Are you feeling stuck, bored, empty inside? Life used to be energizing as you worked towards that manager role and that big house. Now you have it all but what’s next? We often float through life living society’s expectations. Deep down, we want to make a difference and feel connected to something bigger than ourselves. 

Getting Through an Existential Crisis 

Whether you’re going through a midlife crisis or an existential crisis, you might be questioning everything about how you live your life. Simply put, if we’re not living to our values and if we don’t have passions in our lives, we’ll very soon feel empty. You find yourself craving the need to make a difference. 

What does it even mean to make a difference? If you’re in an existential crisis, you might have gone through a major life change that’s making you question why you’re here. It’s very similar to a midlife crisis when suddenly age reminds us of our mortality. 

So, we make a difference and connect to something deeper. If you want a philosopher’s point of view on how to cope with an existential crisis, consider discovering the fun and wonder in your life. They even suggest skinny dipping on a whim if that’s your thing. Although, interestingly, they suggest that we need to balance impulsive living with ethics. 

Living intentionally whilst searching for joy in life might not seem that obvious. Of course, we all want to do the right thing and be good to those around us. What else can you do to make a difference though? 

3 Ways to Make a Difference 

Everyone has to find their own path. It usually involves talking to friends and family. Although, sometimes we need some ideas to get us started.

1- Volunteer 

How many times have you told others that you’re too busy? We all lead stressful lives that are constantly on the go. Nevertheless, you’ll be amazed at how finding your passion frees up your time. If you’re committed to a cause, you’ll naturally find an extra hour a week to help them. 

Everyone is different so you have to think about whether you want to support humans or animals, local or intentional. Don’t forget you can volunteer remotely and support them with their digital tools. Then again, you can also rally up forces for fundraising in your area to support a remote charity. 

2- Altruism 

Helping increase someone else’s welfare doesn’t just help the other person or animal. It also benefits us. When we give, we also improve our own well-being, happiness and health, as this study shows. Our brains actually change and create more compassionate neural links. 

Of course, that’s not to say that you should go overboard. Wise altruism is the key. So, choose where you want to make a difference, research how they use donations and give only what you can afford. When it comes to giving, everything helps. You’re then rewarded by knowing that you’ve made a difference in someone’s life. 

3- Find your purpose 

Many of us dream of saving the world but having a purpose doesn’t have to be so grand. It can be as simple as wanting to spread compassion. Some people also aim to live an eco-friendly and sustainable life with as little negative impact around them as possible. 

It might sound small-scale but these actions influence others more than you think. That’s how we build momentum and eventually make a difference on a larger scale. 

If you’re not sure where to start, have a look at this Japanese framework, the Ikigai. The idea is to combine what you love doing with what the world needs and what you’re good at. Naturally, you can’t answer all these questions in a few minutes but reflect back on your life and take time to think it through. 

make a difference - adopt a dog

4- Adopt a pet from your local shelter 

There isn’t a more powerful way to make a difference than by saving a life. There are between 6 to 8 million dogs and cats killed every year by shelters in the US alone. They just don’t have the capacity for all those animals. It doesn’t make it right though. 

Consider adopting one of those animals and taking it away from a cage and into a home. As a member of the family, you’ll get never-ending loyalty. Again, animals have also been shown to increase our overall well-being and happiness. Who doesn’t love a good cuddle? 

Then again, ask around and find your cage-free shelters if you can. Those animals need adoption too. 

Make a Difference and Find Joy in Life 

Life can get confusing at times and can easily make us feel empty and depressed. Instead, look for joy and make a difference. Volunteering, giving or even adopting a pet all increase your well-being. You’ll also feel more fulfilled as you join a loving community and save a life in the process. 

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