How is it different from anxiety conditions?
People seem to be more anxious these days – overwhelmed, stressed and questioning of how they want to live their lives. Worries and concerns seem more prevalent as we fit so much into our busy schedules. How is everyday anxiety different from existential anxiety or is it related?
Existential anxiety is an inevitable aspect of our condition as human existents. The Existential-Phenomenological perspective questions the assumption of us as fixed identities, instead seeing Self as focal point in relation, i.e. the-self-in-relation (to others, to itself) rather than a fixed or separate entity (Heidgegger 1962, Boss 1963, Spinelli 1994). The Self is not a substance but a verb a potentiality (May 1983). Because of this, we are free to choose our own being. This is the source of existential anxiety, since we have no yardstick against which to judge the rightness of our being – what we believe, how we live our lives, how we see ourselves and others. Everyday anxiety results from the busyness of our minds, often against expectations we may feel are unchangeable. Unquestioned expectations however are the source of inauthentic living since they deny the full responsibility we have for our being. Hence existential anxiety might lurk behind everyday anxiety – hence why traditional relaxation and time management solution often don’t work.
By acknowledging and embracing the presence of existential anxiety, you may find that everyday anxiety is reduced or removed since you become an observer of your own being, rather than focusing on solutions unrelated to the true nature of your distress.