What are tips to manage existential death anxiety?

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This blog answers:  What are tips to manage existential death anxiety? What are the signs and symptoms of existential death anxiety? What are the causes possible causes of existential death anxiety?

What are tips to manage existential death anxiety?

Some tips to manage existential death anxiety are:

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapies, sometimes known as talking therapies, entail talking with a psychologist or psychotherapist about your emotions and fears. These professionals can assist someone in determining the source of their fear and developing techniques to deal with the anxiety that arises during the day. 

Even talking about anxiety can sometimes help a person feel more in control of their dread. One such psychotherapy is: 

Cognitive-behavioral therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps an individual to control their anxiety by using strategies like relaxation and breathing. It works on the principles of replacing negative thoughts with positive ones.

Exposure Therapy 

Exposure therapy is a type of treatment that involves exposure. The therapy assists a person in confronting their concerns. Rather than hiding their feelings about death or denying their concerns, individuals are encouraged to confront their fears. 

It is carried out by a therapist progressively exposing a person to their fear in a secure atmosphere until the anxiety reaction diminishes and the individual is able to tackle the death anxiety.

Medication

Anti-anxiety medicine may be prescribed if a person is diagnosed with a specific mental health problem, such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Beta-blockers and antidepressants are examples of such medications.

Medicines are frequently most successful when used in conjunction with psychotherapies to manage existential death anxiety. 

While medicine can help in the short term by alleviating panic and stress, long-term use of such medication may not be the best approach. Working with worries in therapy, on the other hand, is more likely to give long-term relief.

Coping through Self Care

Self-care can make a person feel more capable of coping with their anxiety, as well as improve their general mental health. Self-care might include things like avoiding alcohol and caffeine, getting enough sleep, and eating a healthy diet.

An individual’s lifestyle plays a major role in their experience of anxiety. An unhealthy and busy lifestyle usually leads to unhealthy eating, lack of exercise, lack of adequate sleep.

A combination of a well-set diet, exercise, and sleep can help to regulate an individual’s mood and equip them with a favorable coping mechanism.

These coping mechanisms in turn help to get control over once anxiety concerns in a more adaptable manner.

Lack of proper diet, sleep, and exercise can make an individual sluggish, dependent, moody and vulnerable to anxiety attacks.

Relaxation methods

Specific relaxation techniques can help a person clear their mind and de-escalate their concerns while they are experiencing anxiety. 

Deep breathing exercises focusing on specific things in the room, such as counting the tiles on the wall meditation, or focusing on positive imagery are just a few examples to cope with this kind of anxiety.

Even though anxiety can be bought under an individual’s control it cannot be predicted. In such situations, it is necessary that an individual actively carries out relaxation techniques.

These might also include meditation, yoga, and deep breathing which helps to reduce the intensity of anxiety within a short period.

Reaffirm your core beliefs.

Existential dread frequently entails doubting your life’s purpose, especially when a tragedy has thrown your personal values or self-identity into disarray. 

Assume you’ve lately been laid off. Whatever work it was, it supplied a set of activities, tasks, and expectations that shaped a large part of your daily life. Your profession determined at least part of your identity, no matter how chaotic life grew. Maybe you’re a parent or a romantic partner, and your strength in these positions defines your purpose. 

But, because life isn’t always predictable, these aspects of your identity can shift at any time. Existential dread can be triggered by divorce, breakups, or death. Even little setbacks, such as a squabble with your partner or a sensation of being abandoned, can lead to permanent lapses. 

In these cases, think about what matters the most to you. These may be a community, honesty, compassion, kindness, optimism, and respect.

Talk to your family and friends.

When dark, perplexing, and unsettling thoughts arise, confide in individuals you trust. Sharing your existential dread can help you go through your feelings and reduce the strain of having to find an explanation. 

Chances are, everybody you turn to has thought about some of these same issues and has come to terms with them in their own unique way. When you feel most alone and powerless, their wisdom might help you gain perspective and strengthen your sense of connection. 

If you believe your life is meaningless, it may be difficult for you to see how you matter to others. Your loved ones can also assist you. Recognizing how you help and support others helps reaffirm your sense of self-worth and ease out the existential death anxiety.

What are the signs and symptoms of existential death anxiety? 

Anxiety is characterized by a set of signs and symptoms such as:

 

  • Sweating
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sense of choking
  • Complaints of chest pain
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness or Lightheadedness
  • Fear of losing control over oneself and their environment
  • Fear of impending doom
  • Hot or cold flashes
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Increased heart rate

What are the causes possible causes of existential death anxiety?

Some possible and common causes of existential death anxiety include:

  • Increased and challenging situations and demands in day-to-day life.
  • Major changes in family dynamics such as marriage, divorce, death of a loved one.
  • Strain interpersonal relationships
  • Intrapersonal conflicts
  • Ineffective coping mechanisms
  • Comorbid conditions both physical and mental
  • Chronic health conditions
  • Genetic factors
  • Changes in the brain region
  • Overdose of caffeine
  • Prolonged use of medications
  • Significant traumatic experiences in the past or recent times
  • Comorbid mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder or any other phobias.

Conclusion 

Existential death anxiety can be difficult to cope with as we do not hear of it as commonly as other anxieties. Nonetheless, existential death anxiety is normal and it is okay to have these thoughts and feelings. 

As mentioned, there are several solutions to deal with it and it is important to catch it at the right time. One can start out by self-management like self-care, reaffirming values, and speaking to loved ones. 

If it becomes uncontrollable and affects the functioning of an individual then it is preferable to get professional help by going for therapy.

Frequently asked questions: What are tips to manage existential death anxiety?

What causes existential death anxiety?

Existential death anxiety arises from the basic knowledge that all human life comes to an end. It is known as the most powerful form of death anxiety and is believed that language creates the basis for existential death anxiety through communication and behavior. 

What is existential death anxiety?

Existential death anxiety is the belief that everything and everyone ceases after death and nothing goes on or continues in any way or form. 

Is existential anxiety real?

Existential anxiety is a preoccupation of the afterlife or being upset or nervous about your place and plans in life which is experienced and reported by many individuals. 

What factors influence death anxiety?

Many factors influence death anxiety such as age, sex, culture, religion, physical health, and mental health

Citations

https://www.healthline.com/health/existential-dread
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321939

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