“I am a teenager and I feel like I don’t have a purpose or direction. Sometimes I get this deep sadness within me. I don’t know how to deal with it, and all I can do is think about it. Has anyone else gone through this? How do I overcome it?”

It sounds to me like you may be on the verge of depression and you may need counselling or some form of intervention. Don’t take that the wrong way. I’ve been there too.

These feelings aren’t often caused by one thing alone. Most times, there are many factors involved in you experiencing this and what councelling does is it gives you the opportunity to clear your mind and make sense of your thoughts.

Here are a few things that really help:

1. Eat well.

Your diet, believe it or not, affects the way you feel… even if it’s ever so slightly. If you spend a lot of time snacking on junk, you are bound to feel worse than someone who’s going through the same thing as you but eats well. So eat proper, regular, healthy meals.

2. Sleep well.

Sleep deprivation can have nasty effects on human motivation and thought processes. It can affect your body chemistry sometimes and basically mess with your head.

3. Exercise.

Even if it’s just for 15mins, adding a daily exercise routine to your lifestyle makes a massive difference to the way you feel. At first it may be hard to get into it but once you do, trust me, you’ll feel a whole lot better.

4. More outdoors, less indoors.

Spending time out in nature helps. I’m not saying you should move into a tent and spend all your time outdoors, but a few mins to an hour a day out in the fresh air helps refresh your system. Sitting in front of a TV or screen for long hours can have negative effects on the way you think and feel.

5. Gratitude.

I think the biggest difference I experienced came when I started writing a gratitude journal. Get a notebook and, everyday, write down some things you are grateful for. It doesn’t have to be anything massive or complicated, and you don’t have to start with a long list. Just start with 5 things, and as time goes by, you can increase the number of things you write down. Trust me, this really helps.

I could go on and on with many things you can do, I could advise you to find purpose, make friends, be open and all that, but the truth is, I understand and I know it’s not something that external factors alone can necessarily change. Believe it or not, I too sometimes struggle with a sense of purposelessness, and although I have a passion for a few things, I sometimes find I’m disconnected and thinking that, in the end, it’s all pointless and meaningless.

What I tell myself is that, although it may be pointless, right now, it helps me feel better, and it makes a difference to someone else’s life. You may not know it, but your existence gives meaning to someone else’s life, and people don’t say it a lot (I don’t know why they don’t, to be honest) but you actually make a hell of a lot more difference in this world than you’re given credit for. It’s just that you don’t know you’re making that difference.

The legacy you leave behind is in the lives that you’ve touched, in the love that you’ve shown to each person that comes into your life, that’s what makes the greatest difference, that’s what shapes the future of generations, not necessarily being remembered for inventing or achieving something great.

Like I mentioned earlier, you might also want to look into counselling just to help with clearing your mind and understanding your thoughts because from what you’ve mentioned, they seem to be really deep.

I hope this helps and I wish you the best of luck.

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