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Coping with Confusion

Posted on 13 December 2017

When you were younger, you inevitably were asked the question "what do you want to be when you grow up." Adults love to ask children this as early as possible to plant in children the idea of future-thinking and hard work, whether they are wholly aware they are doing so or not. And as most of us know the classic answers are doctor, lawyer, astronaut, fire fighter, and occasionally one adorable child responds with "I want to be a princess."

As we get older, this question continues, through early teenage years, into our approach to high school graduation, through our university selection, our major selection, and so on and so forth until we begin opening up conversation with the answer to this question before it can even be asked. There are those few who have their answer to this question figured out, and I do mean few. And then there is the rest of us who are floating about in a sea of uncertainty. This combined with a passion for life and adventure, the desire to be happy and lead a fulfilling life, and balance out money, friends, family, and the other 12,363 things that are on our minds constantly can lead to just one giant blur.

I won't sit here and lie to you and say that I have the answers to these questions in my life because I most certainly do not. And I won't say that I have a handle on exactly how to cope with the daily blur and confusion but I have found some tools and tricks to keep the 'bad feels' at bay, for the most part.

Delete Social Media

As you're reading this, a shudder has just gone through your body and that folks is what we call an addiction. We all spend so much time instagramming, snapchatting, and tweeting every moment of our lives while also tracking the "lives" of various online personalities that appear to lead these perfect lives. I wasn't really a culprit of this until after college and I felt that whenever I was feeling down or lonely or nervous that I turned to instagram to save me from these feelings, and all the sudden I was checking social media more times a day than I could count. Social media does a great job of painting each of us in our best light but what happens when we never see anyone struggling? We think we are the only ones going through a tough time or we start comparing our lives to everyone else. I recently deleted all my social media off my phone for a day and damn was that difficult. But it also forced me to find more productive activities to fill the void.

Practice Mindfulness

I won't get too crunchy-granola on anyone because I know this topic can be a point of discomfort for a lot of people but it really works. The key to this is to really find what works for you. That most likely does not involve sitting cross-legged on the floor with incense burning and a light chant. For some people it might, but mindfulness can take many forms. Mindfulness is about being in the present moment, without veering into the past or the future. And I say practice because it will be an on-going challenge that you may never perfect, which is really okay. There are plenty of resources out in the world to help with this particular area. Personally, I use the Headspace app when I'm not feeling like leaving my house, but otherwise try to find a yoga class nearby. To start, try finding a comfortable position and just listening to soft music for 3-5 minutes and really focus on your breathing, and then build up from there.

Do. Play. Create.

I'm definitely not reinventing the wheel with any of these suggestions here but maybe reading all of them one more time will get through. This one is a lot rolled into one but the theme is really about putting away your technology and actively doing something. Every single person has at least one thing they like to do that doesn't involve a computer or a phone; Dance, build a birdhouse, paint, play football, play a board game, read an actual book, truly the possibilities are endless. Our day-to-day lives are so controlled by technology (I know I'm not the only one that feels phantom vibrations from my phone). Again, I am just as much a culprit of all of these things as anyone but I also know I feel more at ease when I put them all away.

This list could go on for days with all of the different things that help cope with the confusion and the truth is that none of them are an answer to the big questions. But I can promise that more you can clear out the haze and questioning, the sooner you'll come to find whatever it is you have been looking for.

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