The Existential Mind

When existential thoughts are directed towards the self in a punitive-way they have nothing encouraging to say and there is a sense of overwhelm. When your mind wanders to an existential headspace (what is the meaning of life, where do I fit in) it is difficult to focus on the present moment and challenge unhelpful thinking. Existential thoughts directed on a macro level evaluate the way human beings act towards one another, nature, and/or the cruelty of animals. This may be particularly detrimental to a person’s mental health when they believe that they have used up their responses in their coping repertoire and develop maladaptive thinking about their plight. This may be further perpetuated by avoidance behaviours such as disengaging and isolating one-self and/or self-medicating. The values people hold (authenticity, integrity, fairness, kindness) tend to match peoples triggers of anger. One of the strongest factors in fuelling anger and keeping it going is when attitudes and expectations clash with the real world (I need the world to be fair and just).

Existential thinkers acknowledge suffering in the world and imagine a better way. Existential thinkers tend to value the quality of relationship, rather than status and competition. The character strength of transcending provides existential thinkers with meaning, connection and creativity. The social advocates of this world play an important role in the future of our society.


In clinical practice I have often treated symptoms of clinical depression by helping the client to problem solve how they can find meaning, connection and creativity in their individual lives. Clients often report that their day to day functioning (concentration, mood, appetite, sleep etc.) returns to their authentic way of being once this resolution is achieved. Existential thinkers report a distinct difference in which the mind continues to obsessively return to an existential headspace to question the overall meaning of life (beyond the individual self) and they report not being able to find peace without answering this question. Please find below a collection of outstanding professionals who have experienced this journey and have found inner peace and fulfillment in their lives and made major contributions in the areas of business, education, healthcare, and environmental protection. Eckhart Tolle is the author of The Power of Now and the highly acclaimed follow-up A New Earth, which are widely regarded as two of the most influential spiritual books of our time. Michael A. Singer is the author of The Untethered Soul and The Surrender Experiment. Irvin David Yalom is an American existential psychiatrist who is emeritus professor of psychiatry at Stanford University, as well as a best selling author. Oliver Sacks, M.D. was a physician, a best-selling author, and a professor of neurology at the NYU School of Medicine. The New York Times has referred to him as “the poet laureate of medicine.”
Please find below a link to eggshell therapy: Imi Lo’s work on Emotional Sensitivity and Intensity. Imi Lo is an award-winning Psychotherapist, a published author, teacher and podcast host.

Exposure Response Prevention - Treating existential OCD

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