What is an Existential Crisis and How to Cope

August 30, 2021

In the face of a difficult situation, some people experience what we call an existential crisis.

Existential crisis – what is it?
An existential crisis pertains to feelings of uneasiness towards life’s meaning, purpose, choice, and freedom.

It’s not uncommon to search for life’s meaning and purpose, but for someone with an existential crisis, the problem lies in the inability to find satisfying answers. This leads to inner conflict and frustration.

What causes it?
An existential crisis can occur after a stressful or major life event. This includes a career/job change, death of a loved one, a traumatic or tragic experience, divorce, having children, and entering a significant age category (e.g. 40s, 50s, 60s).

What are the signs and symptoms of existential crisis?
A person experiencing an existential crisis may have a variety of symptoms, including:

• Depression
• Anxiety
• Lack of motivation and energy
• Isolation from family and friends
• Constant and excessive worries
• Feeling overwhelmed

How can one cope with it?
There are ways one can do to work through and overcome an existential crisis.

Change your perspective
This may be a challenging one, but adjusting your viewpoint plays a significant role in coping with an existential crisis.

If you are struggling in doing this, talking to a licensed therapist can help. He/she can offer you guidance and strategies on how to re-frame things in your mind.

Keep a gratitude journal
Your life has more meaning than you think. A gratitude journal can help you see that.

Write down the things that you are thankful for that add meaning to your life. This may help you see things differently and even find areas in your life that you want to change.

Find a support person or group
In many cases, an existential crisis occurs when you feel disconnected from people in your life. Reconnecting with friends and family and/or joining a support group can help you feel more grounded.

Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness is the practice of being in the present moment. It’s the awareness of one’s thoughts and feelings and not letting it affect how you feel towards yourself, the present, and life in general. It will help you realize that not all questions in life have answers and it’s okay.

Meditation is a good way to practice mindfulness.

Redirect your energy
Existential crisis often occurs when something is ‘taken away from a person that helps build that safety and security he/she had. When it’s gone, then the crisis begins. However, when one realizes that it is an opportunity for something better and focuses his/her energy on that, then it can cause a significant life change.

If you’ve tried these strategies and the unpleasant feelings of anxiety and depression still linger, know that you don’t have to deal with this on your own. There’s nothing wrong with seeing a professional for help.

Alternatively, you can also try a non-invasive therapy that works for people with depression and anxiety – TMS or transcranial magnetic stimulation. NeurOasis TMS specializes in that. We offer a non-obligatory consultation to help you determine if it’s for you or not.

Find out if TMS therapy is right for you. Request an appointment by calling (520) 338-2557.