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Understanding the Quarter-Life Crisis

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You’ve probably heard of the ominous mid-life crisis, right? Having been stereotyped in plenty of movies, it is a transitional period where individuals struggle with their identity and/or self-confidence. But what about the quarter-life crisis?

Studies show that about 10 to 20 percent of middle-aged people suffer a midlife crisis. However, they aren’t the only ones struggling with their identity. There is such a thing as a 25-year-old quarter-life crisis, and it’s estimated that as many as 70 percent of young adults have them.

If you’re interested in understanding the quarter-life crisis, then today’s blog post is for you. Our team of licensed professional counselors and therapists will explain everything you need to know. Keep reading for our best advice for quarter-life crisis sufferers.

Am I Having a Quarter-Life Crisis?

Wondering what constitutes a quarter-life crisis? Usually, it is onset by dramatic life changes or transitional periods. For most twenty-somethings, this includes graduating college, leaving home, and starting life as an independent adult.

Between your 20th and 30th birthday, many “adulting” challenges arise that can leave you feeling overwhelmed and insecure. (Think: career uncertainty, student loan debt, relationship difficulties, etc.) As a result, you might experience heightened feelings of stress, anxiety, or depression.

While feelings of overwhelming uncertainty characterize both the midlife and quarter-life crisis, the latter is far more common. Therefore, if you suspect you might be experiencing quarter-life crisis, you’re not alone.

7 Quarter-Life Crisis Symptoms

If you aren’t sure whether your feelings describe a quarter-life crisis, here are some signs to look for:

1. Impulsive behaviors. 

Like impulsively quitting the job you hate without considering the consequences.

2. Feeling a need for change. 

Maybe you’re experiencing an acute sense that something’s got to give. Maybe you feel like something needs to change, but you’re not sure what that something is.

3. Fluctuating relationships. 

Depending on what triggered your quarter-life crisis, your relationships might be affected. If you are suddenly feeling like you should break up with your significant other or forge a brand-new friend group, you might be experiencing a quarter-life crisis.

4. Difficulty making decisions. 

Sometimes, when there is a lot of pressure to make a decision, it can be even harder to do so.

5. Feeling isolated. 

Going through a quarter or mid-life crisis can feel very isolating. This is especially true if comparing yourself to others is part of your trigger.

6. Feeling directionless. 

This period of your life is characterized by confusion and uncertainty. It’s common to feel like you’re “stuck” during a quarter-life crisis.

7. Depression and anxiety. 

These usually accompany feeling lonely and/or isolated. You might start experiencing burnout at work, or not having the motivation that you used to.

The good news is that a professional counselor (like those here at Fort Wellness Counseling) can help you overcome the quarter-life crisis. Keep reading to learn how.

4 Stages of Quarter-Life Crisis

Usually, quarter-life crises occur in the following 4 stages:

1. The Beginning 

Quarter-life crises can begin gradually, or they can come on suddenly. Either way, an early quarter-life crisis is characterized by feeling stuck or trapped, whether that be in a relationship, job, or something else entirely.

2. The Struggling 

The next phase is grappling with it. During the struggling phase, expect to question everything and feel incredibly isolated. The feeling of being lost will probably ramp up, and it might feel scary to move forward. If you need help coping with such feelings, speaking with a counselor could help. However, scattered throughout the struggling phase are brief glimmers of hope. Eventually, you’ll start to experience good days where you recognize that you will get through this.

3. The Overcoming 

This stage of a quarter-life crisis is where everything starts to lighten up. A professional therapist can help you figure out what changes need to be made, and you will finally begin to make them. As you start to work towards the life you want, you’ll notice that your efforts are beginning to pay off. 

4. The Resolving 

Finally, the quarter-life crisis ends when you’ve gathered your internal resources and found a way to move forward. During the resolution phase, you should find that you’re more confident, energetic, better able to care for yourself, and genuinely more fulfilled.

How to Deal with a Quarter-Life Crisis? 4 Tips

Do you suspect that you or a loved one is going through a quarter-life crisis? Here are some tips for overcoming it: 

1. Get support. 

Quarter-life crises are hard to combat on your own. Speaking with a professional counselor or therapist can help you deal with any emotions you might be experiencing. Additionally, building up a support system of friends and family can help. 

2. Reflect. 

Part of the quarter-life crisis experience is figuring out who you are and what you want out of life. Therefore, taking the time to intentionally reflect on your life goals and direction can help you move forward.

3. Be patient. 

You don’t need to have everything figured out right away. When going through a quarter-life crisis, it is important to be patient and compassionate with yourself. 

4. Try something new. 

A quarter-life crisis is a great time to explore new opportunities and get to know yourself on a deeper level. Use this time to try new things and note what works and what doesn’t. Hopefully, you’ll walk away with a better understanding of yourself.

Best Counselors in Fort Worth, Texas

If you or a loved one is struggling with a mid-life or quarter-life crisis, then speaking with a professional mental health therapist or counselor can help. If you are in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, then our team at Fort Wellness Counseling is the best for the job. 

With over a decade of experience, our therapists have helped hundreds of clients overcome the feelings of anxiety, depression, and uncertainty that usually accompany such a crisis. For that reason, we are confident in our ability to help you. 

We understand that everyone is different, which is why our patient-centered care is tailored to suit your specific needs. From alcohol problems to depression to anxiety, we are here for you. 

Schedule your appointment today.