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Is it normal for young adults to feel existential dread and a lack of purpose in their early twenties, and if so, how can I manage these overwhelming emotions?

**Brain development and pruning**: The brain continues to develop and prune connections until the mid-20s, which can lead to feelings of uncertainty and searching for identity.

(Source: Harvard Health)

**Neuroplasticity**: The brain can reorganize itself in response to new experiences, but this process can be slow and lead to feelings of overwhelm.

(Source: Psychology Today)

**Fear and anxiety circuits**: The brain has a default mode network that can trigger fear and anxiety responses, making it difficult to distinguish between realistic and unrealistic worries.

(Source: Science)

**Stress and cortisol**: Chronic stress can lead to increased cortisol levels, which can impair memory and cognitive function, making it harder to manage worries.

(Source: Mindful)

**Grounding techniques**: Using sensory grounding techniques, such as deep breathing and physical touch, can help calm the nervous system and reduce worrying.

(Source: University of Washington)

**Early life experiences**: Traumatic or adverse experiences in early life can shape the developing brain and increase the risk of anxiety and depression.

(Source: Yale University)

**Neurotransmitters**: Imbalances in neurotransmitters like serotonin and GABA can contribute to anxiety and depression.

(Source: Scientific American)

**Cognitive biases**: Biases like confirmation bias and the availability heuristic can distort perceptions and contribute to excessive worrying.

(Source: Harvard Business Review)

**Context-dependent memory**: Memories are stored in context-specific circuits, which can increase anxiety and worrying when faced with similar stimuli.

(Source: University of California, Berkeley)

**Sleep and memory consolidation**: Poor sleep quality and duration can disrupt memory consolidation, leading to increased worrying and rumination.

(Source: National Sleep Foundation)

**Emotional awareness**: Recognizing and accepting emotions, rather than suppressing or denying them, can help reduce worrying and improve emotional well-being.

(Source: University of Michigan)

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