What Is an Existential Crisis? - Deepstash
What Is an Existential Crisis?

What Is an Existential Crisis?

Curated from: verywellmind.com

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Having An Existential Crisis

Having An Existential Crisis

The feeling of unease, meaninglessness and hopelessness about life, freedom and life’s choices is referred to as an existential crisis, also called existential anxiety. One feels that the foundations on which their life was built are crumbling.

This feeling arises due to loss of safety and security, transitions and difficulty in adapting, leading one to question the meaning of existence and our place in it. Example: A student moving away from home or someone going through a difficult divorce.


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A Brief History Of Existential Crisis

The phrase ‘existential crisis’ has its roots on the philosophy of existentialism.

Existentialists view life in terms of meaning, freedom, isolation, death and ponder about the choices that are made everyday. They look towards problems and obstacles in a deeply penetrating way, trying to find meaning and purpose of their existence.


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Symptoms And Causes Of An Existential Crisis

Common symptoms include anxiety, depression, isolation, loneliness and obsessive worry. Chronic sufferers of depression, Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and other mental disorders are more prone to an existential crisis.

Causes of an existential crisis can be the death of a loved one, serious illness, entering into a certain age-group, or having a certain traumatic experience.


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Types Of Existential Crisis

  1. Fear And Responsibility: While making a difficult decision, one’s choices and actions come with feelings of anxiety and despair. The person feels overwhelmed and is afraid of the consequences.
  2. Authenticity: An existential crisis can sometimes move us out of our day-to-day, mundane problems as we are faced with a bigger problem.
  3. Major Life Event or Phase: Marriage, divorce, having children, or transforming into an elderly person are major life changes that can trigger an existential crisis.
  4. Death and Illness: When a loved one dies, people are face-to-face with their own mortality. Serious illness can also cause one to have thoughts of death and the meaning (or lack of meaning) of life.


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Overcoming Existential Crisis

  1. Meditation: One can calm the mind and eradicate negative thoughts with meditation and even deep breathing.
  2. Seek Support: Talk to your loved ones or consult a psychiatrist who can prescribe cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or medication if required.
  3. Write It Down: Pulling out a notebook and pen and writing your thoughts can help us ask us relevant questions with ourselves and find answers on coping up with existential crises.


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