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More than half of millennials going through 'quarter-life crisis', research finds

Financial difficulties, employment and rocky relationships are all to blame

Sarah Young
Tuesday 13 March 2018 10:41 GMT
Quarter-Life Crisis: How to turn your quarter-life crisis into a quarter-life catalyst

Six in 10 millennials claim to be going through a “quarter-life” crisis, according to a new study.

Many of us are familiar with the trope of a mid-life crisis – a person in middle age who is feeling stuck in a rut, and who reacts by indulging in erratic behaviour like making spontaneous career decisions or buying a motorbike.

But now it seems more and more of us are evaluating our existence far earlier as a new study reveals more than half of millennials are experiencing a “quarter-life crisis”.

The study, carried out by First Direct bank and psychologist Dr Oliver Robinson, aimed to look at how people can use a crisis as a spark for change, but in the process discovered a huge number of 25 to 35-year-olds are struggling to cope amid financial, career and personal pressures.

Analysing 2,000 Brits, the study found that financial difficulties were the biggest single cause, with more than half (53 per cent) of people going through a quarter-life crisis admitting they spend more than they earn each month.

Other pressures include trying to find the right job (26 per cent) or working in a challenging job (24 per cent), trying to get on the property ladder (22 per cent), and being in the right relationship (25 per cent).

The data also revealed that the average millennial claims to have been feeling at rock bottom for more than six months before trying to “sort their life out”.

But according to Dr Robinson, it’s not all doom and gloom.

“There's two sides to a quarter-life crisis,” he said.

“They're often feared as periods of difficulty and distress, but in my experience they can also be times of openness, curiosity and growth.

“People may find old habits and coping mechanisms no longer help in the way they used to, and this can act as a spur to explore new ideas, new activities and new ways of overcoming life's challenges.”

Worried that you’re headed for a breakdown? Luckily, Darain Faraz, careers expert at LinkedIn, has shared his top tips for dealing with a quarter-life crisis:

1. Stop comparing yourself to others

A sure-fire way to bolster the feelings of disappointment and underachievement is to compare your own career trajectory to your peers. Remember that everyone is at a different stage of their journey, so don’t compare yourself to others - whatever your definition of success is and whatever makes you happy is enough.

2. Take a step back and identify the root cause

It’s easy to be weighed down with all of the pressures of work and family expectations, often making you too close to the situation. Take a step back and write down what is making you most nervous, be it saving, not being happy in your current industry or even your personal relationships. This will allow you to address the problem and stand you in good stead to talk to others.

3. Be kind to yourself

Going through a quarter-life crisis can be a difficult process and exacerbated by becoming your own worst critic. Remind yourself that it’s a positive experience that will hopefully enable you make a change and progress, both with your career and with your life, eventually making you happier in the long-run. As you can see from the research, the crisis doesn’t last forever!

4. Talk to others

It’s important to discuss feelings of discontent. Talking to others about certain issues not only helps you rationalise the problem but helps with the solution. Though it’s great that your friends and family are there to support you, it’s also good to get an unbiased point of view, especially from someone who has the experience in your industry.

5. Research

Once you have discussed your situation with the relevant people, it’s important to go away and research your options and most importantly your passions. Whether it’s starting a new career altogether, going travelling or progressing with your current role - it’s necessary to be aware of your possibilities.

Keep up to date with the latest trends, stories and talking points in the world of modern dating by listening to The Independent Lifestyle team's weekly podcast, Millennial Love.

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