There are no life plans: how to stop worrying and understand what you want to do

At first, I noticed an increased anxiety in myself. Any event – good or bad – threw me off balance.

I always expected a bad outcome. Then I realized that when something good happens, I don’t fully enjoy it. And now I care less and less about any events in life.

I don’t care what people think about my appearance, I have no plans for my life. I justify it by saying that I am searching for myself, that I am only 22 and not fully grown up yet. I have no idea what to do with my life: I have no talents, inclinations, skills, and no job. It is difficult for me to communicate with people on a physical level, as if talking is unnatural for me. And on the job market, only salespeople who can talk endlessly are needed.

I started a job where I had to communicate a lot with people to develop my communication skills, but it only increased my desire to shut down. I took courses on panic attacks and anxiety. The methods of dealing with them did not help, fortunately, lately anxiety has not manifested itself strongly.

Psychologist’s comment – Why can it be difficult to make plans?

You have nothing to blame yourself for: it seems that increasing anxiety takes more and more strength. Fatigue, apathy, lack of interest in life – these are normal reactions to the constant anxious background.

Anxiety is an extremely energy-consuming process. And in some cases, it can occur almost in a “background mode.” That is, you may not even realize that you are still worrying. It is a protective mechanism of the psyche: if you constantly feel discomfort, over time it becomes less noticeable. You’ve probably noticed that people who live near a source of loud noise, such as an airport, eventually stop paying attention to it.

At the same time, a person may continue to experience somatic manifestations of anxiety: rapid heartbeat, scattered focus, poor sleep, and fatigue remain unchanged. And their psyche undergoes overload.

To determine the true level of anxiety, you need to pay attention to it throughout the day and rate it on a scale of 1 to 10. Your subjective feeling of anxiety is important, there is no point in relying on how others would feel in your place. Remember the most peaceful moment of your life – even a memory from deep childhood will do. This will be your personal unit. You can take a panic attack or any other situation where your anxiety was highest for a ten. If the average level of background anxiety is above 5-6 points, this may be a reason to see a psychiatrist.

The lack of plans and interests that bothers you is most likely also related to anxiety. Due to it, you do not have the energy to explore your talents and abilities. This, in turn, further intensifies anxiety – and there becomes even less energy.

This cycle can be represented as a triangle: alarm → lack of strength for self-exploration → lack of results of self-exploration → alarm.

How to help yourself in such a situation

You can break out of this cycle by severing the connection between any two events that make it up.

The connection between anxiety and the lack of energy for self-exploration. As I understood, you have already tried to eliminate anxiety with special techniques. But it did not work very well.

Think about where your energy goes in general. To understand this, try keeping an energy diary: every couple of hours during the day, write down what you were doing and rate your energy level from 1 to 10. This way, you’ll be able to understand which actions drain your energy and which ones, on the contrary, replenish it. Then you can decide what to do with the results of this self-exploration. For example, you can eliminate from your life what drains your energy. Or you can start doing more often what fills you with energy. Or maybe you will come to the conclusion that your energy level suits you.

I will note only that in the process of self-exploration, it is particularly important to pay attention to the state in which you wake up. If sleep does not bring rest or you suffer from insomnia, feel tired all day – perhaps it is worth considering the possibility of pharmacological support. For this, it is best to consult a psychiatrist.

The connection between the lack of motivation to self-exploration and the lack of results from self-exploration. Somehow there is a stereotype that in order to explore one’s interests, one must undertake some grand actions. Go on a mountain expedition, start a startup, or take up boxing.

But if you lower your expectations towards yourself, you will find out that a minimal resource is needed for self exploration. It is enough to start asking yourself a simple question: “How am I feeling right now?”

If you feel like you don’t want to do anything, try starting with basic bodily desires. Do you want to drink? Maybe you’re hungry? Do you want to use the bathroom? Are you tired?

This can be compared to a computer game: when you pass the first levels of self-awareness, the next ones will be revealed. You will learn to understand what kind of people you want to be with, what activities you enjoy, what kind of clothing you like, and what leisure time you prefer. Your unique life scenario and individuality will be formed by the decisions that suit you.

The link between the absence of results from self-exploration and anxiety. Try to accept the idea that you know as much about yourself as you do. Yesterday you knew less, and tomorrow you will know more. And in this process of self-discovery, you move at your own pace. At the pace that suits you.

Moreover, it is quite possible that you do not notice the devaluation of the steps you take towards yourself. For example, you mentioned that the job that requires communication with people did not suit you. This narrowed down your search for a job that you would enjoy. This was not a failure, but rather an act of self-exploration that yielded an important result.

Moreover, I want to remind you that the concept of choosing a life’s work is outdated. Nowadays, times are different, and most people change their profession several times throughout their life. You have the right to make mistakes in choosing your job – and to change your career choice in the future. And this can be done many times without significant consequences for yourself.