Are you exhausted from rushing through life doing the same monotonous things repeatedly? Perhaps those things that once seemed meaningful now seem vacuous because the passion has burned out!
So let us ask: Do you feel your happiness or pleasures are short-lived? Do you feel lonely and empty from within? Do you constantly look for reasons to live?
If you responded ‘yes’ to all these questions, you are suffering from an existential crisis. While being in that state, you might question yourself, i.e., ‘Why am I here?’ or ‘What’s it all for?’ These questions can haunt you like a soft-wingbeat when suffering from an existential crisis.
Today, in this blog, we will discuss the existential crisis, its types, causes, symptoms, and how to overcome them.
It is vital to note that an existential crisis must be taken seriously. Therefore, if you or any of your friends or family members are suffering from it, it is best to go through this blog so that you can deeply understand the topic.
So, without further ado, let us begin!
What is an Existential Crisis?
An existential crisis is the feeling of uneasiness individuals experience about their freedom and life choice. This feeling often causes people to feel that their life has no meaning or purpose.
Existential crisis tends to arise when people have difficulty adapting to different changes in life. For instance, a college student moving away from home for studies or an adult going through a divorce might feel emotionally vulnerable, leading to an existential crisis.
It is crucial to note that life has its inherent ups and downs, and there is no one who hasn’t experienced depression, anxiety, or stress. But existential crisis elevates these feelings, thereby causing a struggle in people’s lives.
What triggers an Existential Crisis?
Sometimes, an existential crisis might be instigated by significant events, such as:
- Death of a family member/ friend
- Loss of job or a hostile work environment
- Immediate transitions in a person’s life
- The feelings of isolation
- Not being sure of one’s identity
- Health issues
Underlying Causes of an Existential Crisis
The underlying causes of an existential crisis are different for everyone. However, below are some common reasons that trigger an existential crisis. Have a look!
1. A Big Life Change
A major life transition can bring about an existential crisis. People are often comfortable with their plans and targets, but when a change happens, the situation forces them to re-evaluate their direction in life.
2. Experiencing a Loss
Whether there is a loss of a job, the demise of a loved one, or any other kind of loss – it can disrupt your life and make you question the meaning and purpose of life. Each failure or loss can affect everyone differently and, sometimes, majorly.
3. Feeling Isolated
Over time, there is an increased workload, and we all are preoccupied with our daily lives. Overworking and spending most of the time in offices means that there is less time to socialize, connect, and care for one another.
This is why most of us feel isolated and disconnected today and are experiencing an existential crisis.
4. Underlying mental health condition
When mental health signs are present, a person can begin to question the meaning of their existence in the world. Many conditions can be linked to an existential crisis, such as:
- Depressive disorders
- Anxiety disorder
- Substance use disorder
- Personality disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
Signs & Symptoms of Existential Crisis
An existential crisis can be caused due to many reasons. However, below are the signs and symptoms of the same.
- Emotional pain
- Loss of integrity
- Loss of personal values
- Lack of motivation
- Poor decision-making skills
- The feeling of being anti-social
- Health issues
- Remorse towards things you can’t change
Ways to overcome Existential Crisis
Dealing with an existential crisis may take time and effort before you start feeling better. But there is nothing to worry about! There are numerous steps that you can take to overcome an existential crisis. Take a look!
1. Understand your Emotions
Learn to understand your emotions if you continually deny or are confused about your life’s purpose. Instead, acknowledge your emotions as valid and genuine. If you have difficulty in understanding your thoughts and feelings, then it’s best to start by noticing the negative sensations in your body. So, take time to accept your thoughts and comprehend why they are coming back again and again.
2. Re-Evaluate your Life & Priorities
Take time to re-evaluate your life. If you are wondering about your purpose in life, you might be at a pivotal point where you need a transition in your relationships, career, and other crucial situations.
3. Reach out to your social network
Converse with your family and friends about what you are going through. This may make you confident and motivated about your feelings. Also, talking to your loved ones might normalize the experience for you!
4. Feel your feelings
Practicing self-compassion is vital for overcoming an existential crisis. It is common to go through rough phases in life. But at the same time, you must not forget to praise yourself at specific points in life. So, acknowledge your feelings and allow yourself to let them move through you. If you resist negative emotions, they tend to stay longer!
5. Try new things
Get your creative mind to work and engage in activities you have never done! Be open to taking risks; if your mind is telling you to make changes, do your best to implement them. Your life purpose may change, and you might end up being a completely different person. So, don’t resist changes. Embrace as they come along the way!
6. Keep a gratitude journal
Keeping a gratitude journal can add meaning to your life. Writing down your thoughts and feelings, what you are thankful for, and what you want to do in life will motivate you. You will be able to understand your purpose in life and know where you must put your energy, time, and effort. Thus, penning the things you enjoy can help you figure out what changes you need to bring to life.
7. Redirect your energy
With COVID-19, many people’s careers were laid off. This change helped them discern they were channeling all their energy and effort into their jobs. So, when the jobs were gone, it became a crisis.
This is the main reason why redirecting energy is crucial. Your career is a significant part of your life – but it is just a part. Thus, focusing energy on your hobbies and relationships will help you achieve a work-life balance.
8. Don’t dwell upon the past
You can get really anxious and depressed when you start dwelling on the past. Therefore, it is best to keep reminding yourself not to think of the past. Repeat this line – ‘Don’t look back. It is of no use!’
Instead of looking backwards and regretting what’s happened, you must look ahead to the direction you want to take in your life.
9. Optimistic mindset
Having an optimistic mindset is vital to overcome existential crises. Instead of thinking of a crisis as a bad or negative thing, see it as a possibility to make changes that will add to your happiness. Adjusting your viewpoint can change how you perceive the world.
10. Connect with people
An existential crisis can occur when you feel disconnected from people in life. Re-establishing connections can help you feel more grounded. So, reach out to your friends or family. If needed, you must seek professional help as well.
Conversing with the therapist can help you a lot. Psychologists can identify the root cause of your existential crisis and help you conquer it.
Depression, anxiety, and stress are common in today’s world. But when these things significantly grow, they tend to transform into an existential crisis. Therefore, it is vital to acknowledge what you are going through. Know about your feelings, thoughts, and emotions and try to identify why you are having negative experiences.
You must not take existential crises negatively. Instead, take it as a positive experience and try to reconnect with life again! So, try out the steps mentioned above and change your perception of life!