Existential, Modern Stoicism, peace, peacefulness, meditation, balance
with Danny & Randy

Do you feel stressed, overwhelmed, anxious? Does the world sometimes seem crazy…

In episode 151 of The Existential Stoic Podcast, Danny and Randy explore how to find peace in a crazy world. Listen now and start living a more balanced, peaceful life.

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Want to discover more? Please check out my related articles: Reducing Friction, Death & Meaning, To Feel Differently, Boundaries, Curiosity & the Wisdom of Socrates, Within Our Control, Meditation & Balance, The Only Proof of Strength, A Formula for Happiness, and Comparisons & Mistakes We Make.

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Existential Stoic Podcast, dobetterwithdan, self help, Motivation, Quick Fix
with Danny & Randy

New from The Existential Stoic Podcast!

Being mindful is about being present and focused. Discover the important role mindfulness can play in your life and learn tips to become more mindful.

Quick Fix 28 – Being More Mindful

Danny and Randy explore how to be more mindful in this Quick Fix.

The Existential Stoic Podcast Quick Fix 28 – Being More Mindful – Available wherever you get your podcasts!

Listen to any ESP Episode or Quick Fix here.

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Want to discover more? Please check out my related articles: Reason & Autonomy in Kant’s Ethics, Imagination, Happiness, and Utilitarianism, Morality & the Individual, Creating Opportunities, Comparisons & Mistakes We Make, Belief as a Noble Risk, Note to Self, Defining a Life Project, Perspective—In Pursuit of Truth, Developing a Positive Mindset, and Understanding Our Relationship to Suffering.

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4 things you can do, Existentialism

If you’ve ever struggled through an existential crisis, you know how difficult it can be. An existential crisis can often come with anxiety and depression. During a crisis, you might suddenly lose interest in things, you can be overwhelmed by a sense of meaninglessness and purposelessness, and you might generally feel lost or adrift.

I’ve struggled with existential crises in my own life. They are difficult and make us question everything about our lives and how we live. I’ve found that there are things we can do to help ourselves work through an existential crisis and emerge on the other side more resilient and better equipped to live a life that is right for us.

4 Things You Can Do When Experiencing An Existential Crisis

  1. Talk to Someone. If you are like me, you are prone to shut down and become silent when you are struggling with something in your life. It’s important, however, to talk with someone about what you are going through. Find a loved one, a good friend, or a counselor whom you trust and with whom you can discuss how you feel and what you are experiencing. It’s important to give voice to whatever is bothering you. When you talk about something, when you say it out loud, you put it out there and lessen your burden. Struggling silently with our problems often only leads to more stress, anxiety, and further difficulties.
  2. Exercise. A daily exercise routine can be extremely beneficial. I recommend a short 20-30 minute walk. Taking a walk takes you out of your normal situation, it can add perspective, and it allows you to use pent up energy. Studies have shown the benefits of exercise. For example, taking a walk in nature can help with anxiety, reduce stress, and it can improve your mood. Not only that, but I often find it is easier to think about something when I remove myself from my normal situation.
  3. Write. I set aside about 10-15 minutes each morning to write. I find writing is extremely useful for working through problems, giving voice to stress and anxiety, and it allows me to reflect on whatever I’m struggling with. Writing is therapeutic and making it a regular part of your day can help improve focus and your mindset. (Check out my writing exercises for additional ideas: #01, #02, and #03)
  4. Meditation. Practicing mindful breathing for 10-15 minutes a day is an important practice that can greatly help your focus, improve your mood, and it can help you feel more relaxed and centered. When you meditate, the important thing is to try to focus on the activity of breathing, on being. Thoughts will no doubt enter your mind, but try to let each thought come and go without attaching to it. If you have time, I find that taking a few minutes after I meditate to reflect on what specific thoughts entered my mind during meditation is a helpful way to work through difficulties and gain insight into whatever is causing me the most immediate stress.   

It is easy to incorporate these four activities into your day. Doing so will help you live better and improve your self-awareness and attitude.

For further discussion of these four activities and related topics, check out The Existential Stoic Podcast, Episode 4: Existential Crisis here.

Thanks for reading. Please subscribe, like, and share.

Want to learn more? Please check out my related articles and posts: Perspective – In Pursuit of Truth, Developing a Positive Mindset – Discovering Small Delights, How to Develop Patience, The Stoic’s Way, How to Face Your Fears – 6 Simple Steps to Realize Your Goals, The Importance of Exploration and Experimentation, Note to Self, Luck, Belief as a Noble Risk, Imagination, and Curiosity, Perplexity, and Wisdom of Socrates.

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Change Yourself, dobetterwithdan

“Man is ultimately self-determining. What he becomes…he has made out of himself.”

Frankl

A few years ago, I attended a program for individuals who were dealing with loss and emotional/psychological trauma. Each morning, the twenty-five attendees would gather in a large room and participate in a meditation class.

The morning meditation classes always ended the same way: The instructor would ask us to visualize somewhere peaceful and calm. She would then lead the class in an exercise where we would imagine ourselves in the place we visualized.

Morning meditation was always followed by a short break, and the attendees usually spent this time outside. On the third day, I noticed one older gentleman (I’ll call him “Frank”) sitting alone, away from everyone else. I could see that Frank’s eyes were red and it looked like he had been crying.

I walked over and sat next to Frank. “Are you okay?” I asked. He wiped his eyes with the back of his hand and looked at me. “I’m okay, thanks,” he replied, “I’ve just been struggling with the mediation classes.”

I nodded, not really knowing what else to do. I assumed he wasn’t struggling with the actual class itself, but with something related to it. When he didn’t explain further, I asked, “What has been giving you trouble?”

Frank explained that when he visualized his calm, peaceful place he imagined himself on the beach with his wife. He imagined himself sitting next to her, holding her hand, the sun warming their faces, and the sound of the waves in the background. His wife had recently passed, unfortunately, and he told me that the problem was that each time he visualized himself in his peaceful, calm place he didn’t want to leave. Frank said it felt like he was saying goodbye to his wife all over again.  

After he finished explaining he looked at me, a fresh tear ran down his cheek, “I know it is silly,” he said, “it’s just my imagination…it just feels so real.” It was obvious he cared deeply for his wife and missed her a great deal. “It’s not silly,” I replied, “our emotions are real and how you feel is real.”

I thought about what Frank said for a few minutes while we sat in silence. Then a possible solution to his problem dawned on me.  

“When we are no longer able to change a situation…we are challenged to change ourselves.”

– Frankl

“Frank,” I said, “have you considered thinking about it differently, about interpreting it differently?” He looked at me, a bit confused, “what do you mean?” “Well,” I replied, “You seem to focus on the separation at the end of the exercise, but there is also a reunion of sorts. What if you thought of this exercise as an opportunity to see your wife again? As an opportunity to say hi…to spend time with her.”

Frank put his cigarette out and looked at me. “You know,” he said, “I can’t believe I didn’t think of that before. Thanks. I’ll try doing that next time.” Frank continued participating in morning meditation. He later told me that my insight had helped him a lot. He was able to interpret his experience differently, to think of it differently, and to turn it into something positive.

Change Your Thinking – Change Yourself

This is not an uncommon occurrence. We find ourselves struggling with something, and it makes us depressed, negative, and sad. We struggle to see it differently. Then, we talk to someone, a friend or family member, and that person offers us the insight of a different perspective on our problem. Suddenly, the solution seems obvious—our eyes have been opened to a different way of interpreting the experience or event that was causing us so much difficulty.

“A world that can be explained even with bad reasons is a familiar world.”

– Camus

Situations like these, situations like Frank’s above, show us that we can potentially have a lot of control over the way we think about and interpret our lives. These sorts of examples demonstrate the power we have as meaning makers to look at things from different perspectives and find ways to resolve our problems by thinking about them differently.

The problem, however, is that in the moment we often find it difficult to see whatever bothers us in a different light. We struggle to see above the wall around us. But it is possible to practice adopting different perspectives. It is possible to experiment, as it were, with meaning. It is possible to change how we interpret something, how we think about it, and climb the wall we’ve constructed.

Challenge

Try to think differently about something that bothers you. Try to apply a different perspective, a different interpretation, and discover the power you have as a meaning maker over your attitude, over the way you think about yourself and how you think about the world. Change your thinking and change yourself.

“When we are no longer able to change a situation…we are challenged to change ourselves.”

– Frankl

Thanks for reading! Please subscribe, like, and share!

Want to learn more? Check out my related articles and posts: Kafka and the Search for Meaning, The Most Important Question, Freedom & Responsibility, What is Strength of Will? – Nietzsche on Honesty and Authenticity, Philosophy Teaches Us, and Are You on the Right Path? – How to live your best life.

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