silence and carefully selected positive material designed to boost your mental well-being. There are lots of free resources available on the Web, but sites like www.knowledgeisking.co.uk are focused on providing you with the best mental food available.

3. Adopt a new Attitude – 100% Personal Responsibility

This is one of the easiest tips to implement… if you are mentally prepared to take it on. Your attitude is nothing more than a choice. This piece of advice puts you fully in the driving seat of everything that happens around you. 100% responsibility means that even if something isn’t your fault, you still take responsibility for how the outcome has impacted you. This gives you the opportunity to open your eyes to how you might actually be affecting things that you previously thought were outside of your control. This is especially important if the effects that you have been experiencing have been less than positive. 100% responsibility means always asking, “What could I have done differently? How can I change my behaviour in the future to positively affect the outcome?” Ask these questions, instead of looking at what other people have done wrong, or how they are to blame for a given set of circumstances or outcome.

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The next time you feel some frustration or anger building up inside you towards someone or something else, just ask yourself, “How might I have contributed to this situation? What would I do differently if it were to occur again?

4. Practice Responding, rather than Reacting

This tip is actually pretty closely linked to the previous piece of advice, but worth mentioning in a different light. For most of us, most of the time, when we speak or act, we are reacting instinctively to something that has been said, or has happened immediately beforehand. Responding means that we allow a little pause, some space, between what is said or done, and what we choose to say or do as a result. It doesn’t have to be a big dramatic pause, just enough time for us to give brief consideration to the things we do and say. In this pause, we can do a quick mental check, that will eventually become automatic, to see if we are responding in a way that aligns with our core values and is in line with us taking 100% responsibility.

Try using that space in your next conversation, and see if you don’t feel a great sense of calm about your communications and interactions.

5. Pick a Destination and Enjoy the Journey there

Now, this doesn’t necessarily relate to a holiday destination. Although it might be if that’s a big goal of yours. This tip refers to the principle of having a specific overall purpose to your life, and learning to enjoy the process that will help you to achieve it. Once you are clear on your values, it becomes much easier to identify what direction you want to take your life in, and for what specific purpose. That is your destination. Doing the things that will take you towards that destination will be what makes up a substantial part of your life, so it is important that you see it all as part of a process that you can enjoy. Take pride in this because you know it is all contributing to you achieving your purpose.

One activity that can help in identifying what destination, or purpose you want to have in life, is to go through the process of writing your own obituary. What would you like your life to look like on paper if someone was writing it up after your departure? To do this exercise justice, you need to set aside some specific time to sit quietly. Maybe you could start by reading the obituaries of one or two well known people that you have admired for inspiration. Upon reflection, begin jotting down how you would want your own obituary to read.

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6. Balance, Balance, Balance – Keeping it all in check

Balance here refers not to balancing all the different roles and responsibilities that you need to fulfill on a daily basis, but rather balancing the 3 elements that make it possible for you fulfill those roles in the first place – your physical body, your thinking mind and your guiding spirit. Balancing them doesn’t necessarily mean spending equal time on each, but being aware of each and giving them acknowledgement of the role they each play in your life. For your body, this means eating right, resting well and getting some exercise. For your mind, this could mean that after your Mental Detox, you adopt some new habits about what goes into your mind, and the space you give it to process the information overload each day. Depending on your beliefs, your spirit may be as simple as your gut feelings. The emotions that we feel can be a guiding voice, regarding a particular situation. This is not to say that you should be ruled by your emotions, but equally, don’t ignore your inner voice – it’s often giving the wisest advice.

7. Put Your Life in Your Hands – Have a written plan

Chances are, if you’ve ever planned anything important, you’ve had a written plan. Starting a business, planning a wedding, a project at work…it all gets written down. How much more important is this for your life?

Imagine holding a document in you hands, containing the plans for the next 5 years of your life. Identifying your top 3 values is a great start. From there, you could go on to create your bucket list. Then, pick the top thing from there that you would like to prioritize for achieving in the next 12 months. Then, jot down a list of everything that you would need to do to make it happen. What are the major stepping stones for achieving that thing? What are the specific tasks that you would need to do to achieve each of those steps? When will you do each of these steps? These are some of the basic questions that you would need to ask yourself to give yourself a great chance of making that thing happen. There are lots of goal setting programs and apps out there that can help you with the process of achieving specific goals.

If you take a little bit of action on each of these steps on a regular basis, you will reduce your risk of being hit by the Quarter Life Crisis. You’llalso increase your ability to deal with it, if that is where you already find yourself.

The Quarter Life Crisis is not an inevitable transition into full blown adulthood – you CAN find a way to Beat it!

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[1] www.ons.gov.uk

[2] www.abs.gov.au

[3] www.cdc.gov

Featured photo credit: pretty hippie girl playing guitar via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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