How to Deal With Quarter Life Crisis
What is it?
Quarter-life crisis refers to the psychological and sometimes physical strain and turbulence in the age period that follows your adolescence/teens till early 30s. This turbulence is the unrest experienced in gamut of spheres like emotional stability, ambition and aspiration, choosing a career, supporting oneself (being independent), relationships, etc.
Psychologist Rachna Kothari says, “It is a feeling of not having accomplished anything substantial, satisfactory or constructive in life. You find yourself in a state of perplexity. This usually occurs when reality crushes idealistic desire for perfect life.” Psychiatrist and psychotherapist, Dr Anjali Chhabria says that entering adult life and coming to terms with its responsibilities leads to confusion and self doubt, hindering one’s decision making ability along with self-confidence causing other emotional and behavioural concerns.
Any transition phase or change requires a lot of adjustment all in terms of attitudes, emotions and behaviors. Clinical psychologist and psychotherapist, Neha Patel says, “In many cases, the person has not been able to get out of the phase of comfort that they had during college days. Getting out of the phase of ‘dependence on someone to being the one others are dependent on’ crops up and can get difficult to face depending on the person’s upbringing and lifestyle.”
Kothari says that in such a scenario, “You’re at a stage in life where you can ‘make it or break it’. And everyone certainly wants to do the former. However, inability to do so leads to the rollercoaster of feelings like frustration, anxiety, low self-worth, anger, boredom, constant comparison with others.” Factors like instability in relationships, unemployment, ficklemindedness about career, issues with families and friends, inability to take mature decisions, tension that time is flowing, stress about present and future on accomplishment etc. causes this.
In the initial years, the person is not settled financially and might not be doing as well as expected, and so the responsibilities and pressures mount, which can be overwhelming for the person. As for relationships, the individual may marry the childhood sweetheart or the person he/she committed to in college and then over a period of time lose interest in the marriage or feel that this is not what he/she wanted, which can lead to a lot of strife within the relationship, opines Patel.
Dr Chhabria lists the following effects an individual going through a mid-life crisis usually has:
- Feeling that everyone else is secure, stable and has figured their lives out and you’re the only one left.
- Fear of what others might say when they see what you are going through.
- Increased restlessness and lethargy in daily life leading to boredom.
- Frustration with work, the job and the politics, with time the conversations at lunch and the water cooler are less intriguing.
- Insecurity about what the future holds.
- Who your are and who you want to be.
- Out of the blue nostalgia, for going back to school, re-living the old college days because you certainly enjoyed it there.
- Low energy and depressive signs towards activities and events which brought pleasure at some point of time.
- You cannot go back and you cannot move forwards and feel stuck without a goal, passion or faith in yourself.
There are many ways by which one can cope with quarter life crisis, Kothari lists some of them:
- Know who you are and what you want from life. Be aware of the opportunities available to you.
- Let go of past mistakes and focus on your present. Be optimistic: Being assertive, positive and hopeful certainly works. After all, thoughts become actions.
- Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparisons will only lead to criticisms and lower your selfconfidence in turn. Set your goals and work towards accomplishing it.
- Stay motivated: Know your talents, and be focused on where your passion lies.
- Practice relaxation techniques: Practice breathing exercises, yoga or exercise daily that can help better blood circulation and hence help you calm your mind.
- Effective psychotherapy.
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