You’ve read the article (hopefully - if not scroll down). You’ve accepted that you’re going through a quarter-life crisis. You understand that it will take time to get to the “other side” of this crisis. You even feel a bit better now that you know what’s going on with you.
But now what?
It’s one thing to know that something’s got to change in your life; it’s another to actually make the change.
I’m here to help. Here are some easy exercises for the first 2 of my Quarter-Life Crisis DO’s, so you can start “doing” what’s necessary to move from crisis to clarity.
DO #1: How to Manage Your Fear
Fear is like “riding a bike.” Once you’ve mastered the basics you’ll easily be able to hop on and start pedaling.
Think about something that you’re afraid of (i.e. leaving your present job, moving to another city, breaking up with your long-time boyfriend/girlfriend). Now, try this 2-step exercise:
a) Change Your Mindset About Fear. We all have incorrect beliefs about the world from our childhood and fear is one of the most misunderstood feelings we experience. We feel fear…we run away…because that’s what the fear is telling us to do. The problem is that by listening to your fear, your preventing yourself from going after what you really want in life.
Once you recognize you’re afraid you’re going to have to something that’s counter-intuitive to what your fear is telling you…to keep going.
Exercise: Take a moment and close your eyes. Think about what you’re afraid of doing, saying, acting on. Ask yourself: What do I tell myself about my fear? The more you understand your fear mindset, the easier it will be to “spot” to fear and learn to redirect it.
b) Practice. Any step – big or small – is brave. Let’s say that your afraid to quit your easy, high paying but life-sucking job for a lower paying job that you believe you’ll love. Being able to pay your bills to keep a roof over your head and food in your belly is a reasonable and important fear.
Exercise: So ask yourself, “What’s the next thing I can do that’s scary but doable?” For example, if quitting your job is not “doable” and too scary then: What else could you do to challenge the fear and move closer to your goal?
· Ask to see if you could work 32 hours.
· Start saving your money as a “cushion” for when you quit.
· Try living on a reduced salary to see if you could swing it.
· Find a very part-time job in the field that you love on the weekends so when it’s time to quit, you’ll know for sure you’re making the right step.
That should be your go to phrase: “scary but doable.” If it’s too scary you won’t do it. If it doesn’t scare you, then it’s not a big enough step.
DO #2: How to Remain Patient With Yourself
I’ll be the first to admit that I struggle with patience. I’m a list-maker, problem-solver, “get it done” kinda gal so I have to tell you that when someone tells me to “be here now” or “enjoy the process” I want to poke their eyes out.
Unfortunately, that someone (aka my mother) is right. Impatience is rooted in the desire to skip the present and move right to the future. The problem is that’s just not possible.
Patience is a skill that you can practice. Here’s how you do it:
a) When you Catch Yourself Ruminating that you’re unhappy and want this “step” over and done with then tell yourself, “stop.” Your rumination is not going to make life go faster its just going to torture you and make everything feel longer than it has to.
b) Accept that you Feel Impatient. You’ll be surprised that once you allow yourself to feel impatient how quickly your body and mind will relax.
c) As we talked about earlier we can’t make our lives move faster, you can only focus on what’s happening in the here and now. Shift your focus from what’s making you feel impatient and start focusing on feeling centered and grateful for where you are right now.
d) Practice Mindfulness. Sit for a moment, close your eyes and take 5 deep breathes. Open your eyes and start to think about what’s good about right now.
Phew! That's a lot to work on and those were only the first 2 DO's. Don't try and do everything at once. Pick one scary but doable item and when you start to feel yourself wanting to run in the opposite direction, try the breathing exercise.
When our lives feel like they're out of control we want to try and "fix" the problem right away. Unfortunately that's just not possible. If you make one small change each day, before you know it, you'll start to notice your thoughts become clearer and your confidence become stronger.
Keep an eye out for the other 3 DO's in the coming weeks!