I trust that those who have endured an existential crisis, complete with the deep emotional angst and panoramic despair that inevitably accompany, would be offended if I were so trite as to suggest that I have the solution within these few paragraphs.
Having been through my own two-year period of deep existential angst, I also have ideas in this article that you may find helpful. Here are my suggestions for how to deal with an existential crisis.
Persist. The hardest part for me was to just keep going, attending to the drab details of my life and work, family and chores, all amidst a profound and abiding sense of purposelessness.
However enticing the idea of just giving up and lying on the couch for a few years might seem, it is crucial to keep your life afloat. Real people depend on you. You are alive. Keep going and take care of business.
Live the questions. Who are you? What is the purpose of life? Is there a God? Is there any real meaning? These are questions for the ages. Live them.
This may very well be a purpose to adopt for this period in your life. Of course, a self-adopted purpose may not be meaningful to you right now, as you may be searching for something that doesn’t feel so arbitrary, yet even if the self-adopted purpose of living the questions gives you a 10% advantage over feeling absolutely zero purpose, you are that much better off.
Don’t go material. Most people, at the first dawn of a potential existential crisis, deal with it as quickly as possible by immersing themselves in the material world. A new car. A new man or woman. A new wardrobe or cosmetic procedure.
A new toy this or that. Don’t fall for it. And don’t think you can solve this deepest of all human dilemmas by choosing to believe you are in high school again.
Be proud of yourself. Most people don’t have the guts to endure a true existential crisis, much less learn to deal with it maturely. When you transition out of the crisis and onto other concerns, you’ll be a much stronger, wiser and humbler person, and one with greater clarity than you ever thought possible.
In the meantime, hang onto this: the most intelligent, thoughtful people who have ever lived have ALL dealt with an existential crisis at some point in their lives. Now you join their ranks. It’s a notch on your intellectual gun belt. You’ll have earned it.
Is NLP training appropriate for someone in an existential crisis?
I’d say yes and here is why. NLP can be pretty concrete, especially at the introductory levels. If you’re searching for how to deal with an existential crisis, learning NLP may be very grounding for you. It is full of models, systems, and protocols that will keep your mind focused on the present, structural world.