How can I overcome the feeling of being overwhelmed

Overcoming life crisis: 5 simple tips

Anyone who goes through a life crisis feels completely helpless. Life goes off the beaten track. There is a lack of goal and orientation. Life crises can hit you at any age. As a life crisis at 50 - as a result of losing a job. Or as a life crisis after a separation from a long-term partner. Such experiences cannot always be avoided in life. It is all the more important to overcome them. Tips on how to cope with life crises ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Definition: what does life crisis mean?

A life crisis is a difficult situation or situation in which we do not know how to deal with it or how it can go on. The term is derived from the Greek verb “krínein”, which stands for “separate” or “differentiate”. This later gave rise to the word “crisis”, which means something like a “decisive turn” or “turning point”. The term life crisis resonates with something existential: the whole of life is turned upside down. Or depends on certain decisions. We don't know where our heads are. Either way, there's a lot of drama in it. Those affected are faced with an unknown situation, can sometimes only deal with it poorly and fear the worst.

Examples of life crises

Life crises are often just one of many stops in life. Examples of such a life crisis can be:

➠ You have been terminated.
➠ Your partner has abandoned you or cheated on you.
➠ You are suffering from a serious illness.
➠ You are extremely indebted.
➠ You survived a serious accident.
➠ A loved one dies.
➠ You question the meaning of your work.
➠ You experience bullying in the workplace.

A life crisis can turn out to be an identity crisis: A job loss can lead to someone questioning their worth. So far, he had defined himself solely through work. But in view of his unemployment, the person has to deal with himself again, his values, interests, strengths and weaknesses. This phase is a time of danger and often excessive demands: What should I do now? What's next? Who can help me?

5 crises that everyone has

The comparison with others can help to recognize that not every life crisis has to be a catastrophe. It is more of a turning point, an indication of a new phase in life. Anyone who changes their view of a life crisis through a new perspective gives themselves the chance to understand crises as something normal that happens to everyone and is therefore part of life.

The experience of failure

A certain jogging route, the final grade in the exam or the lucrative deal with a customer: No matter what - anyone who does not achieve their set goal is disappointed. This applies to all areas of life, both professionally and privately. Anyone who invests time and energy hopes for a corresponding reward. If it does not happen, it dampens self-confidence. Even so, you shouldn't dwell too long on failure. You tried your luck: Whoever fights can lose. If you don't fight, you've already lost. So there was a good chance that things would turn out differently - you should bear this in mind and be proud of your commitment. Next time you'll do better.

The experience of getting older

Everyone wants to get older, but nobody wants to be old - unfortunately, one cannot be done without the other. Age, which comes into focus due to a milestone birthday, can trigger a life crisis - for example in the form of a midlife crisis. Ultimately, however, age does not necessarily play a role. A life crisis can arise at 25, 30 or 40 as well as in childhood or in old age. Personal feelings are different with advanced age. Children often have no sense of time and think that they have an infinite amount of time. Adults, on the other hand, have already mastered one or the other life crisis and sometimes look sadly at missed opportunities. At this point you should make yourself aware that there is no such thing as one path in life. Many roads lead to Rome and some may detour, but they are no less effective.

The experience of mortality

Death used to be part of social life. In times of little knowledge and poor medical care, such as until modern times, death was omnipresent. Not only artistic representations testify to this, but also customs such as laying out loved ones with the family. Since these customs have declined and death has been postponed further and further, an increasingly taboo has taken place at the same time. This contributes to people's fear of death much more. Dealing with grief also makes it difficult to overcome a life crisis - because grief is a feeling that many people like to push aside. But the loss cannot be dealt with in this way.

It is only capped, the feelings pushed into a corner. Acceptance and gratitude, on the other hand, help to overcome the traumatic experience. Acceptance by letting in the feelings. Gratitude by turning your gaze to something else: You were allowed to accompany this person for a certain period of time and to gather certain experiences with them. You would miss all of this if the deceased had never existed or if you had never known them. And finally, the memory of one's own impermanence is a reminder as it is preserved in the original meaning of Carpe diem: namely to experience every day sensually, to be grateful for the positive things that happen to you.

The experience of your own limits

This point is also related to age, but this is not about the psychological, but the physical aspect: the limbs become heavier, the first niggles appear, maybe even more. The body can only be designed according to your own ideas to a limited extent. Even iron discipline cannot prevent wrinkles, hair loss or poor eyesight from occurring. A healthy lifestyle helps in many areas, but it is no guarantee that you will not get sick. Here, too, it is ultimately about acceptance: accepting the things that we cannot change. And to contribute to what we can change - better eating, more exercise and perhaps more appreciation of what our body has to do every day.

The experience of loss

The end of a love is often felt like the death of a loved one. It is an experience of loss. We are left while another person falls in love. Or maybe you've fallen in love with someone who doesn't reciprocate your feelings. The thought of what could have been - or what was - makes you sad. You can deal with this in a similar way to death: Accept the unchangeable. And let go. Confucius once said: If you love something, let go of it. When it comes back to you, it's yours. This sentence is often supplemented: If it doesn't come back, it was never yours.

This shows how much life can be wasted if you mourn the one person. And it hides a central aspect, namely that of self-love. Believing that you are only complete when someone else loves you is a common misconception. Therefore, it is not just about accepting the circumstances, but also about accepting oneself. The desire for recognition and love, however, is completely human and not only related to erotic love for a long time. But instead of longing for its fulfillment from people who can't (or won't) do it, turn to people who love you.

These symptoms reveal life crises

Not everyone has direct access to their feelings and has learned to ask how they are doing. Or to reflect on your own actions. Some have a vague feeling that something is wrong. But helplessness is not recognized as such and the problem is not addressed. Also, some people have never learned to solve their problems constructively and have adopted negative mechanisms for coping with their problems. In this way, side effects that can be symptoms of a life crisis are not recognized. It can be:

  • Particularly high stress or a life crisis are compensated for with addictive behavior, such as particularly heavy smoking, binge eating, alcohol addiction.
  • Fear of the future, negative thinking and constant brooding preoccupy those affected.
  • The person concerned suffers from insomnia. He has trouble staying asleep or having trouble falling asleep.
  • The overall health is not good, frequent infections, but nothing tangible.

These are just a few of the symptoms that can indicate a life crisis. Further symptoms, including physical ones, can appear. This depends on whether this crisis can still be resolved through a change in personal attitude or through coaching. Or whether this life crisis has already developed into a depression. The symptoms of depression and life crisis can be quite similar. In the case of depression, the decisive factor for the difference is the duration of certain signs. Only a therapist or psychiatrist can make a serious diagnosis.

Typical phases of any crisis situation

Even if everyone can have a life crisis, dealing with it is always individual. We are seldom prepared for this and so the defense reaction is usually preprogrammed. Scientists divide crises into these four phases:

  1. Phase of denial
    At first glance, those affected are overwhelmed and in shock. It can take hours or days until they realize what happened. Physically, this can translate into dizziness and nausea. What happened is suppressed and denied.
  2. Phase of reaction
    This is followed by feelings of chaos, loss of control and helplessness or even anger. Those affected withdraw, avoid friends and family.
  3. Processing stage
    Little by little, acceptance is growing. The person concerned takes measures or seeks help, for example through professional support or offers of help from the social environment are accepted.
  4. Reorientation phase
    The life crisis is accepted for what it is. The person affected has found ways and means to deal with it and to realign his life. Some draw positive things from it, learn from experience and look to the future with optimism.

What to do in a life crisis

How well you deal with a life crisis depends on your resilience. Some people are thrown off course by small incidents, others emerge stronger from a crisis. And last but not least, that is a matter of will: what you make of it is decisive. This requires realistic optimism and the desire to change something and tackle things independently. How to get out of the life crisis:

See the good in every day

This idea is strongly related to the concept of mindfulness. It is never all bad - there is always something that is beautiful and that is worth living for. Sometimes we lose focus because we are only concentrating on what is not currently working. Pay more attention to your surroundings again and register the pleasant things: this can be a joke with a colleague. The sunny weather that invites you to eat ice cream. The green meadow behind the house. A walk in the forest and the like - nature is generally suitable for fascinating discoveries.

Recognize your own strengths

In an acute life crisis, we develop tunnel vision. This tunnel vision only represents a section of reality and leads us to misinterpret this section as the ultimate truth. With this, everything present is weighted much more heavily and the past is pushed aside. For example, if you drop out of your training because you notice that you are not interested in the content, you might be tempted to think that you can do nothing. That this is the biggest mistake in human history and so on.

But this feeling is only so strong in the acute situation. It is decreasing again. After a while, you should become aware of your own strengths and remember the problems and situations that you have mastered in the past. Then it went on. Do you remember how you proceeded back then, what was good for you. Knowing that you have already mastered a lot on your own gives you self-confidence and the confidence to be able to cope with future life crises.

Promote your own well-being

Take the time to identify your own needs and deal with problems, such as through meditation. Do something good for yourself. Not just on a day when you (supposedly) reward yourself with something that is more likely to satisfy an addiction (tobacco, alcohol, food, shopping ...). But permanently, by introducing healthy habits. This can include, for example, cooking without ready-made meals, a more conscious use of food and a greater variety. Or sporting activities in which you move more, starting with jogging or hiking.

Accept the help of others

Some people are too proud or ashamed to accept help from others, and even more so to ask others for help. Admitting that you have reached your limits is seen as a failure. In doing so, it shows self-knowledge to recognize one's own limits.

And who better to admit your supposed weakness to than friends? Indeed, if that is not possible, you should ask yourself whether these people are really your friends? In fact, friendships have to prove themselves in a life crisis. This is where the wheat is sometimes separated from the chaff - but there is also something good about that: nobody needs friends who are not. And on the other hand, there can be people who stand by you, from whom you would not have expected it at all.

Professional help in an emergency

If the feeling of helplessness does not subside in an acute life crisis and you notice that you are reaching the limits of your psychological resilience, you should actively seek help. This can be therapeutic help, but there is also crisis aid in the federal states. Help is also provided by the nationwide telephone counseling service, which can be reached at the following toll-free numbers: 0800 1110111 and 0800 1110222.

Positive effects of crisis phases

A life crisis breaks our routine. Until then everything was splashing along, we felt safe. And the feeling of security is a great asset, which is why no one particularly appreciates crises. In this way, however, a crucial aspect of life crises is misunderstood. They remind us of the value of what we have, even if we lose it:

➠ We also pay attention to the little things again.
➠ We recognize the really important things better.
➠ We find out who we really mean something, who stands by in an emergency.
➠ We learn to pay more attention to our body and its signals again.
➠ We achieve more calm through acceptance and self-acceptance.
➠ We grow beyond ourselves, make the impossible possible.

And finally, looking back, we realize that we are much stronger than we thought. The life crisis has been overcome, life goes on. Sometimes in old ways, sometimes in new - added is a portion of self-confidence that we are not as helpless as we initially thought.

What other readers have read about it

[Photo credit: Karrierebibel.de]