When you are in a deep dark place, otherwise known as having an existential crisis it can be hard to know where to go next. When you’re questioning your very existence and you don’t know what steps to take to bring around a better understanding of yourself and your purpose.
The tumultuous period immediately after your crisis begins can leave you reevaluating everything in your life. Do you need to break up with your current romantic partner? Should you quit your job? It can be difficult to know what your next move should be while you cease to know anything concrete, yet there are a few things you should do to help yourself regain your footing.
There is a disconnect between humans and the great outdoors. One of the things you can do to positively overcome your crisis is to spend extra time in nature to reacquaint yourself with your place in the universe. Unless you frequently spend a great deal of time outside then there are many benefits to getting outside.
While a lot of the studies have been done in order to suggest children play outdoors more often one of the clear benefits is getting more vitamin D. Not getting enough of this important vitamin can cause depression and anxiety, certainly conditions that will exaggerate your crisis and prevent you from making any sound choices moving forward.
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Get outside and experiencing nature will give you a chance to center your thoughts. Spending time walking barefoot on grass has been shown to ground a person as well as offer other health benefits so it is a great idea in order to sort through the commotion in your mind.
Being outside can help you invoke all five of your senses, and as you ignite your senses fully you may be able to come to some new conclusions as to your life’s path. Let the beauty of nature fill you up and help you reexamine your priorities as you breathe in the fresh air deeply. Communing with nature can be helpful even when you’re not in crisis so don’t forget it’s there.
Even if you think you are not a nature person, that’s okay. Even spending time walking down a city street can offer some of the many benefits that being outdoors can bring you. Don’t think of nature as trees, birds, and dirt, think of nature as an escape from the confines of the four walls you spend the bulk of your life within.
Open Your Mind
Since you’ve suddenly realized that you aren’t interested in what you’ve previously expressed as your ideal life, whether you have a plan to rebound from your existential crisis or not, you need to be open to the new possibilities you may opt for. Ask the big questions you may have been scared to ask yourself before.
Spend an entire day saying “yes” to everything. See how that makes you feel at the end of the day and whether or not it led you to somewhere unexpected. While some people find doing yoga or meditation a lovely way to open your mind, others may need more practical experience in order to fully be open to new beginnings.
Don’t consider this period a time where you need to actually find the answers, but stay alert to the questions. When you find out as much information as possible during this time you will be able to sort through the results and come to some sort of conclusion later. Just ask why of everything and try to consider that nearly everything is a possibility.
The answers may not come quickly and it could be a while before you fully find yourself again but giving yourself the room to grow and rediscover how you thrive can be freeing and helpful in your quest to become the best you possible and your authentic self. Seek the answers in books, reading about other’s journey could benefit you as well.
If the idea of a journal is already making you squirm a little don’t worry too much. It doesn’t need to be anything formal, you certainly don’t need to invest in a bullet journal or start a blog unless that is something you’re interested in. But you are going to want to take notes. As you come up with some of the answers to your big questions you should write them down for your own sake.
While you may have a wonderful memory six months down the road you may want to look back and reflect on what you’ve learned, regardless of whether you’ve come out on the other side of this crisis portion of your life. Not only is journaling a great way to center yourself on paper, or a computer screen if that is your preferred method, but it can also free up space in your mind.
Try and check in several times a day with your writing in order to get the most complete picture of what is going on. At the very least, before you sleep for the night write down the day’s highs and lows with any questions you asked or found answers for during the day. If you’ve never journaled before go ahead and try it.
A good place to start is with a stream of consciousness writing, which basically means you write whatever thought comes to you without self-editing or concern for what you are writing. You may find that journaling is therapeutic or you may opt to move on from journaling all together once you’ve landed into your new manifestation of self.
Use Your Voice
When you’re in doubt of your passion or purpose that is when you should talk to your friends, relatives, spiritual advisor or whomever you trust to be a sounding board for your thoughts that you need to vocalize. Sometimes when you say something out loud it has a way of making more sense or sounding like a bad idea, or you may sense a pattern emerging.
When you speak with people who will encourage you and help you make some conclusion you will feel more yourself and you may find solace and comfort in your conversations. If you feel more comfortable speaking with a professional, getting a therapist or counselor can be beneficial as well though they won’t offer the same advice as those who know you.
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Having a safe space to speak your mind can allow you to overcome any hardships you’re facing during this period of tumultuous behavior, speaking your emotions out loud can make them more concrete and let you create a positive thought process going forward.
Recognize You Will Come Away Different
Life transitions are inevitable, even when they are scary. The important thing is that you need to keep in mind that you absolutely can come out on the other side of this search for meaning a different person but maybe someone who is more in touch with what is truly important to you.
Take this moment of self-discovery to embrace what is important and let go of what isn’t working in your life. You don’t need to jump to rash decisions, it is highly unlikely that you will conclude that everything in your life is meaningless. Your loved ones are there to be supportive and help you find the help you need, whatever that may look like for you.
Don’t allow yourself the chance to become isolated, it is unhealthy especially at a time when you find yourself questioning some or all of your decisions. You don’t need to seek out connections with just anyone however, those you may decide are not good friends can certainly become less of a priority in your life as you grow into your new, best self.
It may seem scary to venture off into the unknown, but so long as you are aware that all is not lost and that you can absolutely make changes to the track your life is on. You are doing the best you can in any situation and even during a crisis you are worthy of the life you’re seeking.
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Remember that your process isn’t for everyone else’s enjoyment or benefit, and no one else needs to understand your journey. Spend some time in nature, journal and talk with the people you are closest to and you will see that you can get through your existential crisis stronger and ready to tackle the rest of what life can throw at you.