It’s a feeling we all experience at one point or another. You wake up, and the world seems to have lost its color.
Everything you used to care about suddenly feels pointless, and you can’t seem to find a clear direction forward.
Feeling lost in life can be a frustrating and scary experience, but it’s also an opportunity for growth and self-discovery.
In this article, we’ll explore 15 things you should remember when feeling lost in life. Whether you’re dealing with a major life change or just feeling a bit stuck, these tips will help you regain your sense of direction and find your way forward.
So, take a deep breath, and let’s get started on this journey together.
We’ll be covering the following topics (click on a bullet point to jump to that section):
Table of Contents
What Does it Mean to Feel Lost?
Feeling lost has been defined as a general sense of purposelessness. If you are drifting through life aimlessly, or if you feel that you are going nowhere and stuck in a rut, you might be feeling lost.
It is an existential crisis that can be extremely overwhelming.
A person who feels lost in life generally defines their situation as that of an existential void, where anything and everything seems meaningless.
Some people have their life figured out from the get-go, but others suffer through life with a sense of feeling lost in life. You have either been through a tragedy that has upturned your life or you find yourself drifting through life with no specific goal.
Feeling lost is a real outcome of factors within and outside of our control. Everybody should have a purpose-driven life, but drifting far away at sea, our life’s boat has lost its true north.
There are a few things that you can have as reminders that can help set you back on track.
Feeling lost is normal because life doesn’t promise us anything, and sometimes even the best-laid plans can derail.
In testing times, it is good to remind yourself of the things that can help you stay centered and point toward your true north.
At the heart of the matter of feeling lost is having no purpose in life or losing it due to unforeseen events or circumstances.
Our purpose in life is our key to happiness and fulfillment. Therefore, if we lost our purpose or identity, it can cause serious damage to our mental well-being.
The crisis of identity caused by some unrelated event also is part of the experience. Our professional career is a domain that we normally get wrong.
We pursue that which pays good but doesn’t fulfill us. We paint ourselves ever deeper into a corner, realizing only later that we are stuck in a rut.
The symptoms of feeling lost manifest themselves in the form of depression and anxiety over the future.
Add to that the constant bombardment of unrealistic social media standards of success, the modern generation is bound to suffer episodes of depression, unfulfillment, and sadness.
So what can you do about it?
15 Things You Should Remember When Feeling Lost in Life
Here are 15 things you can do when you feel lost in life.
1. It’s Just a Phase
Remember, nothing in life is permanent.
The rough patch we are going through may not even last a week, but we feel that it might consume our mental health.
It’s important to remind yourself that nothing lasts forever, and that will give you the time and mental space to think more rationally and ease your burden.
2. Feeling Lost also Means You’re Open to Opportunities
Sometimes what you need is a change of perspective.
Feeling lost could mean that you have outgrown your current situation and because you have evolved as a person, you need to find newer opportunities whether they be in business, career, or relationships.
It’s that fundamental shift in perspective that can reorient your depressive thinking into a mindset that accepts and welcomes change.
3. Focus on the Present
The feelings that you are going through might wash over the next day.
Outcome-based thinking can overwhelm us, especially if we think that what we have to achieve is beyond our capabilities.
As the saying goes, “A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step”, you need to focus on putting one step in front of the other and keep going.
Focus on the process of improving, learning, and progressing through life instead of conjuring up dreams and fantasies without taking into account what entails achieving them.
“A ship without a harbor is lost at sea”
If you are feeling lost for a while, maybe it is better to step back from the humdrum of life and evaluate your choices and goals.
Do you know where you are going? What actions are congruent to your goals and which are not?
Asking yourselves questions like these can get you unstuck and peddling toward your desired harbor in no time.
If you are the captain of your life’s ship, you should take charge in commandeering it safely to the shore.
5. Don’t Think, Do
Paralysis by analysis has become extremely common in today’s age of abundant and readily available information.
But, humans learn by actually doing. They feel fulfilled by actually doing the things they set out to do.
Instead of getting bogged in overthinking your next move, why not take that leap of faith and actually take on that new project at the office, ask that person out, and show up at the gym after resolving that you would for the millionth time?
If you started doing things that wanted to do, you wouldn’t feel so lost after a while.
6. Account For Your Time
Successful people are good at accounting for their time.
We all get 24 hours in a day, but we use that allotted time differently, leading to different results.
Benjamin Franklin developed a habit of accountability early in life. He would ask himself, “What good can I do today?” upon rising, and at night, before going to sleep, he would ask, “What good have I done today?”
How you use your time during your waking hours determines the quality of life you can achieve.
7. Avoid the Victim Mentality
Adopting a victim mentality instead of a resilient and growth-focused mentality can exacerbate feelings of purposelessness.
You are more likely to wallow in your misery thinking the world is against you and neglecting your own role in shaping your future.
True healing begins with overpowering the victim mentality with something more positive.
Instead of dwelling on the negativity, we should focus on what can be done right now that can improve our life.
8. Recognize Your Strengths
Everyone has their own flaws and strengths. When we feel lost, losing sight of our overall character and personality can give us a lopsided view of ourselves.
Our self-esteem suffers as a result of such inaccurate self-depictions.
It is important that we recognize that we are okay the way we are and that we are also endowed with certain strengths.
9. Take the Time Off
Taking the time off and going on a vacation is like hitting the refresh for your mind.
Going on a vacation can increase your productivity. If you feel like you are drudging corporate cog, punching in day-in and day-out without stopping, it is inevitable you will feel that your life has no meaning.
Take the time off, think things over, enjoy life, be close to nature to rejuvenate your soul, and come back fresh.
Exercise has tons of benefits for your cognition, physical health, and mood.
A moderate to high-intensity workout can stave off depression and keep you cognitively functioning well into your later life.
The sense of accomplishment alone after a good workout can help you realize that your life is not all gone to the dogs.
If you have even one thing in life going for you, it can set you on the right path because good habits lead to other good habits.
Exercise naturally leads to good food choices.
A good diet also has tons of benefits for weight loss, emotional well-being, and cognition.
Feeling lost can be due to a variety of causes, but taking care of your emotional health and cognition is vitally significant to take back charge of your life.
There is tons of material out there on self-development.
Successful people have written their blueprints to success and how they found their purpose.
Reading is a great way to expand your knowledge, develop your personality, and unstuck your life.
A book is a great guide to help you find your calling if you are feeling lost.
13. You Don’t Have to Find Your Way on Your Own
Sometimes it is better to ask for help from a friend or a close loved one who understands us and is willing to lend us their attention.
We can vent, complain, and ask them anything. Their attention is without judgment, without strings, and empathetic.
Having a support system can be like a safety net that ensures that even if we are lost, we can find our way back.
14. Growth is Part of the Journey
Feeling lost means that you are on a journey of self-discovery that may not always look familiar, but it will lead you to find your true purpose.
So take heart in the fact that you are lost, maybe it is your chance to find your own self.
15. We Are All Ignorant About Life
Knowing that none of us have life figured out is a liberating thought because it means that our misery is not special, and we can safely pull that cocoon of victimhood away and face life one challenge at a time.
Many philosophers and thinkers have come and gone grappling with the most basic questions, such as the meaning of life, but no one can say for sure that they have the answer.
In fact, everyone makes their own destiny so one person’s answer will not apply to another.
What Should You Do When You’re Lost?
If you are feeling lost, you need to step back, evaluate your life objectively, and let go of the things that are making you feel stuck.
If it’s your job, a relationship, a habit, or anything else that is holding you back from realizing your potential, you need to let go right now.
If purposelessness is causing you to feel lost then you need to find your purpose.
But that’s often easier said than done. Most people choose what they are passionate about after they hit an existential brick wall in their life that wakes them up.
Another reason why people feel lost is due to their focus on the outcome instead of the process.
The process could be as rewarding as the outcome, but in a bid to instantly gratify our desires, we want to reach our goals as fast as possible.
So when obstacles rear their ugly head, as they so often do in life, we tend to give up at the first sign of trouble.
In process-oriented thinking, we are intrinsically motivated to pursue what we desire.
Finding happiness in the process is the best way to stave off the feelings of drifting through life.
What Causes a Person to Feel Lost?
Here are some common causes that can contribute you to feeling lost:
1. Lack of Direction or Purpose
Not having a clear sense of direction or purpose in life can leave a person feeling adrift and unsure about their path forward.
2. Major Life Transitions
Significant life events such as graduating from school, changing careers, ending a relationship, or moving to a new place can lead to feelings of uncertainty and disorientation.
3. Unmet Expectations
When life doesn’t align with one’s expectations or plans, it can lead to a sense of disappointment and feeling lost.
4. Loss or Grief
Experiencing the loss of a loved one or going through a period of grief can profoundly impact a person’s sense of self and purpose.
5. Lack of Connection
Feeling disconnected from others or not having a strong support network can contribute to feelings of isolation and being lost.
6. Low Self-Esteem or Self-Confidence
A negative self-perception can lead to self-doubt and a sense of inadequacy, making it difficult to find a clear sense of direction.
7. Existential Questions
Contemplating deeper questions about life’s meaning and purpose can lead to feelings of existential crisis and a sense of being lost in the grand scheme of things.
8. Burnout and Stress
Prolonged stress and burnout from work or personal responsibilities can leave a person feeling drained and disconnected from their passions and interests.
9. Comparison With Others
Constantly comparing oneself to others and feeling like they are falling short can lead to feelings of inadequacy and being lost in their own identity.
10. Uncertain Future
Facing an uncertain future, especially during times of economic instability or global crises, can lead to feelings of insecurity and lack of control.
How Do You Get Rid of Feeling Lost?
If you want to get rid of feeling lost then you have to remember that it is a process.
A process of self-discovery and self-reflection.
Take some time to reflect on your feelings and identify the specific reasons why you feel lost. Understanding the root causes can help you address them more effectively.
2. Set Clear Goals
Define specific and achievable short-term and long-term goals for yourself. Having clear objectives gives you a sense of direction and purpose.
3. Explore Your Interests
Engage in activities that you are passionate about. Exploring your interests can help you rediscover what brings you joy and fulfillment.
4. Seek Support
Reach out to friends, family, or a support network. Talking about your feelings with others can offer different perspectives and emotional support.
5. Consider Professional Help
If you find it challenging to navigate your feelings on your own, consider seeking support from a therapist or counselor who can guide you through the process.
6. Limit Comparisons
Avoid comparing yourself to others. Focus on your own journey and progress rather than measuring yourself against external standards.
7. Take Small Steps
Start with small, manageable steps toward your goals. Celebrate each achievement, no matter how small, to build momentum.
8. Practice Mindfulness
Engage in mindfulness practices such as meditation or deep breathing to stay present and reduce feelings of anxiety and uncertainty.
9. Create a Vision Board
Visualize your aspirations and goals by creating a vision board. It can serve as a daily reminder of your purpose and where you want to go.
10. Embrace Change
Recognize that feeling lost can be an opportunity for growth and change. Embrace uncertainty as a chance to discover new paths and opportunities.
11. Stay Positive
Challenge negative thoughts and replace them with positive affirmations. Surround yourself with positivity and uplifting influences.
12. Be Patient With Yourself
Remember that it’s normal to feel lost at times. Be patient with yourself and allow the process of self-discovery to unfold naturally.
What Age Do People Feel Most Lost?
Feeling lost is a subjective experience that can vary widely from person to person.
There is no specific age at which people universally feel most lost. Instead, the feeling of being lost can occur at different stages of life for various reasons.
1. Adolescence and Early Adulthood
Many individuals experience a sense of uncertainty and confusion during their teenage years and early twenties.
This is a period of significant transition, where young people may be navigating decisions about education, career paths, relationships, and personal identity.
2. Midlife Crisis
Some individuals may experience a midlife crisis in their 40s or 50s.
This can be triggered by a sense of dissatisfaction with their current life, a desire to reassess priorities, or a fear of aging and mortality.
3. Retirement or Empty Nesting
For some, retirement or the time when children leave home can be challenging as it brings significant changes in daily routines and roles, leading to feelings of purposelessness or disorientation.
4. Major Life Events
Any major life event, such as loss of a loved one, divorce, or health issues, can lead to feelings of being lost and questioning one’s sense of purpose and direction.
5. Existential Questions
Existential crises can happen at any age when individuals contemplate deeper questions about the meaning of life, their place in the world, and the nature of existence.
When you realize that feeling lost in life is not a permanent state, but it will pass away with a little introspection, discipline, and reading. Just put one foot in front of the other and maybe you will start to feel and think a little clearer after some time.
Don’t play the victim, that will only serve to entrench the feeling. Enjoy the process of discovering yourself and your purpose.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is it called when you feel lost?
Feeling lost is often described as a sense of confusion, aimlessness, or disorientation, where you’re unsure of your purpose or direction in life. It can be a normal part of the human experience and may be triggered by major life changes, such as graduating college, changing jobs, or going through a breakup.
What are the symptoms of being lost?
The symptoms of feeling lost can vary from person to person but may include feelings of anxiety, uncertainty, and lack of motivation. Physical symptoms such as changes in appetite or sleep patterns, as well as feelings of isolation or disconnection from others, may also be present.
What does it mean to be lost in life?
Being lost in life generally means feeling uncertain or unclear about your purpose, direction, or goals in life. It can be a challenging and sometimes uncomfortable experience, but it’s also an opportunity for growth, self-discovery, and finding a new path forward.
Sikandar is opinionated on a diverse set of topics that include, but are not limited to, Productivity, Health, Fitness, Motivation, and Career. He is in love with the written word and writes mainly to help others on their self-actualizing journeys. A journalist by education, getting to the bottom of things is his modus operandi. Often, he finds himself moonlighting as a life coach to his family, friends, and colleagues. He can be reached at his LinkedIn for collaboration.