Have you ever felt lost? Have you ever felt like everyone else around you seems to have it all figured out, and like you’re the only one who’s struggling to survive every day? Do you ever doubt your abilities, questioning if you’re talented enough to follow your passions and your dreams? Have you ever felt like there’s a thousand pieces of a jigsaw puzzle scattered throughout your mind, and no matter how you try to piece them together, nothing is making any sense? If you’re feeling like this, you’re not alone. I can almost guarantee you that at some point in everyone’s life, everyone has felt lost, confused, overwhelmed, stressed, and has doubted their abilities and choices in life. So, how can you make it better for yourself? How do you begin to organize and put the pieces together so you can create a beautiful image of what you want your life to be? That’s where I come in to try to offer a few words of advice.

1) Take a deep breath.

Too cliché? Are you simply sick of people telling you this as a means to calm down? I know, I’ve been there myself, but you know what? It’s actually very helpful. Just try to relax the muscles in your body, and take a deep breath in for about 5 seconds through your diaphragm. Hold it for about five more seconds, and then slowly release it through your mouth. Doing this a couple times when you are in the midst of feeling overwhelmed can really do wonders to calm you down. Once you’ve done this, you can now move onto the next step!

2) You don’t need to have everything figured out.

No one has everything figured out. Absolutely no one. Even the people who think they do are either lying to themselves to feel better or trying to trick others into believing that their lives are so great because they themselves are so dissatisfied and don’t want anyone to know. We live in such a fast-paced society where everyone is always trying to put on an act to impress others and to feel important. Society continues to sky-rocket their standards and expectations of people, and it is when we compare ourselves to these standards and when we compare ourselves to others that we run into problems such as self-doubt, insecurities, and fear of failure. If everyone was free to just express themselves and follow their dreams and aspirations in an environment that was more supportive and less competitive, I truly believe more people would go after their goals and live more freely. I’m not saying competition is a bad thing. It can definitely be a main source of motivation to get things accomplished. I just feel that people often get a little too carried away with focusing on being the best at something, as opposed to focusing more on what’s really important: the actual thing itself that the people are trying to do and get accomplished. The bottom line is, it’s ok to not have it all figured out. It’s actually a really good thing! Sometimes the best things in life happen when you least expect them. Sometimes the best opportunities come to you when you aren’t looking. Isn’t spontaneity and going with the flow part of what makes life so beautiful? Every day, you’re free to wake up and live your life the way you want. Sure, you might argue that you need to go to school, go to work, the laundry list of responsibilities could go on and on. But don’t take that as wasted time. If you’re in school, find classes, organizations, and clubs to get involved in that will immerse you in things you enjoy and things that make you happy. Get that dream job that allows you to live out your passions. Spend your free time surrounded with the people who you love, who inspire you, and who make you happy. Spend your free time doing things you have a passion for. Spend your free time doing and discovering what you love.

3) You don’t have to be like everyone else. In fact, please don’t.

The only person you should be is yourself. Sure, other people can influence your personality and interests, but don’t let them determine them. It’s great and fun when other people introduce you to new things, such as new books, music, movies, TV shows, hobbies, etc. But also don’t lose sight of yourself. Don’t feel like you need to like something because the vast majority of people around you like it. Please don’t conform just to blend into the norm. If everyone was exactly the same and liked all the same things, the world would be a very boring and pointless place. We can all influence each other without becoming someone else.

4) Focus on yourself.

Don’t focus your attention on the person who you think is more talented than you. Don’t put yourself down because of the success of another. Don’t not live out your passions and your dreams because you feel like you can never be as good as someone else. If you really want something in this world, go for it! You are talented. You are good at something, actually no, you are good at many things. You have more value and more to offer this world than you think! Don’t waste your time putting yourself down and comparing yourself to others. It’s a trap many people fall into. Instead of doing that, you could be out enjoying life and sharing your talents and gifts with the world. If you know where your interests lie, focus your attention on cultivating them. Get involved and make your dreams a reality. If you’re not sure where your interests lie, there’s a whole world out there for you to explore! There is so much out there for you to discover! The possibilities are infinite! Research, investigate, and find what interests you! Once you do that, you can concentrate your efforts on these interests. Heck, if you’re feeling creative and a little saucy, come up with your own unique ideas, hobbies, and interests and if you feel comfortable and want others to join, share your newfound passion!

5) Enjoy your time with others.

Spending time with all types of people can prove to be very valuable! Have you ever wanted to learn guitar? Have you ever wanted to learn how to film a video? Have you ever wanted to learn how to strengthen your writing abilities? Don’t be afraid to reach out to others! It’s good to know people who have their own unique interests. You all share your interests, learn a lot from each other, and even teach each other new things! It’s an extremely amazing way to broaden your horizons and expand upon your passions while getting to know some very interesting and beautiful people.

6) Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

If you ever feel down and like you need to talk to someone, please don’t keep it bottled up. Ignoring your problems is never the answer. It never works. Sure, you can temporarily put things off and district yourself from your issues, but that won’t make them disappear. They will still be lingering in the back of your mind, growing and getting worse until you make that choice to confront them and come to a resolution. There are so many people who can help you. Family, friends, neighbors, teachers, therapists, etc. Don’t ever feel like your life is over and like no one can help. There is always someone willing to listen. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to someone you know, there are so many mental health hotlines out there that you can call and get guidance from.

I hope that all of this has helped you feel less overwhelmed, and I hope it eased a lot of your worries, anxieties, and doubts. Ultimately, you are the only one who has control of your life. You can do whatever you want! Follow your passions, dream big, work hard, explore and live for what you enjoy! You have the potential for greatness, and you have and will continue to do great things with your life! Just believe in yourself, do what you love, and everything will naturally fall into place.