Understanding Existential Dread (and How-to Fight Back)
Do you have an overactive mind?
The type that leaves you staring at your ceiling when trying to sleep but you’re endlessly recapping how you could have dealt with a situation or rehearse what’s to come. A mind that’s filled with self-doubt because the future is uneasy, the present isn’t as you want it, and the past seems like forever ago?
We are all like this.
These thoughts tend to fall into three types:
· Angst – A dissatisfied and worried look on yourself (and overthinking)
· Ennui – A feeling of tiredness and lack of motivation
· Weltschmerz – A sadness that it’ll never be what you want it to be
Welcome, my friend, to existential dread.
The dread we face is only temporary but chronic in nature. It strikes us at our best and worst moments. We become paralyzed and lose motivation to continue.
We can’t stop the fight.
There’s no real way to remove these feelings forever but there are ways to curb them so you can get on with your life and enjoy it all it offers. The following section will share some of the activities you can do to cope with (and fight back against) existential dread.
Feeling Out of It? Try Doing These…
The first thing you must do is to remove the negative activities that affect your mood – the vices. Vices such as smoking, excessive drinking, and other forms of drug use. Vices could also include an addiction to sex, gambling, the Internet, eating, shopping, and video games.
There is treatment and support out there.
Have a drinking problem? Consider checking into an alcohol rehab center to get the care and support you need for on-going recovery. Can’t stop shopping? Join a support group and learn about personal finance and responsibility. There’s a group for everything – you just need to look for it.
The second is to wrap yourself in something to do. Activities which shut off these distracting thoughts and feeling of despair.
Distracting actions could be:
· Catching up with an old friend
· Going for a walk or bike ride
· Watching funny videos or listening to music
Don’t think of this as wasted time and opportunity. You would have been wallowing in self-pity during this time anyway due to the dread so why not use it to pep up instead?
In third is to go for the easy wins.
Much of the dread stems from not being able to accomplish your goals. The reason? These goals are often set so far ahead and beyond reach that they appear impossible. To reach these goals you need to break them down into smaller, achievable chunks. Steps that lead to a long progression forward.
Look at your to-do list, skip #1, and work on the second and third items. The items which could be accomplished this afternoon when you’re not feeling 100%.
Find Your Spirituality
No, this doesn’t have to be giving yourself up to a greater power. Spirituality can come in all forms – it’s what you make of it. It’s about learning about yourself, identifying the triggers, and acting on goals that will bring you one step closer to feeling whole as an individual.
This moment of dread will soon be over.
Yes, it will return but it’s something we all experience – some cope better than others – these people are the ones that understand what needs to be done to fight back.
What are your go-to methods for dealing with existential dread? Share your suggestions and strategies with a comment below.