Existential Crisis

A Guide To Escape From Existential Crisis

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If you’re between the ages of 20 and 100, you’ve probably dealt with existential dread in some manner. It’s woven into the fabric of time and space in some way. However, because existentialist dread is so pervasive, distinguishing between a gloomy mood and a full-fledged crisis can be difficult.

Even in the midst of a generally pleasant, mainly fulfilled life, it’s inevitable to have periods when we doubt our meaning, value, and purpose. This “existential fear” can lead to an “existential crisis” in some circumstances.

The profound concerns of existence generate a dynamic dualism, which interacts to form the operatic framework in which we must function. Is it possible for the flesh and the spirit to coexist? 

Is it possible to live with both deep sorrow and newfound hope?

Is it possible to harness humanity’s misery in order to bring about its salvation? Should everyone strive for perfection or struggle to accept their own frailty? Should I avoid hardship or embrace it? Should I give in to the meaninglessness of my life or do I actively resist humanity’s obvious absurdity?

Today, we’ll talk about how to approach these fundamental concerns with acceptance and curiosity, and discover the meaning and purpose that can help us live better lives.

What is Existentialism?

A generalised feeling of uneasiness and encroaching doubt about your future is the defining feature of existential dread. You’re overcome with a vague sense of disappointment in what life has to offer, as well as a lack of interest in traditional or mainstream ideas of happiness. It’s not exactly sadness, and it’s not quite nihilism, but it’s a way of facing the emptiness and realising that in a world where we may be anything we choose, we all too frequently end up being nothing. It’s the lingering realisation that, despite a lifetime of opportunities, we may never achieve the authentic identity we’ve always desired. It has the potential to make you resentful.

The description is enough to send you to a numb state where only questions arise but no answers. However, there is not just one way to feel existential crisis. Categorised in 5 ways, let’s understand what makes one question his existence. 

The 5 Types of Existential Crisis

Existential crisis of many forms can and do coexist. Having a baby soon after the death of a loved one, for example, can cause a lot of grief and confusion. Every person going through an existential crisis will have a different set of life events and problems to conquer, which in turn create an atmosphere of lostness.

Let us now discuss 5 types of Existential Crisis.

  • Freedom and Responsibility

You have the freedom to make your own choices, which can change your life for the better or worse. Most people prefer this freedom, as opposed to having someone make decisions for them.

But this freedom also comes with responsibility. You have to accept the consequences of the choices you make. If you use your freedom to make a choice that doesn’t end well, you can’t put the blame on anyone else.

For some, this freedom is too overwhelming and it triggers existential anxiety, which is an all-encompassing anxiety about the meaning of life and choices.

  • Death and Mortality

After reaching a particular age, an existential crisis can strike for some. For example, your 50th birthday may compel you to confront the truth that half of your life has passed you by, causing you to reassess your life’s basis.

You might ponder the meaning of life and death, or you might wonder, “What occurs after death?” Anxiety might be triggered by the fear of what comes after death. This type of crisis can also happen when you’ve been diagnosed with a serious illness or when you’re about to die.

  • Isolation and Connectedness

Humans are social beings, even if they appreciate periods of solitude and seclusion. Strong bonds can provide you with mental and emotional support, as well as fulfilment and joy. Relationships aren’t always lasting, which is an issue.

People can become physically and emotionally estranged, and death frequently separates family members. This can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness, making some people believe their lives are meaningless.

  • Meaning and Meaninglessness

Having a sense of purpose and meaning in life can give people hope. However, when you look back on your life, you may feel as though you didn’t do anything or make a difference. People may begin to doubt their own existence as a result of this.

  • Emotion, Experiences, and Embodiment

Allowing yourself to be overwhelmed by unpleasant emotions can lead to an existential crisis. Some people believe that blocking off pain and suffering will make them happy. However, it frequently leads to a false sense of happiness. And life can feel empty if you don’t experience true bliss.

Embodying emotions and accepting feelings of anguish, unhappiness, and dissatisfaction, on the other hand, can lead to personal growth and a better attitude on life.

The Vainest Existential Question: What is My Purpose?

Your inner truth. Your authentic self. Your life purpose. 

Whatever cliche you want to use, we are a generation preoccupied with life with meaning. We’re all ready to find an answer to the existential issue, “Why am I on this godless planet?”

We’re also required to condense our life’s purpose into a single sentence. It should ideally be adaptable enough to include in your Instagram bio, LinkedIn job title, and email signature. You’ll understand what I’m talking about if you’ve ever received a LinkedIn request from a “visionary truth seeker.”

People can have an existential crisis when they begin to ponder what life is all about and what their or the world’s purpose is. It can be a mental block that causes you to seek solutions to life’s big questions.

It’s not unusual to seek meaning and purpose in one’s life. The trouble with an existential crisis, on the other hand, is that you can’t find sufficient answers. The absence of solutions can cause internal tension, resulting in irritation and a loss of inner delight for some people.

Anyone, at any age, can have an existential crisis, although many people have them in the face of a tough situation, such as the struggle to succeed.

But what about us simple mortals who have yet to find our calling in life? Are we relegated to the status of meaningless plebeians, consigned to a life devoid of meaning?

Purposeful living has been linked to higher levels of emotional and mental well-being, improved physical health, and overall life satisfaction in numerous studies. According to certain studies, having a life purpose is a predictor of mortality throughout adulthood. There is no pressure.

The advantages of having a defined purpose are frequently touted. “Let your purpose lead you!” they advise. “You’ll know who your true pals are when you show up authentically!” they offer. They emphasise, “Having a personal brand makes you more appealing to potential employers!”

People who have no idea what their mission is or where to find it are put under strain by this forceful sale. You’re not alone if you’re becoming increasingly aware that you don’t have a pithy one-liner to justify your existence.

So, am I any closer to figuring out what I want to do with my life? Or have I given up and started binge-watching a new Netflix series? I’ll admit that I’ve seen a lot of Bridgerton in the last week. I have, however, come to certain realizations.

It’s not necessary to have a monumental mission. To be deemed important or influential, you don’t have to be inducted into the Hall of Fame or appear on the Forbes Under 30 list.

It isn’t necessary for your goal to be absolute. The things you care about will inevitably change, just like the seasons of life.

To put it another way, living a life without the need for validation can be a wonderful place to start when it comes to overcoming existential crises.

It is not necessary for your goal to be public. Don’t feel obligated to share an “honest and raw” moment with your 238 followers. Your published experiences do not make you who you are.

Your purpose will develop as a result of your daily encounters and struggles. It isn’t just ‘discovered’ after completing a series of online exercises.

Some people believe that a purposeful existence is one filled with love for their wife, family, and children. For some, it may be a career as a politician or activist.

To put it another way, living a life without the need for validation can be a wonderful place to start when it comes to overcoming existential crises.

Existential Dread and Social Media

“Existential dread” has a sinister ring to it. However, if you utilise social media, you should become acquainted with the phrase. Existential crisis (or dread) is a despairing feeling that your life is meaningless and purposeless. We all feel a sense of hopefulness at some point in our lives. However, we’re discovering a link between existential anxiety and social media. In fact, if you use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, or other social networking sites frequently, you could be on the verge of an existential crisis.

It’s hard to think that social media platforms like Facebook have only been around for a little over a decade. Despite the fact that social media is a relatively newcomer to our lives, it has had a profound impact on the way we behave and interact with the world.

For example, rather than relishing life’s small pleasures, we feel compelled to capture, share, and obtain instant approval from our rising numbers of followers. We feel nervous, disappointed, or depressed if the stuff we post isn’t validated by likes or shares. Perhaps we begin to doubt whether our own experiences or viewpoints are valid or important, especially when compared to those shared by our friends on social media.

Why does social media make us feel bad about ourselves?

Existentialism is a philosophical idea that defines how people think about the big concerns in life. We begin our search for meaning and purpose in life by asking questions like “Who am I?” This process, predictably, causes some anxiety, which is quite normal. It’s important to reflect on where we’ve come from, where we’re heading, and what we’re doing in the meantime.

When our search for meaning comes up empty, we experience existential dread. We’re troubled with the feeling that life has no meaning or purpose. We have a sense of being alone and secluded. Our lives are unsatisfactory to us. We’ve been depressed for a long time. Existential dread can be triggered by a severe life event such as trauma, a serious disease, or the death of a loved one. However, everyday events can also set it off. This is where social media comes into play.

We begin to construct curated realities using social media. We share content about the exciting aspects of our life, but we never share the monotonous or less-than-flattering aspects of our lives. As a result, we project a skewed image to the rest of the world. Our social media profiles represent the lives we wish we had rather than the ones we have.

That alone can lead to an existential crisis over time. The rest of the world believes you’re a rock star because of your social media posts. However, you are well aware that your life isn’t quite as exciting as it appears. Instead of getting answers to the question “Who am I?” you get more perplexed and frightened with thoughts like “You’re a fake. Your existence is a  sham” exploding in your head.

But things go even worse. Everything your pals are doing is the same. They’re taking selfies that highlight the amazing things they’re up to in their lives. When you compare those things to the relatively gloomy reality you know you are actually experiencing, despair, anxiety, and an underlying sense of dread result.

In conclusion, social media can be beneficial. However, it has the potential to affect us in ways that we are only beginning to realise.

Finding Meaning In Chaos: How To Escape Existential Crisis

Getting assistance for an existential crisis frequently necessitates a holistic strategy. A combination of self-help methods, finding a support network, and professional treatment can be used to overcome an existential crisis. Depending on your age and life condition, you may need different techniques to overcome an existential crisis. 

Here are a few simple ways to help yourself out of the black box of existentialism:-

  • The Rule of Delayed Gratification

Have you ever noticed why as people become older, they tend to become more serious and less enthusiastic? What happened to their feelings of surprise and awe as children? Life has a tendency to make us weary.

This is why delaying gratification can be such an effective tool for boosting happiness. In the immediate term, studies demonstrate that anticipating a pleasant event, like a trip or concert, makes you as pleased as the event itself. Delaying gratification over time implies that even when you’re old and wrinkled, you can still have moments that steal your breath away.

  • To Your Surprise, Embracing Your Inner Nihilist Helps

Take a look at what’s going on inside your head. What does it feel like inside your brain? Do you spend your days making polarising assumptions and overthinking everything? Everything is either excellent or awful. However, not everything needs to be meaningful. Try to look at the world objectively. It may appear clear cut, but humans are drawn to assigning emotional worth to inanimate objects. Blue skies are preferable to grey skies. Pop is great, but country music is terrible. Younger is preferable to older. In actuality, none of these things are good or bad essentially.

Your attitude regarding them is what transforms it from neutral to suddenly negative or favourable. You can become far less judgmental, neurotic, and hard on yourself if you embrace your inner nihilist and become conscious of the useless value judgments you make about the universe.

  • Self-Awareness Will Take You Towards The Light

Most of us believe that we are inherently nice people, but existential philosophy ace Albert Camus believes that the subject of goodness or badness isn’t really relevant; what we call goodness is actually a form of self-awareness, whereas badness is simply degrees of ignorance. The notion that true freedom can only come when you hold a mirror up to your heart and have the courage to say the complete truth about what you see.

“The soul of the murderer is blind,” wrote Camus in The Plague, “there can be no true goodness nor true love without the utmost clear-sightedness.” Self-awareness becomes one of the most critical aspects of experiencing the best of life. Everything else is blindness.

  • You Really Need To Take Time Off From Social Media

According to a University of Michigan study, the longer you spend on the internet, the more unhappy and dissatisfied you will be with your life. There have been a slew of similar studies, but what sets this one apart is that it eliminates all other possibilities and does not confuse correlation with causation. The outcomes are conclusive. It’s not that unhappy people hang out on Facebook; it’s that Facebook makes them miserable.

  • Accept and Let Go Off Judgement

The way you talk about people, according to psychologist Dustin Wood, is a direct indication of your personality, mental health, and life fulfilment. People who compliment others are more likely to be cheerful and sympathetic. Criticising others has been connected to narcissism, sadness, neuroticism, and antisocial tendencies in people. In other words, negative judgement is a sign of a person’s psychological instability.

When you feel inclined to pass judgement on others, remember that you are projecting something injured from within yourself onto the outside world. Ask yourself why you are concerned about what others do with their body. It’s probably because a part of you believes that everyone should think like you, look like you, and make the same life choices as you in order for those decisions to be legitimate. Allowing others to do whatever innocuous thing they need to do in order to be happy would, ironically, make you happier.

By allowing others to be as flawed and strange as they want, you are accidentally enabling yourself to be flawed as well. You will experience the most tremendous emotional release once you realise that criticising other people is merely a reflection of how you feel about yourself. Give it a go!

Existential Coaching At Your Rescue: Find A Life Coach For Yourself To Fight Off Existentialism

Existential coaching focuses on assisting a person in discovering their own experience of ‘being in the world,’ that peculiar psychic understanding that we are in the world before we are in the world. Such knowledge can be enigmatic, inexplicable, disorienting, and anxiety-inducing at times.

One of the purposes of existential coaching is to help clients become more conscious of their worldview and choices, allowing them to live more authentic lives. It’s about empowering clients to recognise and address underlying anxiety, tensions, and conflicts that might manifest as psychological, emotional, physical, or relational problems, as well as problematic patterns of behaviour.

Life is beautiful, thrilling, and full of possibilities, but it’s also complicated, difficult, and intrinsically uncertain. Every day presents us with the potential to make decisions that will alter the course of our lives for the rest of our lives – yet we are often unaware or fearful of these possibilities. We simply enjoy being at ease and at peace. 

The truth is, people who make the most of their time on this earth, those whom we admire for having truly lived, allow themselves to be exposed to the full range of life’s experiences — “good” and “bad,” pleasurable and unpleasant, success and failure, happiness and anxiety. What we refer to as “a life well lived” is the ability to not just endure but also to appreciate life in all of its forms. And it’s only a matter of making a decision.

It takes courage, a high level of self-awareness, a thick barrier of existential resilience, and a specific set of talents to live life in this way. It needs a positive but realistic mindset, as well as rethinking your definitions of happiness and success in order to move away from never-ending comfort. It will never be easy to live. You can make all the difference with positive psychology, a strong philosophy, and the right coach by your side.

A life coach can assist you in making changes, maximising your potential, becoming more successful, developing resilience against the challenges that life throws at you, feeling more present and fulfilled, connecting with a sense of meaning and purpose, resolving conflicts within and between others, making difficult life and business decisions, or simply understanding, exploring, and pondering what life is all about.

Ted Talks You Can Listen To That Talk About Existential Crisis

  1. Why some of us don’t have one true calling– Emilie Wapnick
  2. Valorie Kondos Field: Why winning doesn’t always equal success | TED Talk
  3. Susan David: The Gift And Power Of Emotional Courage | TED Talk
  4. BJ Miller: What Really Matters At The End Of Life| TED Talk
  5. Kate Bowler: Everything Happens For A Reason and Other Lies I’ve Loved| Ted Talk 

“A period of darkness is essential in order to expand personal awareness. Experiencing sadness and loss makes a person appreciative of life, more tenderhearted, and open to living life as an ecstatic journey of discovery.”

Kilroy J. Oldster

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