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Existential crisis: when we do not find meaning in our lives

Existential crisis: when we do not find meaning in our lives

January 1, 2023

The existence crisis l It is one of those problematic phenomena that seem not to be related to the material conditions that we have to live. It can appear at any time of life, it also affects people with ample economic resources and can even be experienced by apparently successful women and men with a good social image. You can have everything that Western civilization considers fundamental goals of human life, such as wealth, love and knowledge, but the existential crisis will remain there, implacable.

When the old mental schemes no longer serve, the person who suffers an existential crisis feels that he does not know the path he should follow in life, nor can he visualize the goals he has to pursue to achieve personal self-realization. This can be mentally very exhausting and can cause psychological disorders if the situation is not solved correctly. On the contrary, if the individual overcomes this stage of life, he perceives that he has grown as a human being and that he is now another person. stronger and more prepared to face the difficulties that can be presented on a day-to-day basis.

Existential crisis: And now ... what do I do with my life?

The existential crisis manifests itself with intense feelings of psychological distress because the individual begins to question the reasons for their own existence . It can also be said that the existential crisis is, basically, a identity crisis . It happens when everything that we thought was under control ceases to be. Our worldview is clouded in an unexpected way, and our vision of life needs to be updated because it is outdated. Then we ask ourselves: what am I doing here? or What is the meaning of my life? Something that until now we seemed to have very clear.

Almost without realizing it, a new dawn surrounds us, and we have to leave the comfort zone to face the new reality. The existential crises lead us to self-reflection, and we suppose a emotional cost because the resources with which we had always counted are no longer useful. During this period of introspection we question aspects of life that up to now did not worry us too much.

When we feel we do not have enough resources to get out of this existential vacuum , anxiety does not let us sleep until we find the answer, that is, until we find a solution that makes us recover inner peace, and that helps us visualize again the way forward. This road to follow refers to recovering one's identity and commitment to oneself. It is about finding the meaning of our life again.

Consequences of the existential crisis

The existential crisis can cause a radical change in our lives, because it can be an opportunity to reinvent itself and to set new goals . But when the person suffering from an existential crisis enters a negative spiral in which he thinks he does not have the sufficient resources to overcome it, he may end up suffering a serious depression.

Not everyone experiences crises in the same way: some can live it for a few weeks, others a few months and others a few years. Long and intense existential crises often require help from a professional. When the crisis for one's existence is resolved satisfactorily, you feel that you have reconnected with yourself and reshapes his way of thinking. In turn, you can change old dysfunctional habits by some more adaptive ones, and you can get back to wellness.

When the person suffering an existential crisis develops a negative image of himself, the world and the future, and recreates his irrational beliefs about life; or when he has low self-esteem or a lack of confidence in his own resources, he can reach despair, learned helplessness, major depression and even suicide.

When you can not overcome the existential crisis

The way to face the existential crisis is different in each individual, since the way forward to overcome it is a path to personal discovery , so it requires self-will and self-knowledge. Individuals who are caught up in this crisis need to change their view of the world, because they have cognitive schemes that are not adaptive, at least in part. Psychologists can serve as a guide for a person to discover the path for themselves, but they can not offer the answers to the existential crisis, since it has to do with the priorities of each one.

Even so, a psychologist can help your patient to have a more objective view of this situation. For example, a psychologist can be effective in helping an individual to restructure their expectations and to raise more realistic life projects. It can provide tools for acceptance of oneself and the correct emotional management. And it can help develop more effective and adaptive coping strategies that will not only be positive to overcome the crisis, but to empower the patient on a day-to-day basis.

How to Deal with an Existential Crisis - What is Life's Meaning - What's the Point (January 2023).

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