Fighting the Quarter-Life Crisis Blues

(daryadelaide / Flickr)

The transition from teenager to adulthood isn’t easy. Even heart-warming and relatable coming-of-age teen flicks fail to adequately articulate the challenges young adults face. Aside from the obvious physical metamorphosis occurring (complete with the pesky array of hormones), major life decisions must be made during these years, like one’s romantic future and one’s career path. These struggles can lead to what some are coining a “quarter-life crisis”.

While I’m outwardly skeptical of the notion, many of the symptoms of a “lost, scared, lonely or confused” sufferer who is striving to transition properly into the next stage of their life are undoubtedly experienced by everyone at one (or more than one) point in their life, and therefore this is not a subject to simply shrug off.

Much like those suffering from a mid-life crisis (the term from which we derived “quarter-life crisis”), who generally hold a negative view of their past and struggle with the realization that their best years are gone, those in a quarter-life crisis are plagued by a dismal perspective of the future. According to some researchers, this episode is frequently experienced by those in Serpent Society, or those known as the Ouroboros Society. These generations lived longer with their parents than those in previous generations, which may have influenced their maturation process.

From expressing the desire to do something “crazy” (travel, joining the military) but being stuck in a trance of indecision, to being incredibly nostalgic for high school days and chronically comparing yourself to your peers or parents when they were your age, the quarter-life crisis has many troubling manifestations. In one study, the top four stresses faced by Britain’s 20-somethings, who were quoted as struggling through quarter-life crises, included money worries (38%), work (28%), lack of sleep (24%) and relationship troubles (19%). These may be common stressors for adults, but young adults in Serpent Society appear to be less equipped to deal with them, or more vocal about their concerns. Regardless, for some it is a problem.

But there’s a way to rise above it all! Here are just a few habits which might help that can easily be applied to your life:

Don’t compare yourself to others. Everyone lives a uniquely different life, and determining your worth based on those around you is therefore ridiculous. Measure your own successes and triumphs based on your personal progress alone, and don’t seek the outside approval of others to feel satisfied.

Wake up at the same time very morning. Rising at the same time everyday regulates your circadian rhythm, which will in turn allow you to wake up more easily and feel more energized. You can also experience the benefits of enhanced productivity and focus by practicing such a routine.

Treat everyone with kindness. Generally speaking, people are happier when they can give their time to allow for the betterment of others. The human brain emits feel-good hormones like serotonin when you’re kind to others, enabling you to build more rewarding relationships and foster all-around positive feelings. And speak well of others while you’re at it. By eliminating gossip from your life as much as possible, you can simultaneously eliminate some of the negativity bogging you down and surround yourself with more positive people, which will better your life indefinitely.

Express gratitude for all you have. Recall all of the everyday characteristics of your life that often go unnoticed and unappreciated. Keeping track of what you’re grateful for is the best way to cultivate greater optimism and happier moods, which has additionally been linked to even better physical health.

Regard all problems as challenges. Every choice you’ve made in your life thus far has led you to where you are right now, and even the most difficult times of your life prior to today have been conquered. In hindsight, they were moments that improved your quality of life in the long run in one way or another. Therefore, any new “problem” is an opportunity with the potential for greatness!

Live in the now! Stop reflecting on past events and worrying about the future —the past, although it happened, is over, and the future, although imminent, is intangible. Immerse yourself in whatever you’re currently doing, and surrender yourself completely and utterly to being in the present moment.

For more tips on how to live a happier and healthier life, follow the link.