Do you often find yourself feeling lost and without a sense of direction in life? It’s understandable to feel this way, given the challenges and changes that life brings.
The good news is that it’s possible to navigate through these feelings so you can experience clarity, purpose, and a strong sense of self.
So whether you’re having difficulty finding the right path for yourself or are just generally stuck and feeling unmotivated, you’ve come to the right place.
Here are things you should do when you feel lost in life:
Adam Bulbulia, BCBA
Board-Certified Behavioral Analyst and Founder, Bridging Worlds Behavioral Services
We all feel lost somewhere inside. We are disconnected from our hearts, wandering aimlessly. In many ways, the human race is a lost race. I think the global loss we feel as a species is a part of why so many of us feel lost.
Personally, I have noticed a pattern of feeling lost right before a large personal transformation. Feeling lost is disorienting and hard to be with. And yet, when we feel lost, we can see it as not just a lost feeling but a sign pointing us in the direction we are meant to go.
When we are lost, we need something to carry us through to what is beyond what we have right now.
Embrace the lost feeling
The first step is to embrace where we are. Acceptance for what we feel and where we are is always the first step. Embrace the lost feeling. Yes, this seems counterintuitive.
The more we embrace the lost feeling, the more we can embrace where we are right now and accept ourselves as we are. Acceptance is the groundwork for any change. To embrace the lost feeling, we must embrace the sense of not knowing. When we are lost, it is actually an opening to find something deeper.
We live in a society that says we should know everything all the time and never be lost. But in fact, life is a grand game of hide and seek. We must be lost to find what we are looking for.
The times when you feel lost are the times when you are closest to discovering something deeper about yourself. Stay with the lostness, feel what it feels like, and stay open.
At some point, the feelings associated with feeling lost, such as fear, anxiety, and hopelessness, will shift. You will receive an insight from your heart as it expresses a desire and pulls you toward something new.
Wait, feel, and listen for the newness that is emerging and you will start to get a sense of what it is you’re really looking for.
Lost equals openness
The times in life that we feel lost are when we are most open to the universe. This openness can be wonderful and can bring great opportunities.
It can also open us up to abuse. One time when I was lost, I was taken advantage of by a narcissist who used my openness as a way to manipulate me while he professed to teach me. He did not appear lost; he was self-assured.
It’s important to hold steady when lost so that we don’t blindly cling to the first new thing that comes along.
The openness that comes from feeling lost can take us in new life directions. When I was lost, I found a direction for helping others go deeper into their emotional process.
The openness that comes from being lost can be remarkable when we get used to the discomfort. Before this lost time, I was an elementary school teacher. Through this lost period, I found a necessary piece of my core purpose in life.
Oftentimes, we don’t fully understand the lost period until years later when what we were going through starts to make sense.
The heart is the compass; it helps us find our way through periods of being lost
The truth speaks to us from the inside. We all have a sense of what is right for us in our hearts. Our hearts can guide us to choose something that feels more fulfilling. Our hearts will help us find our way through periods of being lost and doubting ourselves.
Lostness is the gateway to humility
Nobody on this planet knows the answer to the great question of how to live a good life. We are all stumbling around, trying our best to make something of our existence. Some of us know we are lost, and others think we’ve found the answer.
I’ve started to actually enjoy the fact that I’m lost and don’t know. It keeps me more humble and open.
When I was sure I knew the truth, I realized I was actually further from myself and further from the truth. When we go through the temple of the lost, we find our true humility and humanity. Contrary to what many believe, it’s truly okay not to know.
Related: How to Practice Humility
Know that this stuck feeling is temporary
It’s always okay to be open to wandering to find our way. Sometimes the lost feeling can be paralyzing. It can seem that everyone around us knows where they are going with their life and what they are doing.
We often ask ourselves, why am I the one who feels so lost? I want you to know this stuck feeling is temporary. It’s like giving birth when the baby gets stuck in the birth canal. It doesn’t stay that way forever, but even so, this stuck place is terrifying for both the baby and the mother.
In a way, like the baby, we are birthing ourselves through our experience. When we are lost, we are in a stage of the birth process which is uncomfortable and difficult.
If you are in this right now, take a deep breath. Remember, it’s okay to be right where you are. Answers and directions will emerge. Be patient and allow yourself to be right where you are.
Not knowing and staying open to what is emerging is an honorable and useful place to be. There’s no rush to get anywhere.
When we feel the trust in ourselves and the universe, we have a way through even the darkest of nights. The faith that we are okay and lovable can guide us through times of extreme darkness.
The humility of not knowing is very powerful. The humility of sensing there’s more to life than I’m living right now keeps us growing and opening. The deeper we open, the more we feel, and the more we find our way as we go.
Physician Life Coach
Create a box of memories
Don’t hide away your memories: keep them nearby for comfort. Remembering who you are at your core can help you get back on track, but sometimes this is difficult if you feel down or lost.
One strategy that can help you keep your bearings is to keep a box of mementos, keepsakes, or letters from loved ones nearby to look at when you have moments of uncertainty.
Most people keep their mementos hidden away in a closet or attic, but this won’t help you if you need comfort. Reading the words of someone who loves you can give you direction and meaning when you need it most.
When looking for a box, try to find one that’s decorative enough to be at home in your everyday decor but also large enough to house some mementos and letters that you would like to look at when you need to. Something the size of a large shoe box is best.
If you’re at a crossroads, just keep moving
If you are at a crossroads, you may feel lost and need guidance. During those times, it can feel like there’s only one right path, and making a list of pros and cons is the only way to avoid making the wrong choice.
Doing this can actually backfire, though, for a couple of reasons:
- Nobody can predict what the future can bring; we only learn about the future by taking action and getting there step by step.
- By spending lots of time thinking about the decision, you subconsciously send yourself the message that you can’t be trusted to go for it and make a decision.
Although it may not seem like it, the answer to your dilemma is taking action. It’s natural to be afraid of moving toward our dreams. It’s a balance of uncovering the fears and managing them so we can get closer and closer to the goals we want to achieve.
For example, one near-universal fear is the fear of being judged for actions that bring us closer to our dream goals. One tactic that can be helpful to tame this situation is to remember that the fear of being judged is just a fear of a bad feeling.
Also, if you are sitting with that feeling ahead of time (as in, before the action of being judged even happens), then you may as well do the thing that brings you closer to your goal anyway.
After all, it makes no sense to feel uncomfortable and get no benefit. By taking small actions, despite your fears, towards your goals, you can cast away the confusion about your place in life and start to have some clarity about your future.
Connect with your values
When you’re feeling lost, it’s easy to withdraw from the world and become isolated. Don’t let this happen to you: instead, return to your values and find what lights you up.
What issues do you care about? For example, getting involved in your community can help you feel connected and supported. Look for local groups or organizations that align with your interests or volunteer for a cause you care about.
Giving back can be a great way to take your mind off your own problems and feel good about yourself at the same time.
Talk to someone who has been there before
One of the best things you can do when you’re feeling lost is to talk to someone who has been through a similar experience. They can provide guidance and support and let you know that it’s possible to come out the other side.
Also, the simple act of reaching out to someone takes you out of your own head and puts you in contact with another person; this immediately starts you moving in the right direction.
Elena Duong, Psy.D.
Co-Founder and Licensed Psychologist, Blooming Wellness Psychotherapy, Inc.
Use your values as a guiding compass in your life
It’s normal to feel lost in life, especially when our lives are in transition, e.g., how the pandemic has affected all our lives.
A way to feel more grounded when feeling lost is to reflect on your life’s values—using values as a guiding compass to your life. Values differ from person to person, and your values can change over time as you change.
When you know your values, you can create goals and action steps to live your life accordingly. For example, if you value friends, your goal may be to spend more time with friends. An action step can be scheduling a meetup with friends once per week.
Steps to start living a values-based life:
- Create a list of 5-10 values you have in life.
- Rank the list of values from most to least important to you.
- Are there any discrepancies between your values and how you are currently living your life? If yes, how can you change your life to live according to your values?
For example, if you value family but spend all your time at work, a change can be cutting back your office hours and spending more time at home with your family.
Oftentimes, this is a fairly difficult exercise since most go along with life as expected, which means not taking the time to self-reflect and think critically about what you actually want out of life.
People do not always make the connection that they may be lost or unhappy because they are living out someone else’s life or life values.
Coach Trainer | Director of Curriculum and Content, Coach Training EDU
The most important thing to realize about this feeling is that you are not alone. At some point, everyone starts to feel a little lost in life, and finding yourself (or whatever it is you’re looking for) is just a part of life’s journey. That said, there are some things you can do to bring clarity to your life.
Start with a mental health check
It’s important to understand what category of “feeling lost” most aligns with your scenario. Some people experience an abrupt and unexpected change in their life that leaves them feeling unsure of the future or the next steps they’d like to take.
Others experience an abrupt and unexpected change that leads to symptoms of depression. It’s important to know the difference and check for signs of depression that may indicate it’s time to seek more professional help.
Be kind to yourself
Feeling lost doesn’t always end in depression. For some folks, feeling lost can be a motivating factor in making meaningful attempts to get their life back together. It’s important not to ignore the emotions tied to this feeling of being lost but to embrace those emotions as natural responses to major life changes.
This is where techniques like journaling can be effective in helping you work through your emotions and what might be causing you to feel lost in the first place.
During this time of reflection, it’s essential to take proper care of yourself. Engage in activities that bring you both joy and a sense of calm. Yoga and meditation can be excellent tools to help you both work through your emotions and identify what you’d like to do with your life next.
The next step is to do some deep diving into the inner workings of your mind. If you’re feeling lost, there’s a good chance your brain is trying to tell you something.
- Perhaps your mind is filled with too many ideas, and you are unsure which direction to move next.
- Maybe you’re feeling as though nothing is working out quite the way you expected, and you don’t have any ideas for the next moves.
- Perhaps life just threw you a huge curveball, and you have no idea what to make of the aftermath.
All of these scenarios present you with an opportunity to reflect on what matters most and bring you to a deeper sense of self-awareness.
Start by reflecting on your values. What’s most important to you, and why? What qualities do you admire in others? You might consider assessing your strengths and values on a deeper level to help you figure out how your values show up in your behaviors.
Once you’ve narrowed down the values that are most important to you, you can begin the work of identifying meaningful ways to live out your values daily.
Gather your resources
Therapists and coaches are great resources as you take this journey through the unknown toward finding yourself. When you feel lost, having someone walk through the forest beside you is a great way to prevent you from getting lost and keep you moving forward.
Therapists are specifically trained to handle the mental health aspects of feeling lost alongside rediscovering a purpose or direction. That said, well-trained coaches are just as capable of helping people wade through the muck of feeling lost and find clarity and meaning in life.
Feeling lost is rarely, if ever, a fun feeling, but it can be an opportunity to rethink and even let go of the life you’ve been living to build something even better for yourself. Where do you want to go next? The only limits are the ones you set for yourself.
At the age of 17, I had been raped, had an abortion, and was coasting through college on foggy autopilot. Everything felt heavy and difficult until one day; I couldn’t take it anymore.
I broke down until I broke through. Using the following steps helped me get from that place to one of peace, power, and possibility.
Celebrate the contrast
The first step was a challenging yet important one. I had to honor where I truly was and where I truly was, was a dark place. From that place, I recognized that the discomfort I was feeling was evidence that I wanted more.
If you want more, that’s a great place to be. You wouldn’t have the desire to feel better if feeling better wasn’t a possibility. So celebrate that your wellness journey has officially begun.
Begin with a single step
We’ve heard the saying that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. In this case, it couldn’t apply more.
You don’t need to know where you’re going or how to get there. Simply wanting to feel good is enough to bring you closer. In fact, noticing your feelings is a crucial aspect.
We are born with an inner guidance system, and over time, we either learn to tune in to its wisdom or forget it exists.
That feeling when you know someone is watching you? The butterfly response when you’re with someone you like? Learning (or relearning!) to trust those feelings will help you to realize how much power you have over how you feel—spiritually, physically, emotionally, and physiologically.
Connect with nature
This step cannot be overstated in its importance. A way to get out of our heads is to get out into the world. Whether you prefer a simple walk or hiking a mountain, looking at the ocean or kite-surfing, picnicking in a forest, or zip-lining through the treetops—get outside!
Nature, in its infinite beauty, reminds us of the magic of the universe. Being immersed in it is the best way to remember that the magic that exists outside of us also exists inside.
Fall in love with what you take for granted and notice the small stuff. The way the light shines through trees, the sound of crunching leaves, the way the squirrels chase each other—all the things you will notice while connecting with nature serve as a reminder that each of us is just as powerful, as miraculous, and as important.
Use movement to create momentum—shake your booty
There is no way around this one. You cannot change the state of your life without first having a change in physiology. In other words, use movement to create momentum. And if you want this to feel more like fun and less of a chore, choose a form of movement that sparks joy.
I am the kind of person who only runs when being chased. For me, there is no joy sparked from jogging. Therefore, setting a goal to run a marathon would not be a motivating one.
On the other hand, I love to dance. Whether it’s an hour-long Zumba class or an impromptu kitchen dance party with my kids, I will gladly boogie my way to wellness. If you love basketball or tennis, have that be your expression of movement.
Movement can encompass everything from chair yoga to doing an Ironman so if you haven’t yet found a modality you like, keep looking!
Look for the good and be grateful
Finally, my world changed the most for the better when I decided to look for the good and keep looking. Now in my 40s, my life looks very different than when I was 17. I have a fulfilling career, a happy, connected relationship with My Dude, two incredible children, and a life of purpose, peace, and travel.
Yet, that doesn’t make you immune to the challenges in life—global pandemics, sick relatives, fertility journeys, etc.
The greatest tool in those moments to stay happy, healthy, and well is gratitude. It’s hard to feel angry and grateful, jealous and grateful, sad and grateful, self-pitying and grateful.
Gratitude has such a high energetic vibration that its impact on your overall well-being is immediate. And even better, the more you practice it, the more effectively you train your brain to be grateful as your go-to response. You will literally rewire your thoughts.
I hope that regardless of where you are currently if you are looking to be, give, have or do more, you know that you already have everything you need to live your life fully expressed and with all the health and wellness at your disposal.
Career Clarity Specialist and Founder, Clear Mind Zen Life
There are times or seasons in our lives when we feel lost. We feel stuck in a loop and unsure how to get out of it. Here are four things you can do to help you gain clarity in your life:
Remember your why
We all have a purpose on this earth, and that purpose is our drive for everything we do in life. This is your “why.” Why you do anything comes back to your purpose. So if you’re feeling lost in life, it could most likely be because the things you’re currently doing do not support your why.
Here are three things to ask yourself to help you find your “why“:
- What are you good at?
- What are you passionate about?
- What makes you feel fulfilled?
Get your priorities back in alignment
When you’re feeling lost, you’re going through a change. Something has shifted, and you’re questioning yourself, what’s next? When we find ourselves stuck and need to find clarity, it is crucial to be very clear about our priorities, so we can align our actions with our priorities.
This will also show you if you’re currently spending time and energy on things that are lower on your priority list and not enough on the higher ones.
Here’s what you can do:
- List out 8-10 things that are important to you. Here’re some examples: Family, Career growth, Self-improvement, Financial stability, Spirituality, etc.
- Rank your priorities from 1-10 (1 = very important, 10 = not very important)
- Take the top 3 priorities and rank how satisfied you are with each in %
If you find yourself not very satisfied with your top 3 priorities, this could be the reason why you’re feeling lost. You’re not spending your energy and efforts to fulfill the needs of your priorities.
Stop doing things on autopilot and be more conscious
Your day-to-day life sometimes looks like a blur. You do the same things over and over again. Wake up, eat, work, sleep and repeat. You become so accustomed to this routine you just go on autopilot. You’re letting your subconscious do things for you and make decisions for you.
Start taking back your life and get back in the driver’s seat.
Here are two things you can do immediately to become more conscious of your day:
- Set an intention for the day. By doing so, you’ll be more aware of your routine and bring meaning to everything you do.
- Journaling is a great way to log down your thoughts and feelings. This will help you see repeating patterns.
Talk to someone
When we feel lost, we often get lost in our own heads. And the more we keep our thoughts to ourselves, the more we spiral down a rabbit hole. We don’t see a way out because we think we are the only ones who can help ourselves.
This is why talking to someone is essential when you’re feeling lost. Clarity is just around the corner, and all you need is someone to support and guide you by asking the right questions.
Who to choose to talk to:
- Someone who isn’t going to inject their own opinion
- Someone who will listen attentively without judgment
- Someone who isn’t going to agree with everything you say
Dr. Ketan Parmar
Psychiatrist and Mental Health Expert, ClinicSpots
Acknowledge your feelings
When you feel lost in life, it’s important to acknowledge and accept your feelings. Denying or suppressing them will only make the situation worse.
Recognize that it’s normal to feel disoriented and overwhelmed from time to time, especially when faced with difficult choices or life changes. Allow yourself to experience these tough emotions without judgment so that you can move forward with clarity.
Get clear on your values
Before taking action, take some time to reflect on what matters most to you.
Ask yourself: What values do I want my decisions and actions based upon? List your top five values and use them as guiding principles while making decisions going forward.
Identify your goals
Now that you’ve clarified your values, it’s time to think about the bigger picture. What are your long-term goals and ambitions? Write them down and visualize yourself achieving them. This will help you feel more connected to your purpose and give you a road map for progress.
Break down your goals
Breaking down large goals into smaller tasks makes them much easier to tackle. Once you have a goal list, identify the action steps needed to get there and create a plan of attack. Include both short-term and long-term objectives in this plan to ensure that you stay on track over time.
Stay focused on the present moment
When you feel lost in life, it’s easy to get caught up in anxiety and worry about the future. But instead of allowing your mind to wander too far into the future, stay focused on the present moment.
Remind yourself that everything you need is right here, right now. Focus on taking one step at a time and trust in your ability to figure things out as you go.
Connect with others
Finally, don’t be afraid to reach out for support when needed. Surround yourself with positive people who will lift you and remind you of why life is worth living.
Seek advice from those who have been through similar experiences or attend events where like-minded individuals gather. Connecting with others can be a great source of strength and motivation.
When it comes to feeling lost in life, the best thing you can do is start taking action. Remind yourself that you have the inner resources and strength to figure things out – no matter how hard it may seem. With dedication, clarity, and courage, you can find your way back home again.
Positive Mindset Blogger and Certified Happiness Coach | Founder, Utterly Positive
These are four things you should do whenever you feel lost in life:
Do a social media detox break and focus on yourself
Not only endless scrolling takes away hours of your time, but it also overwhelms you with all the different things people do when they look happy. The more people you follow, the more options you have, so no wonder you feel lost and confused.
Spending too much time on social media can result in decision fatigue immediately after scrolling the morning, even when you haven’t really started your day yet.
Do a social media detox break for a week and focus on yourself. Meditate, walk in nature, read inspiring quotes, and affirm your worth and uniqueness every day. You’ll hear your own thoughts and ideas much louder when they aren’t lost in all the external noise.
Start journaling daily to know yourself better
Adult journaling is not like “hi dairy, this is how my day went” from your teen years. It’s more about finding clarity in life by answering some deeper questions like what makes you happy or what makes you feel lost.
You can start with my 45 free positivity prompts, let your thoughts flow freely onto paper, and see where it brings you.
Some questions might have an obvious answer for you; others might surprise you when you start digging into your subconscious. The more you do it, the more you’ll become aware of your self-inflicted limitations that might be blocking your happiness!
Change your environment
A cluttered desk leads to a cluttered mind, but cleaning and organizing are only part of the process. Find a way to completely change your environment to get a clean slate feeling.
If you work from home, rearrange your furniture or try working from another room. Find a new coffee shop where you can feel inspired and not stuck with the same ideas. Or go to a coworking space once a week if you can’t find time to be alone with yourself at home.
A more radical approach is moving to another city or even country if that’s possible for you. Depending on your area of expertise, you might get a year-long digital nomad visa to a variety of paradise islands where the cost of living might be even cheaper than in a big city.
Organize a spa getaway weekend, or spend some time in a cozy cabin in the woods with your family. Sometimes you just need a break from your routine to see everything with a set of fresh eyes and identify what your new direction might be.
Try new things
If you have been doing the same thing for years and it doesn’t fulfill you anymore, it’s time to try new things! Make a list of activities you’ve always wanted to try or skills to learn.
- It can be anything from bungee jumping to video editing or dancing to baking.
- Sign up for Skillshare and take a bunch of fun classes that spark your interest.
- Go on a guided tour to see your city as a tourist.
- Attend several local meetups that seem interesting to you.
It’s hard to know what you enjoy unless you try enough different things. Who knows, you might even find new friends in the process or open new doors for yourself that you had no idea existed.
Clare Waismann, M-RAS, SUDCC II
Founder and Director, Domus Retreat
Take a step back and thoughtfully consider your choices
At times like this, it is crucial to take a step back and thoughtfully consider your choices. Even during the most difficult times, there are options that you can consider to regain a sense of purpose and security.
Become aware of your emotional state
The first step is to become aware of your emotional state; be conscious of how you feel—sadness, anger, fear—and allow yourself to experience those emotions without judgment. This can open up the possibility for more rational thinking about the choices you have in front of you.
Other steps may include:
- Talking to trusted friends or family for advice
- Looking into therapy or counseling
- Researching potential paths forward online or through books
- Taking part in activities you find interesting and enjoyable
- Exploring new possibilities that may lead out from where you currently are
Life can seem overwhelming at times, and it’s easy to feel lost in a sea of choices; sometimes, all it takes is an objective perspective and resilience to help regain focus and direction.
Whatever course of action ends up being taken in the face of feeling lost in life—remaining vigilant when tending the mental gardens we cultivate within ourselves is always a safe bet in finding better footing.
You have options available to make changes if needed—remember that ultimately every person has the freedom to decide their own future when they have access to clarity within themselves.
Feeling lost in life is scary when you don’t know what direction you should be going. Thankfully, there are some practical steps you can take to escape isolation and give yourself the best opportunity to survive.
Accept the situation
Whether you’re physically lost in the rugged wilderness or psychologically lost in the thoughts of your mind, overcoming obstacles is far more dependent on simplifying the process rather than getting lost in the woods.
One of the keys to wilderness survival is stating the obvious and acknowledging when you’re lost. It allows you to focus on the tactical process of escaping rather than figuring out why you’re lost altogether.
That’s not to say understanding why is unimportant. It’s simply a question to be answered later when hindsight is 20/20, and you can see the journey you’ve traveled from beginning to end.
Stop and take inventory of what skills and resources you possess
Those who are physically lost in the wilderness do themselves more harm than good by attempting to save themselves and walk out. It may seem counterintuitive, but staying put offers the greatest chance for survival.
The key in any survival situation (physical or psychological) is to take inventory of your skills and resources. It not only gives you confidence but also helps filter out the emotion that can cripple your psyche.
Therefore, learn to cope with the reality of life you’re facing and embrace the season of life you find yourself by learning what you can from the experience. Considering your trials with a positive attitude will only make you stronger in the long run.
Embrace your fear
Fear can be your greatest enemy if you allow it to stifle your personal growth. The unknown is difficult for any person to manage emotionally and psychologically, but embracing fear is far more beneficial than fighting it.
Embracing your fear doesn’t mean you have to waive the white flag and give up. Quite the contrary! It simply means you recognize that fear is a normal reaction to what you’re facing.
Therefore, allow fear to be a catalyst for change, so you can embrace the opportunity to grow. It simply comes down to shifting your perspective from what’s wrong to what you can do to change it.
Maintain a positive attitude
Maintaining a positive attitude can be the greatest asset at your disposal when you feel lost in life. It may not seem logical, but focusing your mind on the hope of tomorrow can help you survive today.
Related: Why Is Hope so Important in Life?
In many ways, believing God has a plan and purpose for your life can be the seed of inspiration you need to survive even the toughest trials life may throw your way.
The key is realizing the season you find yourself is temporary. Therefore, live by faith that the future holds far greater blessings than you fathom, which will enable you to withstand feeling lost in the moment.
Nurse Practitioner, ChoicePoint
Know only you can find yourself back
The question is, why do you feel lost? Are you not surrounded by supportive friends and family? Maybe you are, or you aren’t. Perhaps you have lost interest in the things you once enjoyed. Either way, when you feel lost, know only you can find yourself back!
Question yourself about what made you feel like you are lost in life. Then try to work hard to find what you are looking for.
Break the cycle. Sometimes, giving your body a little break from mundane daily activities can be very beneficial. Breaking the cycle will make you see what you miss doing and what is better left in the past.
Life Coach, Joyful Through It All
Slow down and refocus on the important things
As a certified life coach, one of the main things I see in people who are lost is that they have lost sight of what is important in life. People have so many demands on their time and attention that it is common for priorities to get mixed up.
Focusing too much of our attention on our work or our financial goals makes it easy to end up lost in other areas. Often, our personal relationships and our self-care take a back seat to other areas of our lives.
Slowing down and taking some time to reflect on the important things is the best way to conquer the feelings of being lost in life.
Take one small step toward a goal to reignite a fire in your soul
Another common reason people end up lost is that they haven’t started pursuing their goals and dreams.
Life has a way of pushing our goals and dreams aside in favor of other responsibilities. Thinking back to a goal or dream from an earlier part of your life is a great way to reconnect with yourself.
All it takes is taking one small step toward a goal to reignite a fire in your soul!
Search and connect with your purpose
When you feel lost in life, it can be helpful to spend some time searching for your purpose. When we have a sense of purpose, our actions carry weight and feel meaningful.
People often feel lost in life because they spend too much time on things that do not align with their purpose.
Jobs are common places for people to feel like this. It can be uncomfortable to think about it but looking for work that is better aligned with what you believe your life’s purpose is a great way to stop feeling lost in life.
Senior Editor, Tandem
It’s not uncommon at some point in your life to feel lost. Maybe it’s that you have yet to meet that special someone. It could be that you don’t know which degree to go after. Or, possibly, you are at a job that doesn’t feel like you. Whatever the reason, what can you do when you feel lost in life?
Remember to be grateful for what you have
You might not have the car you’ve always dreamed of or the house you’ve always wanted. Still, if you have a roof over your head and a job to pay your bills, you might be doing better than most. Remind yourself that though you feel lost now, the feeling is temporary, and at the moment, you can be grateful for what you have.
Identify why you feel this way
Some people will know exactly why they feel lost, while others might not be as fortunate. The first step in solving a problem is admitting there is a problem.
In this case, you feel lost. But why? Once you identify what makes you feel this way, you can work on changing whatever is causing it.
Put it on paper
Whether you journal, blog, write a memoir or write in a diary, it helps to put pen to paper when you feel lost. The more you can track what you are feeling, the easier it will be to recognize what is causing it—which will also help you to identify why you feel the way you do.
Just keep swimming
An avid Pixar fan, I adore characters like Dory from “Finding Nemo” and “Finding Dory.” Though she might not have a great memory, she consistently reminds herself to “just keep swimming.”
Find your inner Dory. Keep working at it. Just keep swimming. Before you know it, you might find that you no longer feel lost.
Take care of yourself
The most important thing you can do when feeling lost is to take good care of yourself. Go for walks, try meditation, or do what you can to ensure you take the best care of yourself possible.
If you aren’t eating properly or maintaining good hygiene, it will be more than your feelings that are suffering.
It’s okay to feel lost. It’s also okay to reach out for help. If you are uncomfortable talking to your friends or family about how you feel, consider speaking with a therapist to help you determine the best course of action. Before you know it, you may just feel found.
Founder and Creative Director, Weiher Creative
Get back to the reason why you started
It’s common for almost everyone to feel lost at some point in life, regardless of whether they talk about it or not. The most critical step you should take when you start to feel lost in life is to accept that you feel this way rather than trying to ignore the feeling.
If you accept that you feel this way, you will have an easier time fixing the problem than you will if you choose to ignore it and hope it goes away.
If you’re feeling lost in your career or your business, there’s a high probability that you’ve forgotten why you’re in the industry you’re in or why you started your business in the first place.
Getting back to the reason you took the job or started your business will help you remember where you started, giving you a much clearer picture of how far you’ve come.
Everyone needs reminders once in a while of why we’re doing the things we’re doing. Remembering the joy that your business brings you will help you find your next direction in life, helping that lost feeling disappear as quickly as it appeared.
Dating and Relationship Expert, Cupid and Cuddles
Try not to beat yourself up too much
First things first, try not to beat yourself up too much. You can’t expect yourself to have all the answers — life is a complicated journey with twists and turns along the way.
Instead of getting stuck in your own head, look outward and talk to people who love and support you. Friends and family can provide advice that’s no-nonsense even though their guidance may be nothing like what your heart wants — but that doesn’t make it wrong!
Talking things through can help give clarity on how to proceed. And if outside conversations still leave you feeling overwhelmed, there are plenty of apps and other online tools available (like meditation podcasts) that can give you the much-needed pause button in a world filled with too many “play” buttons.
Reclaiming your sense of direction starts with self-reflection but also asking for help when needed — anything is possible once you start reaching out toward your dreams again!
Fitness Enthusiast, Empowered Home Gyms
Find a small project with a small purpose
Take some time to feel why you feel lost in life. The feeling of being lost in life stems from the thoughts of a lack of purpose in life.
I find the basic solution to overcoming feeling lost in life is to find a small project with a small purpose and take the smallest step possible toward that goal.
Taking a small action for a small purpose makes it easier to build confidence and get motivated again. It gives you some sense of direction again in life. And then it’s easier to find bigger purposes for your life and to get motivated.
For example, you feel lost in life because you don’t know where to go next in your career or what purpose your job has. Instead of tackling something as big as a career direction, you might also consider a goal of getting into better shape.
Say you always thought of wanting to run a 5K race, but you aren’t running. A small step may be to go for an easy 5-minute run today. Then the next day you do it again or go for 10 min.
Soon you build a direction toward a smaller purpose; you feel better and more confident. And on the way, you can start investigating what a change in career looks like, which is easier because one area of your life has focus.
Frequently Asked Questions
What causes a person to feel lost?
• Major life transitions: Significant changes, such as a breakup, loss of a job, or moving to a new place, can leave you feeling uncertain and disoriented.
• Lack of purpose or direction: Feeling as though you lack a sense of purpose or a clear path in life can contribute to feelings of being lost.
• Unrealized expectations: Discrepancies between your expectations and reality can result in feelings of disappointment and confusion.
• Emotional challenges: Unresolved emotional issues, such as past traumas or suppressed feelings, can leave you feeling adrift and disconnected.
• Overwhelming choices: The modern world presents us with an abundance of options, which can sometimes lead to decision paralysis and feeling lost.
What age do people feel most lost?
It’s challenging to pinpoint a specific age when people feel most lost, as this experience varies from person to person and depends on individual life circumstances. However, it’s not uncommon for individuals to feel lost during significant transitional periods in their lives.
For instance, young adults in their 20s may feel lost as they transition from education to the workforce, navigate relationships, and establish their independence. Similarly, individuals in their mid-life (typically around their 40s and 50s) might experience a sense of being lost due to a mid-life crisis or other significant life changes, such as children leaving home, career shifts, or health concerns.
How do I know if I am feeling lost?
Recognizing the signs that you’re feeling lost is an essential step in addressing the issue and finding your way back to a more grounded state. Here are some indicators that you might be feeling lost:
• Lack of direction: You may feel uncertain about your life’s purpose, goals, or values, making it difficult to make decisions or plan for the future.
• Emotional distress: You might experience feelings of sadness, anxiety, frustration, or confusion that seem persistent or difficult to shake.
• Disconnection: You may feel detached from yourself, your relationships, or your passions, leading to a sense of isolation or loneliness.
• Inaction or avoidance: If you find yourself procrastinating or avoiding making choices, this may be a sign that you’re feeling lost and unsure of which direction to take.
Is it possible to have a mental breakdown when feeling lost in life?
Yes, it’s possible to experience a mental breakdown when feeling lost in life. This can occur due to the overwhelming stress, anxiety, or uncertainty that often accompanies such a feeling. It’s essential to recognize these emotions and seek support when needed, as this can help prevent a potential mental breakdown.
How can I take care of my mental health while I’m figuring things out?
Taking care of your mental health during uncertain times is crucial. Here are some steps to help you maintain mental well-being while you’re figuring things out:
• Self-awareness: Begin by acknowledging your feelings and emotions, as it’s essential to know what you’re experiencing before you can address it.
• Establish a routine: Creating a daily routine can provide structure and a sense of stability, even amidst uncertainty.
• Stay connected: Maintain social connections with friends and family for emotional support. Sharing your feelings can help alleviate some of the burdens you’re carrying.
• Engage in self-care: Prioritize activities that make you feel good, such as exercise, meditation, or hobbies. These can help reduce stress and promote relaxation.
• Seek professional help: If you find it challenging to cope with your emotions or situation, consider reaching out to a mental health professional for guidance and support.
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