What is an existential crisis, and How to overcome it?

What is an existential crisis, and How to overcome it?

Are you exhausted from doing monotonous things every day and rushing through life?

Perhaps, the things which were once meaningful to you mean less now, or you feel burnt out or lack passion?

Do you experience pleasures only temporarily, short-lived, and mainly disappointing?

Or you might feel empty or nauseous, or even sleep-deprived.

If you answer ‘YES’ to any of these, you have an existential crisis!

You might be haunted by questions like ‘Is there a point to this?’ and ‘Why am I here?’ Whatever form your existential crisis takes, there is a way out.

“An existential crisis is a completely normal transitional phase that a lot of people go through,” says psychologist Susan Albers, PsyD.

In this blog,

What is an Existential Crisis?

Types of Existential Crisis

  • Fear and accountability
  • Authenticity
  • Maintaining our integrity
  • The Meaning of Life
  • Isolation and connectivity
  • Illness and Death
  • Major Life Event or Life Stage

Causes of Existential Crisis

  • Unexpected twists and turns
  • Significant life changes
  • Feeling uncontrollable
  • Unhappy with the direction of our lives.
  • Loss

Symptoms of Existential Crisis

  • Existential anxiety
  • Existential depression
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Substance abuse
  • Social activity has decreased.
  • Feeling disoriented and out of control.
  • Worry
  • Emotional Pain
  • Loneliness
  • Lack of motivation

How to identify if you are having an Existential Crisis?

  • You’re wondering what your life’s purpose is.
  • You’re feeling estranged from others.
  • You’re feeling disoriented and befuddled.
  • You believe life is meaningless.
  • You are nervous or depressed.
  • You believe you are stuck in a rut.
  • You Are Concerned About Your Future.
  • You Are Disconnected from Yourself.
  • You have the impression that you are not genuinely alive.

Ways to defeat Existential Crisis

  • Thinking Positively
  • Describe how you feel
  • Rely on family and friends
  • Find pleasure in the little things.
  • Maintain a gratitude journal.
  • Concentrate on what you have control over.
  • Practice Mindfulness and meditation.
  • Reconnect with your life’s purpose.
  • Enroll in a support group.
  • Create agile plans.
  • Consider the Future.
  • Consider Your Achievements.
  • Remain calm.
  • Existential Therapy

Can an existential crisis affect your career?


What is an Existential Crisis?

Unresolved personal conflict can lead to an existential crisis, which causes you to question your place in the world. In addition, being human may be a stressful experience. Every day, we are bombarded with emotions ranging from dread and anxiety to guilt and humiliation. When combined with the various parts of life beyond our control and comprehension, humans might break under pressure and discover themselves in a dark place.

An existential crisis definition is “a collection of feelings and questions about the meaning and purpose of our lives. It is the sense of discomfort that people have about life’s meaning, choice, and freedom. They are unclear on how to respond or which direction to take, which can hurt their lives if these sentiments persist or increase.

Existential crises are sometimes identified as having a bad impact on one’s life. However, people often overlook the beneficial impact they can have. An existential crisis offers them the opportunity to reconnect with their meaning, values, and purpose and with what they want to create in their life. This can assist them in evaluating, planning, and adapting their activities and direction to live the life they choose and will be satisfied with.

Types of Existential Crisis

The word “existential crisis” refers to a broad range of difficulties that can be described or grouped.

Fear and accountability

Existentialism emphasizes that we are all entitled to make choices in life and that with this freedom comes responsibility. However, given your eventual fate of death, your deeds may appear pointless when evaluated in the context of your life. We must all find meaning in our own lives. If this obligation feels too enormous, we may retreat into behaviours that protect us from anxiety.


An existential crisis may push you toward authenticity but also cause anxiety. You may think about how ephemeral your life is and how you live it. When you stop taking it for granted that day, you will wake up alive every day, and you may experience worry and more profound significance. You may realize that your day-to-day difficulties no longer bother you, and all your thoughts, anxieties, and anxiety about the mundane fade away since you are confronted with a far more significant problem.

Maintaining our integrity

In life, we may feel our behaviours are detached from whom we aspire to be. This type of existential crisis can help us review our values and redirect to those that will keep us faithful to the person we strive to be.

The Meaning of Life

Many questions about the purpose of living may arise in your thoughts. Albert Camus, a French philosopher, journalist, and author, claimed that being passionate about something that could otherwise be useless demonstrates a love for life itself. If you can quit attempting to live for the end of the “goal” and instead live for the act of “being,” your life will become about living it fully, choosing honesty, and being passionate. This appears to be the cornerstone of mindfulness meditation in the medical model of anxiety.

Isolation and connectivity

Even if you appreciate times of isolation and solitude, humans are social creatures. Strong connections can provide mental and emotional support, as well as fulfillment and inner joy. The issue is that relationships only sometimes last. People can physically and emotionally move apart, and death frequently separates loved ones. This can lead to isolation and loneliness, making some people feel as if their lives are meaningless.

Illness and Death

When a loved one dies, many people are forced to confront their mortality and ponder the purpose of their own lives. Similarly, if you are suffering from a significant or life-threatening illness, you may have an existential crisis that overwhelms you with thoughts of death and the purpose of life.

Major Life Event or Life Stage

Many people have an existential crisis when they enter a new stage of life, such as transitioning from infancy to adulthood or adulthood to elder living. Graduations, starting a new job or changing careers, marriage, having children, divorce, and retirement can all trigger an existential crisis.

Causes of Existential Crisis

The reasons for an existential crisis differ based on the individual’s life, circumstances, ideals, and goals. However, here are a few causes that could lead to an existential crisis:

Unexpected twists and turns

This is akin to a significant life transition. However, an unexpected turn is an unanticipated transformation that occurs unexpectedly and without warning. For example, our life plans may be paused owing to an unavoidable cause, or we may be dismissed from a job where we believed we were making significant progress.

Significant life changes

This might involve everything from getting your first job to moving to a different nation. Not every major shift will cause an existential crisis. It varies from individual to individual. The significance of a life event in terms of our direction and purpose determines whether or not it causes an existential crisis. If the shift is not in line with – or causes us to question – our goal, we may begin to experience an existential crisis.

Feeling uncontrollable

The loss of control might make us feel like we are in the middle of a raging river current, with nothing to keep us stable and above water. It might make us feel like we don’t own any element of our lives. We feel powerless to move in any direction other than the one the tide is taking us.

Unhappy with the direction of our lives.

This can happen in any situation if we stop to reflect on our lives and realize that we no longer wish to travel in a certain way. For example, we may discover that our current job profile no longer serves our purpose and that we require something new to make us happy.


Whether it is the death of a family member or a split that leaves us feeling crushed, losing someone close to us can produce an existential crisis. This would be especially true if this individual were a cornerstone in our lives.

Symptoms of Existential Crisis

Among the symptoms of an existential crisis are the following:

Existential anxiety

Anxiety differs from daily stress. This type of anxiety can make you uncomfortable and apprehensive about everything, including your existence. “What is my mission, and where do I fit in?” you may wonder.

Existential depression

You may experience familiar sensations of depression during an existential crisis. Some symptoms include losing interest in favoured hobbies, exhaustion, hopelessness, headaches, and chronic melancholy. In the case of existential depression, you may also have existential thoughts or feelings that your existence has no purpose. Hopelessness with this type of melancholy is closely tied to sentiments of a meaningless life.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Sometimes, the significance of life and your mission might weigh heavily on your mind, causing rushing thoughts. Existential OCD occurs when you are obsessed or have compulsions over the meaning of life. It can manifest as the urge to ask questions repeatedly or the inability to relax until you’ve received answers.

Substance Abuse

You may discover drinking more or using other substances to distract yourself from repeated thoughts or make you feel something else.

Social activity has decreased.

We make fewer plans to see our friends and loved ones, and we begin to spend less time developing those relationships, which are critical pillars of our support system.

Feeling disoriented and out of control.

When we lose touch with our beliefs and purpose, we can sometimes feel disconnected from ourselves, as if we are in a dark chamber with no light switch.


We are constantly thinking about the purpose and meaning of our existence, which can hurt our mental health.

Emotional Pain

Other people’s behaviours can cause emotional distress. It could also be the outcome of regret, grief, or loss.


Loneliness is defined as an unwelcome sense of isolation or a lack of connection, whether alone or surrounded by others.

Lack of motivation

Loss of motivation can occur when a person is moving away to school, changing jobs, or experiencing work burnout, the death of a loved one, the end of a relationship, illness, overwhelm, or other major life events.

Despair, Helplessness, Emotional vulnerability and fear, Disturbed sense of integrity, Loneliness, Loss of personal values, Trouble with decision making, Remorse toward things you can’t change, Having difficulty taking action, Addiction or unhealthy substance use, Feeling anti-social, Loss of relationships are some more symptoms of Existential Crisis.

How to identify if you are having an Existential Crisis?

You’re wondering what your life’s purpose is.

Doubting your life’s meaning is one of the most typical symptoms of an existential crisis. If you’re questioning what the goal of it all is, you might be in the midst of a crisis.

You’re feeling estranged from others.

If you’re feeling distant from the people around you, this could signify an existential crisis. If you don’t feel like you belong anyplace or that no one understands you, this is a classic symptom that something is amiss.

You’re feeling disoriented and befuddled.

Feeling confused and lost is another common symptom of an existential crisis. If you feel like you’re merely going through the motions of life, it could indicate that you’re in the midst of a crisis.

You believe life is meaningless.

Feeling as if life is pointless is one of the most profound symptoms of an existential crisis. If you can’t find anything that makes you happy or feel alive, it’s a clue that something is wrong.

You are nervous or depressed.

Anxiety or depression could indicate an existential crisis. If you’re having difficulty coping with day-to-day life, you may be in the midst of a crisis.

You believe you are stuck in a rut.

If you feel caught in a rut, it could indicate an existential crisis. If you find yourself doing the same thing daily with no real purpose or significance, this is a classic sign that you’re in a crisis.

You Are Concerned About Your Future.

If you’re uncertain about your future, you’re experiencing an existential crisis. This is a significant red flag if you are still determining what you want to accomplish with your life or where you envision yourself in the future.

You Are Disconnected from Yourself.

If you’re feeling estranged from yourself, you’re experiencing an existential crisis. This is a common indication of a crisis if you don’t know who you are or what you want out of life.

You have the impression that you are not genuinely alive.

If you feel that you’re simply going through life without truly living, you’re probably experiencing an existential crisis. If you need to accomplish something with your life, it’s time to make some adjustments.

You’re Always Wondering, “Why?”

If you’re continuously asking yourself “why,” you’re probably going through an existential crisis. If you can’t find answers to your questions, it indicates that something needs to change in your life.

Ways to defeat Existential Crisis

Thinking Positively

Believing that life has no meaning or purpose might become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you believe life will end in nothingness, your subsequent decisions and actions will confirm it. Combat those negative, devouring ideas that fill your mind with concerns about your life’s purpose. You may feel the weight of life’s questions lightening up for you if you remind yourself of its optimism and all the fantastic things it has to give. Positive affirmations and chants can assist in lifting the gloomy cloud that is anchoring your existential crises.

Describe how you feel

Don’t keep things bottled up or dismiss your feelings. It is essential to pay attention to what this crisis is saying and why it is occurring. You may reap significant benefits if you consider it a friend rather than an enemy. Please write down your ideas and existential questions and analyze them to figure out what they’re trying to tell you.

Rely on family and friends

When facing an existential crisis, we need the help of our friends and family. It can make us feel less lonely and give us an external push to help us overcome our loneliness.

Find pleasure in the little things.

When we are in a crisis, everything may be grey, and we may find it hard to relish the things we used to. You’ll be surprised at how much thankfulness can help in these situations. Try jotting down your gratitudes at the end of the day, and find delight in the little things.

Maintain a gratitude journal.

Make a list of everything you’re thankful for using a pen and paper. They might be large or little. You can express your gratitude for your health, your home, or a glass of pure water. This will assist you in reconnecting with your life and your beliefs and purpose.

Concentrate on what you have control over. 

In an existential crisis, it is easy to feel out of control. This is why concentrating on what you have power over may be so grounding. Once you’ve focused on it, assess it and take control of what you can. And let go of the things you can’t control.

Practice Mindfulness and meditation.

This is an excellent method for connecting with your inner self and allowing your thoughts to blossom and be explored. Meditation can help us regain our sense of self-awareness and grounding.

Reconnect with your life’s purpose.

The anxiety that we are living a meaningless life lies at the heart of our existential problems. This is frequently motivated by frustration. Reconnecting with your desire to make a difference in the world could be a watershed moment in your existential worries.

Enroll in a support group.

Connection is the remedy to existential anxiety. Meeting, listening to others, and sharing your story might help you deal with loss, feelings of loneliness, or whatever is causing your existential crisis.

Create agile plans.

Assume that you suffer from anxiety or sadness. In that instance, developing an elegant plan of action that avoids significant setbacks due to unexpected developments may be beneficial. This type of plan will also assist you in setting clear goals and timetables for dealing with the issues creating your existential crisis. As a result, you can lessen your hopelessness and despair about circumstances over which you have no control. Otherwise, you can try another as a learning experience if the first option fails. The idea is to make the most of a poor situation.

Consider the Future.

An existential crisis can cause you to reflect on the past and linger on perceived flaws. When people dwell on the past, they might become quite melancholy. Instead, think about the future, what you can do, and what life goals you still want to achieve.

Consider Your Achievements.

Spend daily focusing on your accomplishments and victories. This can demonstrate that you have accomplished something worthwhile in your life. The crisis could be viewed as an overreaction.

Remain calm.

Existential crises may make you desire to react swiftly and emotionally. Avoid this impulse by remaining calm and deliberate in your actions to avoid overcompensating for the disaster.

Existential Therapy

Existential therapy emphasizes self-awareness, identity, and the fact that anxiety is an inescapable part of the human condition. Existential therapists frequently emphasize responsibility and overcoming bad mental ideas.

Can an existential crisis affect your career?

Not only can an existential crisis harm your work, but it can also disrupt your relationships and home life. While an existential crisis is neither anxiety nor depression, it can create melancholy and worry. As a result, individuals amid an existential crisis may begin to retreat and disengage from folks at work and home, causing previously good relationships to suffer. They may grow unsatisfied with their life and bored with their occupations, resulting in poor work performance and perhaps quitting or retiring early. When you’ve decided that your job has no value, rapidly going to work every day becomes a chore. Creativity may stall, and you may feel utterly despairing that things will ever improve.


An existential crisis can be an extremely isolated experience. It can, nevertheless, be a watershed moment in a person’s life. Finding methods to reconnect is the cure for feelings of detachment, dissatisfaction, and meaninglessness. Understanding the many types of existential crises and what causes them allows you to recognize better when one is occurring and take the required actions to deal with it. Spend time with family and friends, contact a therapist, or even play with your pet. You are not alone, and your life is more important than you realize.







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