What causes an existential crisis

In existentialism, a philosophical trend that arose in Europe in the 20th century, a crisis called a turning point in a person’s life when he is faced with the need to find his main goal and take responsibility for his choice. In a broader sense, an existential crisis is understood as any period during which a person questions the meaning of his existence.

Usually a crisis arises due to important life events:

  • change of job or career;
  • the death of a loved one;
  • diagnosis of a serious or life-threatening illness;
  • reaching a certain age, such as 40, 50 or 65 years;
  • experiencing a tragic or traumatic experience;
  • the appearance of children;
  • marriage or divorce.

These events are often associated with anxiety about death. They make a person feel as if he is losing the meaning of life and unable to create it.

What feelings does a person experience during this period

During a crisis, you can encounter a whole range of emotions and experiences:

  • anxiety;
  • anxiety;
  • feelings of loneliness and isolation from friends and loved ones;
  • lack of motivation;
  • regrets about previous decisions.

You you can ask yourself a lot of questions related to the meaning of existence, such as why you do your job. Austrian psychologist Viktor Frankl talked about another sign of an existential crisis – “Sunday neurosis“. It’s the devastation people feel at the end of the work week when they don’t have to deal with urgent matters.

Existential crisis is Not the samethat depression. People in these states may experience similar feelings, but an existential crisis is usually triggered by some important event, and depression rarely occurs for only one reason. Its development bind with a malfunction in the work of neurotransmitters, genetic factors and certain personality traits – for example, low self-esteem.

How to deal with an existential crisis

1. Reconsider the attitude to the situation

Yes, you are going through a difficult period. But you can use the situation to change something in life and become happier. For example, existentialists believed that anxiety is an inevitable part of life that can teach a person important lessons. And the Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard back in 1844 wrotethat without anxiety, people simply cannot develop.

Don’t Ignore Your Emotions – That’s How You Make Them More stronger. In addition, scientists suggest that the suppression of feelings increases the risk of getting cancer and even dying prematurely.

2. Keep a gratitude journal

You may feel like nothing good is happening around you. But this is certainly not the case. Keep a gratitude journal — write down in it what makes you happy and fills your days with meaning. Stick to simple rules:

  • Write regularly. Set yourself a schedule – say, take notes three times a week.
  • Be brief. There should be up to five thanks in one entry. You can mention both small things and important events. It’s okay to write down that it’s your dad’s birthday today and that you drank delicious coffee in the morning.
  • Be specific. Avoid vague statements such as “I am grateful to my colleague.” Instead, write “I am grateful to my colleague who gave a presentation for me when I got sick.”

Gratitude will add optimism and help you have a positive attitude towards life.

3. Communicate more

In a crisis, you may feel alone. But do not fence yourself off from people, but, on the contrary, try to communicate with them more often. Talk to friends and family members – perhaps some of them have had a similar experience and can support you. If difficult feelings do not go away for several months or you have suicidal thoughts, see a psychotherapist. It will help you deal with this situation.

4. Do what makes you happy

Spend time not only on routine activities, but also on what gives you joy, whether it is walking, reading books, or playing with children.

Observe balance between different aspects of life. Then, if something goes wrong in one area, it will be easier to transfer it. For example, if you lose your job, redirect your energy to other things – devote more time to your family or find a hobby.

5. Don’t dwell on what has already happened.

Try not to constantly analyze what you did wrong. Regrets won’t change the past. Instead of digging through memories, think about what you can do now. Imagine in what direction your life should develop. Perhaps this will allow you to decide on specific actions.

6. Don’t expect to find all the answers

This does not mean that they are not worth looking for in principle. But there are simply no clear answers to some questions. A universal explanation of the meaning of life has not yet been invented.

Determine your values ​​- it can be health, love, justice, self-development, fulfillment at work. Understanding what is truly important to you will help you prioritize, make decisions, and move towards the life you dream of.