Last Updated on December 1, 2020

7 Things Millennials Can Do to Beat the Quarter Life Crisis

7 Things Millennials Can Do to Beat the Quarter Life Crisis

Everyone has heard of the midlife crisis, but some may not be aware of the quarter life crisis. This is a period in one’s twenties when you may feel anxiety over where you’re going in life or the quality of the life you’re currently living. It can be marked with self-doubt and general uncertainty. The term has only recently become popularized in relation to the current generation of young people in their 20s to early 30s 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. One recent report by public-health groups Trust for America’s Health and Well Being Trust points out that drug, alcohol, and suicide deaths have risen in nearly every age group over the last decade, but the increase has been especially pronounced for younger Americans, the so-called millennials[1].

Statistics on the Quarter-Life Crisis | Business Wire

    If the quarter life crisis is responsible for playing any part in these troubling stats by increasing a sense of despair and hopelessness, then finding ways to overcome it early on could be incredibly important[2].

    Here are 7 simple steps that an individual at risk can take to give the quarter life crisis a side-step:

    1. 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.

    2. Detox Your Mind

    On an average day, most of us are overloaded with more information and communication 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, etc. Try flushing your mind out with a combination of silence and carefully selected positive material designed to boost your mental well-being.

    Instead of scrolling through Facebook, try picking up a good book. Instead of that dramatic reality show, turn on a documentary about the real world instead. You may discover something new you enjoy doing, and, at the very least, you’ll learn something along the way.

    3. Adopt an Attitude of Personal Responsibility

    This is one of the easiest tips to implement if you are mentally prepared to take it on during a quarter life crisis. 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 behavior 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.

    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?”

    If you have trouble reflecting on these kinds of questions, try adding in some mindfulness meditation to make some space in your mind for these analyses. You can get started here.

    4. Practice Responding Rather Than Reacting

    For most of us, most of the time, when we speak or act, we are reacting instinctively to something that has been said, or something that 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, which 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[3].


    Reaction Vs. Response

      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

      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, and it will help you move through a quarter life crisis with more confidence.

      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 purpose you want to have in life is to write a letter to yourself from the perspective of an older version of yourself.

      What will that version of you have accomplished? Where will they be in life, and how will they feel? With all of that, what would they tell you, their younger self, about the next steps to take?

      Your 20s and 30s can feel like a lot of back and forth as you explore what does and doesn’t work for your life. This can lead to a sense of feeling lost and unbalanced. Try to remember that this is all temporary and that once you find your niche, things will get easier.

      6. Keep It All in Check With Balance

      Balance here refers not to balancing all the different roles and responsibilities that you need to fulfill on a daily basis in order to manage a quarter life crisis, 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 With a 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 your 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. 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’ll also increase your ability to deal with it, if that is where you already find yourself.

      The Bottom Line

      The quarter life crisis is not an inevitable transition into full blown adulthood for young adults. You can find a way to eliminate or reduce its effects before it even starts by simply identifying your values and recognizing which direction you want to head in. The first few steps are always going to be the hardest, but they’ll be the most rewarding if you can push through them.

      More Tips for Millennials

      Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via


      More by this author

      7 Things Millennials Can Do to Beat the Quarter Life Crisis 8 Ways to Ensure Your Social Enterprise Can Make Ends Meet Everyone Should Not Miss These 15 Life Lessons Plants Teach Us

      Trending in Meaning of Life

      1 How to Find Purpose in Life and Make Yourself a Better Person 2 10 Best Books About Life to Help You Find Your Meaning 3 How To Write A Personal Mission Statement (A Step-By-Step Guide) 4 There Is More to Life Than  ____________ 5 Surviving and Thriving Amid the Pandemic: Intentional Living

      Read Next


      Last Updated on April 8, 2021

      How to Find Purpose in Life and Make Yourself a Better Person

      How to Find Purpose in Life and Make Yourself a Better Person

      Some mornings, you may feel that there’s something deeper you could be a part of. You feel the pull towards something, but you can’t exactly pin it down—it eludes you and frustrates you. You’re not really sure how to find purpose in life.

      You might have heard stories from writers or musicians who have felt their calling their entire lives; the Mozarts of the world who have pursued their passions from the moment they were out of the womb. Deep down you wish you had this “knowing” to pull you forward.

      Frankly, you do: all it takes is a little digging to uncover the truth when you start asking how to find my purpose.

      Think of uncovering your passion like the work of a master sculptor, slowly chipping away the stone to reveal the masterpiece underneath. Your life’s purpose is this masterpiece, simply lurking beneath the surface, waiting to be released.

      Successful people know that the fastest way to learn how to find your purpose is through the art of introspection: diving into the deeper essence of who you are to pull out the pieces to assemble the purpose puzzle.

      Think of your life’s purpose as a golden thread; for some, that thread comes in the form of a certain career or profession, while for others it looks like a way of being or expression.

      Here are some of the simple steps you’ll need to take if you want to learn how to find purpose in life.

      Why Do You Want This?

      Ultimately, you’re trying to improve your life and live with meaning by finding your purpose. You want more zest, more flavor, more fullness. In the strictest sense, you want to become a better person. You want to wake up in the morning excited, jumping out of bed with a thirst for life that you haven’t felt since you were a child.


      Your purpose can be the driving force behind this. If you feel lost, your sense of purpose can be your connection to something larger, something that will allow you to truly make a difference[1].

      Finding Purpose – Student Health & Counseling Center

        Still, your “why” might be different. Before we even leave solid ground, you need this as your anchor, just in case things get a little foggy. To find it, just answer this question:

        Why do you want to find your purpose in life?

        Write down or remember whatever comes up. It might be some of the above reasons, or it might be something entirely different. Whatever it is, hold it close.

        What You’ll Need to Find Your Purpose

        Before any great quest (physical or mental), you want to make sure your tools and supplies are in working order. For this quest the tools are simple: You’ll need a pen and piece of paper, a working memory, and the drive to uncover what you set out to find.

        Before we go, there are a few things you’ll need to embrace beforehand. Think of these items as the underlying code of conduct for your quest.

        1. I welcome the hard work and tiresome effort it will take to unearth my life’s great work.
        2. I know my purpose might not be directly obvious, but I will put in the time to find it.
        3. I believe finding my purpose is entirely possible.
        4. I know that finding my life’s purpose may lead to some big (positive) changes.
        5. I know that finding my life’s purpose will leave me with the power to shape my own destiny.

        Once you’ve let the above affirmations settle, you’re ready to set sail. Your tools are sharpened, and your mind is prepped as you’re thinking how to find my purpose.


        If you’re someone who procrastinates, just getting started may be difficult. If that’s the case, check out Lifehack’s free guide: End Distraction And Find Your Focus. It will help you focus your attention on the next steps, which will ultimately lead you to your purpose.

        1. Facing Your Inner Dialogue

        When you first begin to dive into your thoughts and desires, there will be an initial resistance, a pervading fear of the unknown[2].

        The first inner dragon you might face will likely be your internal beliefs. They might try to stop you in your tracks or tell you you’re crazy for trying to find your purpose in the first place. They might say harsh things, like “You don’t deserve to have a purpose” or “You’ll never find what you’re looking for.”

        To combat your inner dialogue, you have to first realize it’s happening. When you start to actually pay attention to the thoughts as they’re spiraling, they lose their power. They get their power by operating below the surface, so when you shine a spotlight of awareness upon them, they lose their control over you.

        Once you’re familiar with these inner dragons, it will be easier to slay them.

        Next, you’ll have to take action to correct your inner dialogue if you really want to learn how to find purpose in life.

        Try this on for size: When you’ve come across a belief that is threatening to stop your journey, take a breath, look it square in the eye, and then act anyway.

        This will teach you to develop your courage muscle, and this heart-centered courage will give you something to lean on throughout your uncertain quest. This will ultimately improve your mental health overall.


        2. Questions for the Great Dig

        Now that you know why you’re doing this and how to overcome any hurdle, you’re ready for the challenges you’ll inevitably face. Your preparation is done, so now it’s time to look at what your soul is trying to tell you.

        You can check out this TED Talk by Noeline Kirabo to learn about some questions that will help you discover your passion and purpose:

        Now, get ready to dive deep. Keep in mind that we’re going to analyze common threads in your life and the deep desires you currently have to give you a one-two punch when learning how to find purpose in life.

        Step 1: The Soul-Baring Questions

        • If you had all the money in the world, how would you spend your time?
        • What would your perfect day look like? Describe every detail.
        • What activities set your soul on fire?

        Don’t be afraid to dive deep with these questions, and write down whatever comes to mind.

        Make sure you create some space to ponder these questions. Nothing is too outlandish, so do your best to turn off your mental filter. The best answers will come when you can turn off your self-judgement.

        Once you have these answers in hand, we’re going to take a little stroll back into your memory to dig up some more answers and learn how to find purpose in life.

        When you’re a child, your life experience is more freeing, playful, and alive. Your whims direct your life, and you’re more plugged in to a deeper current. At this stage in your life, the outside world hasn’t shaped your dreams yet, and you have direct access to your passions and purpose.

        We all had things we loved to do as kids but ended up giving them up for the sake of practicality. What we’re going to do here is take a stroll through your memory banks and try to gain some glimpses of this childhood wisdom.


        Step 2: Connect With Your Inner Child

        • What brought you immense joy as a kid?
        • What were you doing when you lost track of time?
        • What did your parents have to drag you away from?
        • What did you love deep down before the world told you to get practical?

        Once again, keep your mind in an open place when finding your purpose. If you’re having trouble, it may help to look at a picture of yourself when you were younger, or grab an old stuffed animal or other item that sends you back into the memory banks.

        3. Weaving Your Golden Thread

        Now that you’ve pulled yourself away from social media long enough to brave the depths of your thoughts, you’re ready to do the hard work of learning how to find purpose in life and defining yours. The last stretch of the journey is to string all the bits of randomness together and find the common themes.

        Your job now is to take a hard look at all your answers and see if you can pull out any common ideas that are in both lists.

        Maybe you’ve wanted to be a writer since you were a child, and committing words to a page every day really sets your soul on fire. There’s a good chance that writing may be involved in your life’s purpose.

        Maybe you’ve always been fascinated by the stars and the cosmos, and you’ve always had a deep connection to spending time outdoors. You could combine this into an excursion where you lead groups of people into the wild to stargaze and contemplate their place in the universe.

        Let your creativity reign as you’re working on finding your purpose, and don’t fret if you can’t make a connection right away. Sometimes, it helps to sleep on it and let your subconscious work on the solution for you.

        You can also check out this Lifehack Fast Track Class for a little extra push as you work on learning how to find your purpose:

        If you’ve done the work, then you’re on your way to finding your life’s purpose. When it’s there, you’ll feel it deep down in your bones.

        The Bottom Line

        Learning how to find purpose in life is a lifelong journey, but once your purpose has been discovered, you’ll find that your life opens itself up in ways you never thought possible. You will experience new depths of opportunity, and your eyes will be opened to all the possibilities around you. First, you must simply turn toward your thoughts and jump in.

        More on How to Find Your Purpose

        Featured photo credit: Katerina Kerdi via


        [1] Western Oregon University: Finding Purpose
        [2] Journal of Anxiety Disorders: Fear of the unknown: One fear to rule them all?

        Read Next