Sometimes, feeling lost in life is obvious, such as if the first thought you have when you wake up is, “What’s the point in life?”
But often, the signs of feeling lost are much more subtle….
You always feel tired. You toss and turn in bed all night. You can’t maintain healthy habits.
While the fact that you clicked on this article is a sign itself, if you recognize the following nine things in yourself, you’re likely in a period of stagnation and confusion.
But don’t fret, because as I explain at the end of this article – being lost is actually a good sign!
1) You can’t find the motivation to do anything
If you’re feeling lost, your typical day will likely consist of laying on the couch, scrolling through your phone, and watching Netflix.
You’ll struggle to find the energy to do anything productive, such as go to the gym or study.
Even chores feel like such an effort. Washing the dishes tires you so much that you have to spend two hours doing nothing to recover.
According to the Self-Determination Theory, a lack of motivation stems from an absence of positive goals or aspirations.
When you have something to work towards, you feel inspired to do things that will help you progress and move forward.
But when you don’t know what you want from life, you stagnate, repeatedly doing the same meaningless things.
Lack of aspirations and unclear goals is also why you may notice this…
2) Getting out of bed in the morning is increasingly harder
When you know your days are filled with meaning and purpose, getting out of bed becomes much easier – I speak from experience when I say this.
But while I don’t have any problem getting out of bed now, this wasn’t always the case.
Before I discovered my purpose, every morning was a struggle. Not only would I have to set multiple alarms, but I would also have to give myself a pep talk to avoid going back to sleep and getting fired.
And on the weekends, when I didn’t have to get up, I would routinely stay in bed until midday.
Looking back, I cannot imagine wasting an entire morning in bed now. But back then, I felt like my life had no meaning, so there was no reason to get up.
Another reason you may struggle to get out of bed is because of this…
3) You struggle to sleep at night
When you’re feeling lost in life, you get pretty good at distracting yourself during the day with all your unhealthy habits.
So when you eventually get into bed and try to sleep, your inner critic arrives.
When all the distractions are gone, and it’s just you staring at the ceiling, you can no longer avoid the thoughts in your head and the unsettling emotions you’ve pushed away all day.
As a result, you lay awake for hours thinking about all your past mistakes, worrying about the future, and emotionally beating yourself up for not having it all worked out.
Because when you feel lost in life, you struggle with low self-esteem. You feel disappointed in yourself and may even feel self-hatred for letting your life become how it is.
This low self-esteem is why you adopt unhealthy habits, seeking a distraction and an escape…
4) You “escape” through harmful habits
A massive sign of feeling lost in life is a lack of hobbies and healthy habits. If this is you, you likely don’t spend your evenings going to a yoga class, studying a language, or drawing.
Instead, you’ll turn to something unhealthy, such as:
- Taking drugs
- Binge watching Netflix
- Serial dating
If you think back in your life, it probably wasn’t always this way. Likely, you had hobbies and interests before, but as your depression kicked in, you stopped pursuing them.
According to The National Institute of Mental Health, this is one of the most common symptoms of depression.
Another symptom is changes to your eating habits, which brings me to the next sign…
5) You have an unhealthy relationship with food
Typically, people who feel lost and depressed will have one of these two relationships with food:
- Emotional eating – Turning to food as a comfort or distraction, usually by overeating and making bad food choices.
- Lack of appetite or interest in food – This results in undereating and can cause malnourishment, leading to various health issues.
For me, it was emotional eating.
I would usually be able to hold it together during the week when I was busy with work. But then, during the weekends, when the loneliness and depression seeped in, I would binge on every type of fast food in existence.
The thing with emotional eating is that in those first moments, it makes you feel better. It masks the pain and helps you deal with challenging emotions.
But you ALWAYS end up feeling worse – typically, afterward, when you look around at all the chocolate wrappers, feeling sick to your stomach!
Of course, an unhealthy relationship with food means the following…
6) You’re not taking care of your body
Aside from not feeding your body the proper nutrients, many people who feel lost struggle to maintain a fitness regime.
Either you will never work out or you’ll go through frequent “health kicks.”
You’ll join the gym or start running. However, as you lack motivation, your new health kick will get kicked to the curb after just a few workouts.
When you’ve lost your way, your health becomes bottom of your priority list. As you struggle to find meaning, you can’t see any reason to try to be healthy.
For me, I managed to escape this cycle by finding yoga.
Through practicing yoga, I slowly learned to appreciate and take care of my body, which, in turn, taught me how to manage my thoughts and emotions better.
And talking about the mind…
7) You’re cynical and pessimistic about everything
Looking back, I see that every time I felt lost, I had a negative mindset. I would complain about everything, always looking for the bad in situations and people.
Because I was trying to find something or someone to blame for my lack of contentment, rather than take responsibility.
In contrast, whenever I’ve had a clear direction in life, I’ve always felt positive and grateful.
So, if you struggle to see the many blessings you have or complain without even realizing it, this is a clear sign that you’re feeling lost right now.
8) You hate being alone but struggle to maintain relationships
If you’re feeling lost, you’re likely feeling a sense of emptiness inside. You believe you cannot fill this void yourself, so you look for someone else to do it.
But here’s the thing…
If you have a bad relationship with yourself, you’ll struggle to maintain healthy relationships with others.
As a result, you’ll jump from partner to partner, struggling to make it work with anyone.
Your inability to maintain a relationship will further harm your self-esteem, but you’ll stay in this cycle because it’s better than the alternative – being alone.
Being alone means spending time with the person you detest the most – yourself.
To avoid this, you may get into toxic relationships and spend time with narcissistic people who will further bring you down.
These unhealthy relationships play a role in why you feel the following way…
9) You’re either overly emotional or emotionally numb
Does your mood change like the wind, where one minute you feel indifferent and the next you are full of anger or sadness?
If so, here’s why…
You have tons of suppressed or repressed emotions.
Repressed emotions are feelings you unconsciously avoid because they feel too heavy or overwhelming.
Suppressed emotions, however, are ones you consciously avoid because you don’t know how to deal with them.
Research shows when you suppress or repress emotions, you develop an emotional state of numbness. You might notice that you go for long periods without really feeling anything.
However, now and again, the repressed emotions will bubble to the surface, resulting in an emotional outburst.
This could look like getting angry at something minor, bursting into tears for no reason, or suddenly feeling suicidal.
This type of emotional imbalance is a huge sign that:
- You are unhappy with your current life situation
- It is time to make a change
What to do when you’re feeling lost
So, what do you do if you recognize these signs of feeling lost?
Firstly, it’s important to note that you cannot “find yourself” overnight. Getting unstuck takes time and action.
The first step is to switch your perspective.
Instead of seeing this as a sign that you’re destined for failure, see it as an opportunity for growth.
Because here’s the thing….
In order to find yourself, you must first become lost.
As philosopher Henry David Thoreau once said, “Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.”
Right now, you are at the beginning of your journey to greatness.
You have the opportunity to reassess your life, try new things, and take risks – because if you think about it, what do you have to lose?
All you have to do right now is open yourself up to the soul-searching journey awaiting you. Once you take that first step forward, the pieces will slowly start falling into place.