How to Cope When Feeling Lost

About Melina Jordan

Melina Jordan is a writer and blog manager at OK to Die™, a self-improvement blog where Dr. Monica Williams-Murphy educates Americans on the importance of preparation for death and dying. Dr. Murphy is a board-certified emergency physician, blogger, public speaker and author of the famous end-of-life decision-making book It's OK to Die™.
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“Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.” ~Henry David Thoreau

Being lost in our life’s journeys is no different from being lost in real life. In some of our road trips, we start out fine until we lose our way and find ourselves unable to go further. When that happens we may panic and feel confused, scared and alone. In our distress and restlessness we become even more unable to find our way back.

CYT Cope When Feeling LostIt is easy to feel lost in our present society that’s heavy on demanding activities, tight schedules and unnecessary expectations. Feeling lost may often come in the following ways:

  • When we’re just passively moving along. When we don’t plan and take control of our situations, we often end up allowing our situations to control our lives instead. Just imagine a coconut nut that’s being tossed around by the ocean having no control over its destiny. This feeling of just coasting along could create a feeling of being lost.
  • When give too much of ourselves in a relationship. When we allow our partners to be the sole center of our universe and they leave, it feels as though the world has caved in on us. Commitment is necessary in any relationship but we shouldn’t give too much of our time, strength and emotions to the extent nothing is left for us.
  • When we find no purpose in what we do. It is natural for us humans to look for the overall purpose in the things we do. It is not enough that we be told to do our jobs and not be able to see how what we do contributes to the overall goal.
  • When we have no real support. Having no person to confide our problems with develops feelings of loneliness. Many relationships today, especially in online social networks, provide no real emotional support because they are too shallow and one-dimensional.
  • When there are too many things in our minds. Feeling lost at work can happen when we have to process more information than we can handle. Sometimes, our worries from outside work can interrupt our concentration too.
  • When we allow media to influence our self-perception. Many TV commercials and newspaper ads create insecurities in us or play on existing ones in order to sell products. Unfortunately, we buy into these fantasies which eventually become our standards for ourselves.
  • When we’re too busy for passion. The heavy demands and repetitive nature of many jobs today also trigger the feeling of being lost in some people. Unless you really love what you do, you’ll burn out eventually and become unmotivated to go to work. If that’s the case with you today, you’ll need to reestablish your sense of passion by engaging in an activity that you really enjoy.

Things to Do When Feeling Lost

If you’re feeling lost today, be it in your relationships, career or any other area in your life, don’t ever give up because getting back on track is completely possible.

Ask for directions. One of the first things we do when we get lost while driving is we stop to ask for directions. It’s the same in our personal predicaments—we ask for directions or help from persons we can count on for sound advice. They could be someone who has been in our situation before, someone who has our best interests or someone who can tell us the truth even if it hurts.

Follow your instincts. We are naturally wired to fight for our survival. We are born with an inner radar that helps us determine the right direction whenever we are experiencing tough situations. When you’re confused, pause and listen to your instincts.

Look for signposts. When no one is there to ask directions from, we keep an eye out for helpful signposts. In dealing with our personal situations, the signposts are individuals whom we do not actively seek advice from. Their help may come in the form of blogs, books and even tips from a career or relationship expert on the radio.

Stop looking in places you’ve already looked in before. When a solution you’re trying out isn’t working, drop it and move to the next one. It’s not worth lingering on if it’s already been proven that it can’t work for you.

Take risks. There are times when our instincts and the people around us are not able to provide the guidance that we need for one reason or another. When that happens, it is time to think outside the box and choose a new path. Take on a new hobby, meet new people or just try things that you’ve never done people.

Finally, know that you are never alone. It is normal to feel lost; most people will actually experience it more than once in the course of their lives. What matters is that you learn from your circumstances.

If you have thoughts, suggestions or reactions about these ideas, please don’t forget to leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you.

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  1. I love getting lost in other peoples problems. When Im stuck I jump right into helping other people and that interrupt to the story in my head of failure or lack really starts to take a different shape =)
    Kael recently posted..Pope Francis is a Game Changer for Religion and The Catholic Church

  2. Its a great time of year to sit back and reflect on where we headed in life. I am a firm believer that it is essential to live a “self-examined” life. To always be learning, challenging yourself and searching for whatever you have defined to be your piece of mind.

  3. That is 100% true. Thanks for the excellent feedback deborah.

  4. Hi Hiten,
    Look For Things To Appreciate And Enjoy Around You.
    Immediately following the event,you may not feel there is anything much worthy of liking or appreciating.Yet if we apply ourselves with a little more balance,and deliberation we can find at least something worthy of appreciation.What this does is that our tendency to compulsive rumination over the event reduces.Something good is available and capable of distracting the stream of our thoughts positively,in that instant.If we care to stay with process there is a gradual,yet assured positive shift from the blanket of negativity swirling around us.
    Thanks
    Mona
    richmiraclefiles recently posted..Tank Up With The Right Emotions

  5. Great idea Melina – so many people out there feeling lost this needs to be said.
    So easy to get ‘lost’ in the system – having to play the role we think we should play is the quickest route to losing track of who we really are.
    ScrewtheSystemJoe recently posted..Red Pill or Blue Pill? Morpheus’s 3 Rules for Living a Greater Life

  6. I just broke up from a long relationship and i must admit that i feel a little lost, reading your article made me feel a little better, thank you!
    Mike recently posted..Hcg drops and feelings of hunger.

  7. One of the most important things for me is to make sure I reach out for support. Sometimes I don’t want to be a burden or don’t want to draw anymore attention to something – but most times once I talk about it I feel better even if nothing else has changed.
    Janine @ BreathOfOptimism recently posted..Positive Life Quotes – December 15, 2013

  8. I think most of us get caught up in a lifestyle or financial gain of a career choice. We don’t focus on what the menial daily tasks consist of and if that is something we could enjoy doing.

    I think a great way to look at things are to focus on some menial tasks that you don’t mind doing each and every day with serious focus and pride. Something you know you could do with conviction every day, then work your way up to the appropriate big picture career choice.
    Kael recently posted..Celebrity Fans of GrowthGuided.com

  9. Hi Melina,

    I have never heard of you before, but by reading y our short biography, of course, it makes me want to know you more.

    As a Life Coach and a Blogger, I can totally relate with everything you say here and I’ve written on similar topics as well.

    It is totally true that the endless repetition of going to a job we don’t like and at times even hate is putting us further and further away from our dreams and an ideal life. As you said, when we get lost while driving, we stop and ask for direction, while in life very few people even think about doing that.

    Nowadays, there are so many tools and personal development people that we can reach out for if we need help. It’s much easier today than it used to be in the past. I would say that today we have no excuse to be lost and stay that way.
    Sylviane Nuccio recently posted..Are You Living Your Life On Autopilot?

  10. Some times I will get lost on purpose as a way to rebuild myself. There was a quote that said, not all those who wander are lost.

    Anyways… Taking risks and trusting my instincts do it for me. I’ve had 5 of these in the past 3 years.
    Sebastian recently posted..The Art Of Being Delusional

  11. Well it’s hard to find ourselves when we’re feeling completely lost. When we experience a loss (death of somebody we love, end of a relationship, job loss) it’s normal to feel the need to cry all our tears. Trying to take control over some areas of our life can be helpful. Many people usually concentrate on work, but it’s necessary to face that loss to accept it and overcome it.
    Feeling lost for other reasons can be scary, because it seems like there’s no real cause. But there is. If we look inside ourselves we can find it. Take pen and paper and wite down what you’d like your life to me, what are your goals, what makes you feel happy, what you’re able to control, for every area of your life (family, friends, health, career, fitness, finances, spirituality, contribution, self-image). Identify the problem, fix that situation and move on. This could be a very long comment, but in short the most important thing is to make up your mind, make clear to yourself what you want and find new extraordinary ways to make you feel good. I started recongnizing what I loved to do and dedicating myself to it. What makes you feel good?
    deborah recently posted..Motivation: 6 tips to keep you enthusiastic and overcome bad days

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