Existential anxiety is an interesting concept and an intriguing theory as it talks about the presence of anxiety and stress in our lives because we are actually alive. According to the theory, existential anxiety is an all-inclusive type of stress which always stays with us and keeps on nagging us whenever we try to find meaning behind our existence.
Even though the concept is fun, it in no way means that existential anxiety and the stresses, worries and panic that accompanies it are at all fun. There is no doubt that our existence and the fact that we are alive is very encouraging, anxiety caused by the same fact really dampens the encouragement for sure. So, is there any way in which existential anxiety can go away even while we continue to exist?
How Existential Anxiety Works?
Existential angst or anxiety is ambiguous in nature as it makes us feel unhappy and disturbed, makes us feel worried about anything and everything without letting us understand what that is making us unhappy and what is making us worried. Existential angst causes us to start thinking about how it would feel to be nothing and causes us to start being afraid of things which are out of our control.
This type of anxiety has an unspecified nature. It can be said that this anxiety is a result of thoughts that lead to questioning our own existence, our life’s purpose, etc. It won’t be wrong to say that existential angst that causes us to be worried and stressed about anything and everything is our response to fighting with life’s big questions. Questions like:
Where do I belong?
What is the purpose of my life?
Who and what am I?
When we think about these questions, existential anxiety kicks in. While it may cause us to be stressed and worried, it also gives us a chance of finding meaning in our lives.
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Is Existential Anxiety a Serious Problem?
There is a consensus amongst experts that this type of anxiety isn’t exactly a mental issue and therefore, there are no regular treatment options available. Some people actually believe that this type of anxiety only affects people specifically when they start to question life’s purpose and start to look for meaning in their lives. When these questions aren’t in consideration, people don’t suffer from the effects of existential anxiety at all.
For individuals who start suffering from anxiety that starts to affect their lives, the treatment is normally the same as it is for other types of anxiety. Usually, psychologists use talk therapy along with cognitive behavioral exercises in order to offset the effects of existential anxiety symptoms. A few psychologists take into account the individual’s mental state which is currently questioning his life’s purpose and modify their talk therapies accordingly.
Existential therapists believe that for the treatment to work there is no need for the patient to think about his past or even think too much about his present. The treatments actually focus on helping the individual come to terms with the uncertainty of the future and on planning his life in a manner which will help in finding meaning in life.
Getting Rid of Existential Anxiety
Treat Anxiety with Existential Psychology
There is no exact answer to the question of how much existentialism is responsible for causing anxiety since existential anxiety isn’t exactly a psychological belief, it’s a theory. However, during treatments for all types of anxiety, some thought is given to existentialism as well.
Many types of therapies for anxiety actually use existential psychology because it preaches to not give much thought to what has happened in the past and to give importance to taking responsibility of what happens in the future. It helps individuals in realizing that they possess the choice of how they want to make use of their existence.
Maintain a Journal to List Things You are Thankful for
In order to get over your anxiety, there is a need to know things that make you happy and to remember them whenever you start getting anxious and worried. In order to overcome existential anxiety, it’s important that you keep a journal and note down everything that brings you joy. While doing this, also make sure to seek patterns in the things you are grateful for. Is it mostly related with your friends or is it mostly related with a particular job? Once you will notice the pattern, you will start giving more attention to it and as a result, stay happier.
Find Engaging Tasks
Another great way of overcoming anxiety is to indulge in an activity where you forget everything else and feel comfortable, happy and energetic. After finding these tasks, think about how you can do them more often and how you can get more meaning out of them.