At some point in life we will all find ourselves feeling lost, wondering what to do next. It’s inevitable so don’t worry if you’re feeling stuck right now. The important thing to focus on is : How to Get Unstuck, and that’s what I’m here to help you with.
Do you feel like you’re living life on autopilot? You’re doing the same thing day in and day out and you’re getting nowhere?
Or maybe you just ended a relationship and now you feel like you don’t know what to do next? Or maybe you hate your job but you need to pay the bills so you don’t have a choice?
If you’re feeling lost in life, it can feel like your life is going nowhere, like there is no purpose or meaning in living, and that you’re just living day by day merely surviving.
This feeling can be overwhelming. In fact, it can even feel like depression. According to Carolyn Ferreira, a psychologist in Bend, Oregon, who specializes in trauma, addictions, and rebuilding relationships, feeling lost can often feel like depression. You feel unmotivated and uninterested in activities that formerly gave you pleasure and joy, and you feel like life is meaningless.
We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. – Joseph Campbell
If a recent life transition or devastating event occurred in your life, or you just realized one day that your life’s going nowhere, it can be a very difficult place to be. If you don’t address this feeling of being stuck, it can get pushed away and lead to negative consequences, such as anxiety, frustrations, negative thought patterns, and a general dissatisfaction in life.
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While feeling lost can feel like everything is hopeless and that nothing will improve or change in your life, the fact is, it’s only temporary. It’s only temporary when you choose to do something about it.
Feeling stuck in life can often be the catalyst for change, the change that you need to have so you can finally live that life of fulfillment and even happiness. But, it will take some work.
I know it’s very hard to think about bettering yourself when you are in the throes of emptiness and hopelessness. When you’re unmotivated to even get up from bed in the morning, how can you even try to go out, try new activities, and go after your goals?
Yes, I know it may seem impossible. But you don’t have to do anything today. You don’t have to pressure yourself to feel better tomorrow or next week. In fact, you don’t have to do anything at all right now.
The mere fact that you’re here, reading this, and trying to find answers to why you’re feeling lost, is a sign. It’s a sign that you don’t want to be in this place anymore. It’s a sign that you’re looking for answers. And when you search for answers, that means you start gaining information, and eventually use this knowledge to improve yourself and improve your life.
When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves. Viktor E. Frankl
Feeling Lost? 5 Possible Reasons
A recent study shows that 69% of people feel trapped in the same old routine, while only 3 out of 10 people are happy with their lives.
This statistic goes to show that the majority of individuals feel stuck in life. Some feel stuck in their personal lives, while some in their careers. But one thing’s for sure, many people in the world feel lost at one point in their lives or another. But why?
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Why do we end up feeling lost? Why do we settle in life and why do we live in mundane existence that lacks meaning and purpose?
If you’ve always thought you were going to be a lawyer, or an actor, or maybe you already are, but you’re currently not feeling fulfilled, or you don’t recognize yourself anymore, it’s crucial that you try to understand why.
Understanding why you feel lost can be the first step to improving your life and to prevent it from happening again. Sometimes, you feel a certain way and you don’t know why, and pinpointing the very reason can help you get started on your journey to a fulfilling, satisfying, and much happier life.
“Sorrow looks back. Worry looks around. Faith looks up.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
Here are 5 Reasons Why You May Be Feeling Lost
The Drift Syndrome
The Drift Syndrome is not exactly a psychological term but it’s something many writers refer to as an emotional state. You feel a sense of “drift” when you end up at a job you don’t like but you don’t have a choice because you’ve got bills to pay, or you can’t figure out why you continue to do something you don’t even like doing, such as going to brunch with a selfish friend every Sunday.
Instead of planning out your life, or doing things that bring joy to you, you just “drift” along the tides without much thought.
According to Rubin, drift happens when you make a decision without much thought about the consequences for which you don’t take responsibility. It’s like you’re doing something without planning, or life simply continues to roll along and you don’t have goals or plans for your future. You’re simply reacting to life, rather than creating it.
Rubin lists a few warning signs that you’re currently drifting through life:
- You complain a lot about a situation but then you don’t find ways to make it better.
- You think a certain situation can’t go on but then you allow it to go on. An example would be, having a coworker who continues to take advantage of you. You know it’s wrong, you don’t like it, but you allow it to go on.
- Feeling like other people are progressing in life and you are passively moving along.
- Fantasizing a catastrophe would occur so you can get out of a situation. An example would be, hoping that your company would transfer you to another city because you feel lost in your current job, or fantasizing that you would get hit by a car so you can stay in a hospital for a week and not have to care for your kids.
Living life drifting along and responding only to what is happening to you can make you stuck in a life on autopilot, and this can make you feel incredibly lost.
Audio/Video : How to Find Yourself / Anthony Robbins
Social Media Creates False Expectations
Social media creates commercialized fantasy. You will most often only see positive events, pictures, and achievements on people’s social media accounts, and rarely about their failures and pitfalls.
Society’s obsession with appearances can make you think you’re falling behind from everyone else. Your high school friend has just become a multimillionaire, while your coworkers have just bought a new car and another friend is happily married with four kids.
And here you are, working at a job that you don’t even like, living in your one-bedroom apartment, and not really going anywhere in life, so you feel like you’re lagging behind everyone else.
“When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
You Live Your Life on False Objectives
False objectives are any goals in life that your family, your friends, and society expects of you but you don’t really want. An example would be, you come from a family of doctors and you pursue medicine because it’s what you’ve always been told to do.
But then your heart is in the arts, and you find yourself enjoying painting and making sculptures. When you live a life that’s based on false objectives, you deprive yourself of true happiness.
When you find yourself in the operating table and not living what you do, you can feel lost and stuck in life.
Lack of Social Support
You may have a good-paying job, you may have a beautiful home, and you may even be surrounded by a lot of friends, but then you lack intimate connections. Intimate connections are made with people whom you can be vulnerable with. You may be perceived as a boss with an iron first, but at the end of the day, you also need someone to talk to, to vent to, and someone who will listen and comfort your worries.
They could take the form of a spouse, a best friend, a parent, sibling, or anyone in your life you can call anytime when you’re having mental and emotional difficulties. Without a strong social support system, you can end up feeling lost, lonely, and not having any meaning in life.
You may have a career and an active social life, or you also have responsibilities at home, which means you’re overloaded with responsibilities, obligations, and demands.
When you’re constantly attending to different aspects of your life except for your own needs, this can lead you to feel overwhelmed and lost. You no longer have a clear view of your own personal goals and needs, and you simply drift through life without much thought or desire for your future.
Here are Some Things to Remember When You Feel Lost
Recognize That It’s Okay
Earlier in this article I mentioned that most people feel stuck in life, and that doesn’t mean anything is wrong with you. Everyone feels lost every now and then and that’s okay. You can wake up today and not feel like getting out of bed and that’s fine. You can get up tomorrow when you’re feeling better and more inclined to be productive and face the world. It’s completely okay to take a break from everything every once in a while.
It’s okay to feel lost but don’t let it define your entire life. Yes, you don’t know where you’re going, you don’t know what to do next, and that’s okay. But don’t stay in that place. Tomorrow, make sure you do something about it.
Use it as a Self-Directing Guide
Use this state as a self-directing guide. What area in your life are you feeling lost in? Is it in your job? Your business? Your family? Your relationship?
Ask yourself these two questions:
Why Am I Going to Do What I’m About To Do Today?
Your answer should go deeper than “to pay the bills.” If you hate your job but feel like you have a choice, think about the bigger picture.
What is your job and what is it for? Maybe you’re a receptionist and you don’t find meaning in your job. Dig deeper than that. If you work at a doctor’s clinic, you’re more than just a person who answers phone calls but you’re someone who provides comfort and help to people who are sick.
By finding the “why” to why you’re doing the things you do each day, it can help to motivate you to get up in the morning and love your job.
What Would The Future Want Me To Do Today?
Imagine your future self. Imagine that person being the very person you want to be – successful and happy. What would that person want you to do today?
Make decisions from the viewpoint of your future and this can help you move forward in the direction of the life you want to live.
Be Aware That You Have More Control Than You Think
Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness plague you right now, but you have to realize that you have more control of your life than you think.
You can quit that job you hate and start a business, or you can find another job that you truly like. Or, you can work with your spouse and go to couples counseling if your marriage is failing. Or, you can start doing another exercise program if you haven’t lost weight by simply running and going to the gym.
There are always endless possibilities out there, you just need to realize that you have the power to change your life.
Realize that you have habits that are no longer helping you in your life. You need to assess patterns that are holding you back. These patterns may be comfortable but you can’t move forward if you keep on going back to old habits that no longer serve you.
Stop waiting for the perfect opportunity to arrive. Stop waiting for the perfect time to leave a toxic relationship. Stop waiting for that large amount of money before you start your business. Too often, we spend too much time waiting for the perfect opportunity that never comes. We are always waiting for the ideal path to appear but paths are not made by waiting, they are made by walking.
So don’t wait. If you think you’re being abused in your marriage, if you think you’re being taken advantage of in your job, don’t wait for something else to come along before you leave, and don’t wait for the perfect job to open up before you quit.
Make your own path today because you have the power to make it however you want it to be.
Did you always think you would have bought a house by the time you’re 30? Or maybe you would’ve been married by now? Or maybe you would’ve been a top executive but you’re still in an entry level position at age 35?
When you have assumptions and expectations that you are not meeting, this can make you frustrated, anxious, and angry. You may have done everything you can to try to make these goals come true to no avail, but nothing worked, and now you feel lost and helpless.
You don’t know what to do. The first thing you can do is to let go of expectations and assumptions that you have. Let go and try to relax. Love what you do until you can do what you love. Let go of what life is supposed to be and take a look at what you actually have now and start with that.
Start with what you have now and keep moving. Keep moving forward.
How to Get Unstuck
I’ve always had a path in life. I’ve always known that fashion was my calling, and a little detour down the road (which led me to the field of Psychology) did not deter me from going after my passion for dressmaking.
Even when I started having kids, I never felt lost, and I always knew the direction I wanted to take. There were times when I thought things were going nowhere, but I always knew once I got back up, I was going to have a career in fashion and maybe do a little counseling on the side.
During those moments when I had to pause, experienced some roadblocks, and didn’t really know what to do next, there were some things that helped me jump over the hurdles.
I will share with you some of the things that helped me move forward when I felt stuck, as well as a few things I’ve learned from researching the topic.
Here are 6 things you can to get unstuck in life:
Acknowledge How You’re Feeling
You must acknowledge and accept how you’re feeling. When you deny your emotions, it usually leads to more self-destructive behaviors. According to Colleen Mullen, a psychotherapist who founded the Coaching Through Chaos private practice in San Diego, California, states that when an individual acknowledges their feeling of being lost emotionally, they can then attend to it.
You must tell yourself that it’s okay to be sad and disappointed sometimes and that these are natural consequences you would feel when a direction in life does not go your way, or when your life path changes abruptly.
You can write about what you’re feeling in a journal to help you label and identify your emotions.
Do Something New
Doing something new can help you feel refreshed. It could be as simple as taking a walk everyday or a big thing like starting a new gym membership and committing to become healthier and fitter in the next few months.
Joining a class or doing something you’ve always wanted to do but never had the time or chance before, can help you become motivated and experience more joy in your life.
It’s beneficial to step away from your routine and treat life with more joy and excitement for your future.
Observe How You Talk to Yourself
Whenever I had a negative thought during my phases of being stuck in life, I would always try to regulate them. When I would start feeling sorry for myself, or wanting to revert back to an old habit that I knew was bad for me, I would always remind myself it’s not worth it. I would try to snap back out of it, so I wouldn’t go down the rabbit hole of feeling bad the entire day.
Here is an example of negative self-talk, and how you can rephrase it to become positive:
A negative thought can be like this: “I could never start the business that I want.”
Rephrasing it into positive self-talk is something like this: “I don’t know how to start a business now, but I will learn.”
Choose Goals That You Truly Like
Creating goals that you love and like means you are not striving to be anyone else other than yourself. Think about the things that you know will bring you joy and pleasure, and do these things often.
The search for happiness and meaning doesn’t have to be grand or big, and it can start in little things, such as going to the beach on a weekend, or taking a stroll in a park. Or finally enrolling in culinary school even when you already have a high-paying finance job.
Seek goals that are important to you and goals that bring positive emotions. List a few activities and goals that will make you happy, not your parents, not your children, not your spouse, and not society in general. And start doing things that will allow you to achieve them.
One of the most dangerous things that will happen when you start feeling lost is that you no longer recognize yourself. You lose your self-image and confidence, and this can lead to a downward spiral of low self-esteem, and losing your motivation to seek out things and activities that make you feel good.
When you start to feel stuck in life, it’s important that you give yourself some love and self-care. Simple things you can do to give yourself some love is eating good food, or food that you love to eat like chocolate. Treat yourself and don’t feel guilty about it. Tell yourself you deserve it because you do.
Meditation can be something that can help you get in touch with your feelings and begin to understand them better. Research has shown that even 30 minutes of meditation per day can help rewire the brain and change behavior, reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.
Practicing mindfulness can also help. It involves being aware of your emotions, thoughts, and experiences in the present moment. It has been shown to reduce feelings of anxiety and stress. It can even help in rewiring your brain’s responses to stressors and triggers.
Other things you can do to take better care of yourself is to have enough sleep everyday, somewhere between 7 to 9 hours, which is the recommended hours of sleep for adults. You can also start exercising to boost the release of healthy and happy hormones in your body, such as endorphins and dopamine.
Take the time to learn what your body needs, listen to it, and engage in activities that allow you to pamper and care for yourself.
Seek therapy if you can no longer regulate and handle your emotions. Remember that feeling lost can feel a lot like depression and therapy can help you navigate your thoughts and emotions, identify the cause, and find solutions that can help improve your life.
You can als join support groups that focus on what you’re struggling with, whether in-person or online.
A life coach can also help you create goals, motivate you to achieve them, and create the life that you want.
You don’t have to stay stuck in your situation. Feeling lost can give you the opportunity to grow and finally change the direction of your life to the path that will give you the fulfillment and satisfaction that you need.
Try these tips to help you get unstuck in life and slowly take the necessary steps to finally living the life that you desire and deserve.
Books that Will Inspire You If You Feel Lost
Books are wonderful treasure chests of wisdom and inspiration that help us see things from another perspective. If therapy, hiring a life coach, or joining a support group is out of the question for you, then maybe these books can help open your eyes and give you the motivation you need to get unstuck in your life right now.
Here are 4 books that will inspire you if you’re currently feeling lost:
Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life
Ikigai, A bestselling book that has sold over 1.5 million copies worldwide, this is written by Frances Miralles and Hector Garica. The authors studied the lives of men and women in Okinawa, which is an island in Japan known for having the most centenarians in the world.
In this book, the authors divulge that Ikigai brings meaning to life. Ikigai is a Japanese word for “reason for being,” and that happiness lies in always being busy doing things that you love.
It teaches readers how to find meaning and purpose in life, and helps you discover your reason for getting out of bed. If you feel lost and stuck in life, this book will help you discover your passions and activities that bring joy and happiness.
Also, read our indepth article on Ikigai. It will give you an indepth overview and I’m certain you’ll find it helpful in a time like this.
The Charge: Activating the 10 Human Drives That Make You Feel Alive
The book, The Charge: Activating the 10 Human Drives That Make You Feel Alive, written by the famous motivational speaker Brendon Burchard, it’s an easy read that outlines the simple steps you can take to bring more spark into your life.
It reminds readers what it takes to feel alive and become fulfilled in a stressful and chaotic world, using recent advancements in neuroscience and positive psychology.
Paulo Coelho is one of the world’s most famous novelists and The Alchemist+ is his most renowned yet. It is a fictional story that involves several themes, which include finding meaning in life, gratitude, and having the power to create your own destiny.
Some of the book’s most popular quotes are:
“Break the monotony. When each day is the same as the next, it’s because the person fails to recognize the good things that happen in their lives everyday that the sun rises.”
“When you really want something to happen, the whole universe conspires so that your wish comes true.”
For anyone who feels stuck in life, it teaches us that we have the power to make our lives better and to fulfill our dreams. It also teaches us that when we are always lacking something in life, sometimes, we fail to see the great things that we already have around us.
The Last Lecture
Originally written by Randy Pausch for his kids, The Last Lecture is an inspiring story about an American educator who is in his last stages of terminal cancer. It talks about the author’s perception in life and how he battles every storm that comes his way, and now that he is facing imminent death.
He talks about death being a natural thing for all of us and that we shouldn’t fear it. What we should fear is how we’re living. For anyone who’s feeling lost in life, this book is an eye-opener that tells you to rethink your life before it’s too late.
These books are just some of the many brilliant stories and guides to helping you realize that life is more beautiful than you think. Books like these can remind you of your inner power and show you that there is more to life than where you are right now.
As long as you’re breathing and you’re healthy, you can make the change you want to make today and get unstuck, find your way, and finally live the life you deserve and always wanted.
As children, we are taught to have long-term goals. We are often asked what we want to be when we grow up, and we then base the direction of our lives towards this goal. We go to school to be what we want to be, get married, have children, and reach this goal.
But then life happens, and we don’t always get what we want. Or, we do, but then we feel empty. What happened? Every single person in this world will feel lost at one point in our lives. It’s completely normal, but what’s not normal is when we allow it to completely consume us.
When we no longer know what to do next, when we feel hopeless and helpless and not do anything at all to change our circumstances, that’s when it becomes dangerous.
It can lead to anxiety and even depression, and what we do with it can mean the difference between living a life that we desire, or living life on autopilot every single day for the rest of our lives.
When we feel lost, it can be a good thing because it can be the catalyst for the change we need. I know that when you’re feeling stuck in life it may feel like you will stay this way forever, and that nothing will ever improve your situation but the mere fact that you’re here reading this is a sign that you want to do something.
Let this be the very first day you make that first step to getting unstuck in life, and finally living a life of fulfillment, satisfaction, and eventually, happiness.