How to Cope When You're Feeling Lost

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If you’re feeling lost, you may feel disconnected from everything around you. You may wonder what the point of life is and what you should do next. It can feel like your life has no purpose, direction, or movement. This feeling can be confusing and frustrating, and you may wonder what to do with it.

If you’re feeling this way, don’t worry, everyone feels lost from time to time. "It’s a natural emotional process that signals a need for change or an opportunity for growth," says Angeleena Francis, LMHC, executive director for AMFM Healthcare.

This article discusses some of the reasons why you may feel lost, how it can feel, and how to cope if you’re feeling this way.

Reasons Why You May Feel Lost

These are some reasons why you may feel lost:

  • Life changes: Major life changes, such as moving or starting a new job can have you feeling lost because you may not know your way around, have a routine, or have any friends yet.
  • Loss of a loved one: The death of a loved one or the loss of an important relationship in your life can also leave you feeling shocked, sad, angry, and lost. There may be aspects of your life or identity that involve the person you lost and you may wonder how to do things on your own or move forward without them.
  • Setbacks: Experiencing a major setback, such as losing a job or a business or being diagnosed with a health condition can cause you to grieve and feel lost.
  • Lack of a support system: Having close friends or family members in your life can help you feel grounded. Without a support system, it’s easy to feel lonely, isolated, and lost.
  • Disruptions to your routine: A fixed routine helps promote stability and gives you a sense of calm, comfort, and confidence. Disruptions to your routine can leave you lost and struggling to find your footing.
  • Important decisions: If you have an important or life-changing decision ahead of you, you may feel overwhelmed by your thoughts and emotions and unsure of what to do, which can cause you to feel lost.
  • Societal pressure: Sometimes, people’s expectations can put pressure on you, which can cause you to experience a disconnect between what you want to do and what you think you’re expected to do. This situation can be challenging and cause you to feel lost.
  • Suppressed emotions: Experiencing your feelings, whether positive or negative, helps keep you in the present. However, suppressing your feelings and refusing to acknowledge them can cause you to feel lost and disconnected from yourself.

Characteristics of This Feeling

These are some of the emotional and behavioral symptoms you may experience if you’re feeling lost, according to Francis:

  • Crying without knowing why
  • Experiencing mood swings
  • Withdrawing from loved ones
  • Feeling uninterested in your hobbies or things that used to make you happy
  • Being unable to make decisions
  • Feeling overwhelmed by simple tasks or choices
  • Engaging in erratic, impulsive, or risky behaviors
  • Getting irritated at others around you
  • Feeling frustrated at yourself
  • Not feeling excited about the future
  • Feeling like you are merely “going through the motions”
  • Easily giving in to others’ influence
  • Not knowing whether you’re doing something because you want to do it or because you think you should

How to Cope If You’re Feeling Lost

Francis shares some coping strategies that may be helpful if you’re feeling lost:

  • Reflect on your needs: It can be helpful to spend a little time with yourself, asking yourself what’s wrong and why you’re feeling this way. Evaluate your needs and how those needs are being met by your choices and environment.
  • Look for growth opportunities: Think about areas of your life that you would like to change and how you can change things for the better. Though feeling lost is uncomfortable, consider it an opportunity for personal, professional, or emotional growth.
  • Concentrate on your priorities: Focus your time and energy on your priorities and avoid external distractions.
  • Take care of yourself: Make your own needs a priority. Practice physical and emotional self-care.
  • Practice meditation: Meditation and mindfulness exercises can help reduce your stress levels and ground you in the present moment.
  • Keep a journal: Writing down your thoughts in a journal can help you become more aware of your feelings and motivations. Look for patterns between circumstances, behaviors, and the intensity of your feelings of being lost.
  • Say positive affirmations out loud: Positive self-affirmations can help boost your confidence and increase your sense of self-worth. Practice saying them out loud to yourself every day.
  • Reach out to loved ones: Let your loved ones know how you’re feeling and share any concerns you have with them. Discuss any important decisions with them first. Let them know how they can support you. 
  • Distance yourself from unhealthy relationships: Evaluate your relationships and distance yourself from unhealthy dynamics that don’t serve you. Focus only on healthy, supportive relationships.
  • Build a support system: Build a network of supportive, like-minded people, through hobbies, clubs, online platforms, or support groups. Stay in touch with them regularly and be an active part of your community.
  • Maintain a healthy routine: Maintain a daily routine with plenty of exercise, sufficient sleep, and a balanced diet. A healthy routine can help you feel more stable and in control.
  • Seek support: If you’re feeling overwhelmed, lost, or unable to cope on your own, it may be helpful to talk to a mental healthcare provider who can provide guidance and support.

A Word From Verywell

Feeling lost can be upsetting and even frightening because it can feel like you’re alone and out of control. However, there are steps you can take to feel more in control of your life. It’s often helpful to spend time reflecting your feelings and connecting with loved ones. If you need additional support or feel unable to cope, seek help from a mental healthcare provider.

1 Source
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Chifu VR, Pop CB, Demjen D, et al. Identifying and monitoring the daily routine of seniors living at home. Sensors (Basel). 2022;22(3):992. doi:10.3390/s22030992

By Sanjana Gupta
Sanjana is a health writer and editor. Her work spans various health-related topics, including mental health, fitness, nutrition, and wellness.