How to deal with Existential Dread? (A Complete Guide)

In this article, we’re going to address different ways in which we can deal with Existential Dread and what is Existential Dread.

Existential Dread can be dealt by focusing on yourself, practicing mindfulness, talking with friends, and more strategies, which will be discussed in detail below.

What is Existential Dread?

The existential dread refers to feelings of discontent about life’s purpose, decision, and independence. If this is an existential dilemma or an existential dread, the key issues are the same: that the idea would be that life is fundamentally useless, that our life has no purpose since there are limitations or constraints to it, and that we would all have to die eventually.

The phrase “existential dread” is rooted in the ideology of existentialism, which concentrates on the direction and significance of life from a general and individual perspective.

Existentialists interpret anxiety differently from psychiatrists and psychologists. Instead of seeing anxiety as an issue that needs to be addressed, they see it as an unavoidable aspect of life that everybody will encounter and something optimistic, but that can educate us on essential life lessons.

They see the fundamental worries of life as mortality, independence, loneliness, and lack of sense. These issues are believed to trigger anxiety and anguish because we’ll never be sure that our decisions are the correct ones because once a decision is made, the substitute must be refused.

Existential dread is the dread of ambling through a hollow life. The pressure of it all pushes you into a vortex shaped and perpetuated by emotions like powerlessness, complacency to the world around you, lack of interest in activities you used to like, insomnia, and more.

An existential dread will reveal itself to be one of the following:

  • Existential Anxiety: The fear or Anxiety of wanting to make sense in a Nonsense-Seeing World
  • Existential depression: depression that occurs with the conviction that nothing you do is significant.
  • Existential dread: Arises when the complexity or absurdity of life becomes too much to handle

It sounds like you may have an existential crisis every single time nowadays. When all seems crazy, useless, meaningless, and you don’t feel like it’s going to change? That’s probably the catalyst for gloomy emotions.

You’re not the only one thinking that way, but the point is to ensure you feel good.

How to Identify if you have Existential Dread?

An individual can experience these symptoms while in existential dread, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Feeling overpowered
  • Exclusion from friends and family
  • Absence of inspiration and energy
  • Loneliness
  • Obsessive concern

There is also an existential dread after significant life events, such as:

  • Transfer of job
  • The Demise of a loved one
  • Detection of a severe or life-threatening disease
  • Entry into a substantial age bracket  
  • Encounter a devastating or traumatic experience
  • To have kids
  • Marriage and separation

Those with the preceding mental health issues could also be more vulnerable to existential dread, although these illnesses do not trigger an existential dread:

  • Anxiety
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Depression
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Types of Existential Dread

“Existential Dread” is an overarching word used to define or link together several types of problems.

Fear and Obligation

Existentialism points out that we are all free to make choices in life, and with this right to make decisions comes responsibility. However, considering the inevitable fate of mortality, your behavior may seem insignificant when perceived in comparison to the broader context of your life.

Existentialists assume that we have this fear or anguish since there is no “right” direction and no guidance to show us what to do. Each one of us needs to make a difference in our own lives. If this burden feels too intense, we can return to methods of acting that protect us from this state of anxiety.

Life’s Purpose

If you’re dealing with existential anxieties, you might be thinking, “What’s the purpose of life?” When you go through changes in life and end up losing the comfort of a recognizable meaning and framework, you might be wondering the meaning of existence if, in the end, you expire. 


An existential dread can drive you in the direction of the truth, which can sometimes cause anxiety. You may have opinions about the fugitiveness of your life and how you live it. If you avoid taking for given that you will wake up healthy every day, you can feel anxiety and a more profound sense.

You may find that all the simple day-to-day problems that have plagued you so much no longer seem to concern, and all the concerns and fears and anxieties about the routine fall apart since you are faced with a much more significant issue.

Life Process

Many people undergo an existential dread as they step through a new period of life, from childhood to adulthood or adulthood to seniority. Significant life events, including graduating, launching a new job or shifting a career, wedding or dissolution, raising children, and retirement, may also lead to existential dread.

How to overcome Existential Dread?

Given that existential dread is linked to knowledge of the inherent limits of life, which are mortality and opportunity, the anxiety of this nature is seen as inevitable instead of debilitating. Because of this, each one of us should find a way to “deal with” this fear, rather than to remove it — or so the existentialists claim.

There are both beneficial and ineffective courses of action to existential dread. One of them is the option to not exist at all or to quit life. A second is to be so involved in your everyday challenges that you really don’t lead an honest life. This is said to give no scope for existential anxieties and also no space for a righteous life. It’s a poor coping or preventive technique, in essence.

Though there is no clear medication for coping with existential dread, therapies might be beneficial. For example, cognitive-behavioral therapy ( CBT) and medication may help treat symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses that may trigger existential anxiety, like suicidal thoughts.

BetterHelp: A Better Alternative

Those who are seeking therapy online may also be interested in BetterHelp. BetterHelp offers plenty of formats of therapy, ranging from live chats, live audio sessions and live video sessions. In addition, unlimited messaging through texting, audio messages and even video messages are available here.

BetterHelp also offers couples therapy and therapy for teenagers in its platform. Furthermore, group sessions can also be found in this platform, covering more than twenty different topics related to mental health and mental illness. The pricing of BetterHelp is also pretty cost-effective, especially considering the fact that the platform offers financial aid to most users.

FAQ: How to deal with Existential Dread?

Does everyone have an Existential crisis?

An existential crisis can impact anybody at any age, but most are experiencing a crisis amid a challenging situation, perhaps even a battle to achieve.

How can existentialism help us?

Existential therapists encourage people to be more conscious of their decisions, their right to make choices, and the implications of their acts. This form of therapy allows people to better understand how they are the “writer” of their lives.