9 Tips That Can Help You Cope With Existential Anxiety

Existential anxiety refers to experiencing a sense of unease or dread about life, the universe, and the role you play in existence. It often entails asking tough questions about mortality, the meaning of life, and the values we embody. Unchecked existential anxiety can significantly affect your quality of life, and it may turn into nihilism, which is the belief that life is entirely meaningless. Coping with existential anxiety can be difficult, but it’s important to keep these gentle reminders in mind.

Embrace the Uncertainty

Some questions simply do not have clear, defined answers. There is an inherent mystery to being alive and feeling uncertain is a normal part of human existence. While this can, at times, be frightening and stressful, learning to let go of needing all the answers can open space for curiosity and joy. When there is less of a need to focus on trying to control everything, it feels easier to surrender to all that is unknown.

Make Meaning Despite the Existential Anxiety

We know that life is short and that nothing in this world is ever guaranteed. Things can and do change in an instant, and we’re all on borrowed time. It can be helpful to focus on making meaning regardless of your current circumstances or fears about what might happen next. Meaning gives life a sense of vibrancy and makes the unknown nature of everything more exciting.

Practice Mindfulness

Anxiety lives in the future and is a natural reaction to worrying about something bad happening. This feeling is adaptive and rooted in our survival. Without anxiety, we would not be the conscious, cognitive people that we are. However, practicing mindfulness can help ease some of the distress you might be facing on a daily basis. The more present you can be during smaller moments, the more deeply you can connect with joy, love, and happiness. This can counteract some of the heaviness existential anxiety can bring.

Connect With Others About Your Feelings

Most people can relate to feeling scared about what the future will bring. The fields of philosophy, psychology, and even facets of religion are centered on life, death, and moral judgment. You are certainly not alone in your fears or distress. Talking about what’s going on may provide you with a sense of relief. It can be validating to know that other people are having similar experiences.

Focus More on Gratitude

Cultivating gratitude doesn’t eliminate the existential feelings you might have about yourself or the universe. But acknowledging what you appreciate is a form of mindfulness that can help you harness more meaning and connection with everyday life. Although nothing lasts forever, it’s important to try to relish what you do have when you have it. In Buddhism, the concept of impermanence of all things refers to the temporary nature of reality. Everything changes, and nothing is ever fixed, but being present with what is good right now is how we make the most of it.

Lean More Into Imperfectionism

Sometimes existential anxiety can inspire people to stop caring as much about things that feel insignificant or draining. For example, you might realize that, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if your house is perfectly clean or if you handled that work call correctly. There may be a greater acceptance of going with the flow or knowing that you don’t need to do it all to live a rich life.

Acknowledge Universal Suffering

The truth is that nobody leaves this planet without experiencing hardship, loss, or emotional pain. Sadness and anger are universal emotions. In addition, most people have regrets about things they should or shouldn’t have done. While it’s okay to reflect on your mistakes or wish you had different circumstances, there can be solace in recognizing that all of humanity struggles. This is simply part of the shared collective experience of what it means to be alive.

Explore Your Spirituality

Some people find that connecting with religion or spirituality helps them feel more grounded in their existential anxiety. You might find that loving something greater than yourself gives you a sense of purpose and offers you a valuable framework for how you want to live. In addition, embracing spirituality may help you feel more connected to the world around you.

Seek Therapy For Existential Anxiety and Existential Depression

Sometimes existential issues feel so overwhelming that they impair your ability to make decisions, enjoy fulfilling relationships, or take care of your emotional well-being. Such issues may correspond with certain mental health conditions like depression or anxiety, but they can also coincide with medical issues, deep feelings of grief or unresolved trauma.

If you are struggling with persistent existential anxiety, therapy may help. Together, we will unpack what’s making you feel most anxious and work on cultivating more self-awareness, self-compassion, and meaning in life. While you can’t “fix” all the unknowns of the future, you can learn to be more present and engaged with what’s right in front of you. I would be honored to support you on this journey.

Contact me today to get started.

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Austin, TX 78759

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