Lately, I can’t help but to feel that so many people of my generation (1980s/90s born) are struggling with great general anxiety about their lives and the feeling of being completely lost in trying to decide what to devote their lives to. I feel inspired and compelled to respond. (DISCLAIMER: Please know I have no clinical experience or psychology background…aside from my own discoveries made through working with cognitive behavioural therapists and teachings from other, more qualified people) This is how I feel about it- STRAIGHT UP.
1. First of all, accept that a lot of people at your stage in life right now feel the same way, but chances are, no one can see it on your face- so LET GO. For many people, the fear of looking crazy is enough to make them crazy. The irony is that they are often the only one who knows.
2. ACCEPT that your feeling haunted by the question of what to devote your life to means you recognize your own power and importance in the world and you’re committed to contributing, devoting, and to doing something meaningful- This is a gift and we are all better off for it. You are worthy!.
3. Times have changed. Today it’s very common for young professionals to have multiple career changes before finding something that works- especially in an economy which isn’t prepared to accommodate the real number of qualified and educated candidates. Like love, you can’t hurry these things. So let’s just do stuff and hopefully we’ll find something we like, huh?
4. In my opinion, we’ve been over-schooled. What we all know best is how to think..a lot. We’ve been taught that we need to spend years theorizing to be worthy members of society…Let’s stop thinking. How do we do this? Move. Dance. Work. Problem solve. Create. Sing. Build something. And know that your behaviour is changing your brain’s patterns over time.
5. BECOME AWARE of the sources of your anxiety. What are you really afraid of? Failure? Well, too bad..we’re all going to fail…likely more than once. Outside pressure? Is it really there? Or did you just make it up? Change? Guess what- it’s the only thing you can count on. Say hi to your new BFF. There’s also a very physical aspect of anxiety which is environmentally created. Pay attention to the energies around you and don’t underestimate the power of physical movement and exercise. Unaccessed energy will probably manifest as tension and frustration internally.
6. GET REAL with yourself about the addictions and dependencies that are helping you cope. It’s ok, We ALL have them- food, pot, relationships, alcohol, reality tv. Everyone has their own coping mechanisms, but we need to recognize and be honest about how these affect us in the long term, since in some cases, their affects will be counter productive.
7. PERSPECTIVE. Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re probably someone fairly privileged, as am I, to live in North America and have lots of choice- too much in fact. Perhaps, as our generation revives and continues to appropriate ancient traditions and customs, we need to learn and practice gratitude and be humbled by just how much freedom we have. But embrace limitation- limitations are the walls you need to bounce off so that you don’t fly away.