Simply put, suffering from an existential crisis is like being an alien. A person observes this world from an inhuman point of view, not in the way it is accepted in society.
What is an existential crisis?
Most people experience anxiety, depression, and stress as short-term emotions that do not greatly affect their quality of life. But for others, negative emotions provoke deep despair, causing them to question the meaning of their lives. This is called an existential crisis.
This crisis phenomenon has been studied for decades, starting in 1929. But, despite this, you may not even be familiar with this term and not understand how it differs from ordinary anxiety and depression. In simple terms, an existential crisis can be described as a sudden desire to realize what life means and what its meaning is.
It’s okay to look for a purpose in your life, but in an existential crisis, the problem is the inability to find satisfactory answers. For some people, the lack of answers provokes inner conflict, causing frustration and loss of inner joy.
By the way! The term “existential crisis” is rooted in existentialism, one of the schools of thought. The main idea of existentialism is that the world is inherently meaningless, and that man must create his own sense of meaning and purpose.
This condition can affect a person at any age, but most experience internal conflict in the face of difficult situations, struggle for success and self-determination. A crisis can also occur after prolonged and repeated bouts of negative emotions, isolation, or other stressors such as depression or anxiety.
Feelings of depression or anxiety are also normal. However, when they accumulate and do not have a resolution, the person falls into despair about himself, his value and purpose in life.
If you are experiencing anxiety and depression, this does not mean that you have a crisis. These emotions are associated with frustration when accompanied by the need to find meaning in life.
Existential decline is usually accompanied by the following symptoms:
- Depression: It can include loss of interest in activities you love, fatigue, headaches, feelings of hopelessness, and constant sadness. Suicidal thoughts may also arise. Hopelessness in this type of depression is deeply associated with a sense of the meaninglessness of being. You might wonder about the purpose of all of this: “I only live to work, pay the bills and end up dying?”
- Anxiety: Discomfort and anxiety are felt all the time. The person is upset, nervous and preoccupied with the afterlife.
In severe cases, obsessive-compulsive disorder develops, when thoughts about the meaning of life and its purpose “press” on your mind. This can manifest itself in the need to ask questions over and over and in the inability to relax until you get the answers to your questions.
Reasons for the loss of meaning in life
These are the significant life events which result in existential crisis, such as:
- Dying of a close one
- Change of place of work
- Diagnosing a life-threatening disease
- Having a traumatic experience
- Marriage, divorce
- Birth of children
- Age formation and midlife crisis
Individuals with psychiatric disorders such as anxiety, borderline personality disorder, and depression are are more likely to develop this disease.
How to overcome an existential crisis?
It is possible to overcome an unhealthy state, for this you need to search for your goal and the meaning of life (no matter how absurd it may sound).
Here are some tips to help you deal with this:
- Control your thoughts: Replace negative and pessimistic ideas with positive ones. Convincing yourself that all life is meaningless can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Instead, do it to live a more meaningful life. Do what you passionate about, volunteer for projects you believe in, practice compassion.
- Keep a gratitude diary to help you understand that life has more meaning than you think: Write down everything that you are grateful for: family, work, talents, qualities and achievements. Such recordings help overcome negative feelings.
- Remind yourself why your life makes sense: Find the positive sides in yourself, if you find it difficult to see the good in yourself, ask friends and relatives to identify your advantages. What positive impact have you had on their lives? What are your strongest qualities?
- Prioritize your time and find a hobby that can be integrated into your daily routine away from gadget screens: This could be meditation, painting, listening to music, reading, or gardening. You live in a world where information is always at hand, you quickly absorb a huge amount of information, not allowing your brain to digest it. Having your own time, you will allow yourself to “breathe” freely.
And do not expect to find all the answers at once, some questions will never have answers at all. Understand that you do not live in order to find out the answer, but in order to have fun while searching for it.
An existential crisis can happen to anyone, causing many to question the meaning of their existence. Despite the potential seriousness of this thinking model, it is possible to overcome these dilemmas and find a way out of the current situation. Surround yourself with people who can bring you back. Always remember that your time is priceless and that you should only go through life at your own pace.
Something has to “click” in you to reboot and start all over again from a new point of view and a new brewing friendship with yourself. After all, it is impossible to be happy with others without first being happy with yourself.
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