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What Is an Existential Crisis?

https://www.verywellmind.com/coping-with-existential-anxiety-4163485

verywellmind.com

What Is an Existential Crisis?
Existential crisis refers to feelings of unease about meaning, choice, and freedom in life. Find out more what it means to have an existential crisis.

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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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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

History of existential therapy

  • Its origins go back to the existential philosophers of the 20th century, mainly to Jean-Paul Sartre, who declared in 1943 that we are “condemned to be free.”
  • Viktor Frankl wrote M...

Existential therapy has slowly been gaining recognition

In 2016, there were 136 existential-therapy institutions in 43 countries across six continents, and existential practitioners in at least 48 countries worldwide.

Recent studies show the benefits of using existential therapy for patients with advanced cancer, incarcerated individuals, and elderly people residing in nursing homes, among others; a number of meta-analyses have gathered data on its effectiveness.

What is existential therapy

Existential therapy concentrates on free will, self-determination, and the quest for meaning. It views experiences like as anxiety, alienation and depression as normal phases in the human development and maturation.

This process involves a philosophical examination of a person's experiences, emphasizing the person's freedom and responsibility to facilitate a higher degree of meaning and well-being in their life.

Viktor Frankl

"It doesn’t really matter what we expected from life, but what life expected from us."

Viktor Frankl

The Meaning Of Life Using Logotherapy

Logotherapy originated in the 1930s as a counter-response to the prevalent theories of the time, and examines the physical, psychological and spiritual aspects of individuals. .

Its premise is that the strongest motivational force of an individual is to find a meaning in life and it was devised by Prof Viktor Frankl, an Austrian psychiatrist and neurologist.

The Spiritual Dimension of Meaning

Humans normally function on primal reactions like negative self-talk, emotional outbursts and irrational actions based on outside events and circumstances. The lost ‘spiritual’ dimension of meaning is brought forward by Logotherapy.

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The Meaning Of Meaning

The Meaning Of Meaning

The meaning of life generally means the relevance, significance or value of the same.

The quest for meaning is not a simple one, but a rabbit’s hole of further queries, ma...

Terrestrial Vs Cosmic Meaning

The question of meaning can be applied both to the individual (Terrestrial) and the world (Cosmic).

  • Terrestrial meaning tries to offer an answer to the question of the meaning of one’s own life.
  • Cosmic meaning delves into life in general, with religious and spiritual dimensions, looking at the macro-view.

"A Meaning" Vs "The Meaning"

  • ‘A’ Meaning is the fluid, ever-present and ongoing mechanisms of cognition, behaviour and life-cycles.
  • ‘The’ Meaning, on the other hand, is concerned with the integrated reference point inside the individual, helping him or her navigate life.