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Why All Anxiety is Existential Anxiety

Whatever anxiety you may have experienced, whether it is deciding what to choose from the menu or awaiting medical test results, it all comes down to existential anxiety.

When faced with uncertainty, or decisions, no matter how small, we can be subject to anxiety. For many, the anxiety is about life being too short and their impending mortality. Why is this?

Let's say you are feeling anxious about whether to pursue a new career or job. You have a fear of the unknown, because who knows if the colleagues will be as nice. or the work will be as rewarding, or the coffee will be good. These are all your attachments bubbling to the surface of your decision, telling you that it's better the devil you know than the devil you don't. Our minds begin to play all sorts of tricks on us as to why this is a good or bad decision and what the potential outcome will be, but ultimately, we have no idea.

Memento Mori

This anxiety is not only the ultimate metaphor for facing the ultimate unknown, which is death, but is evolved human technology to remind you to go and live life. Sitting around pondering things in a state of anxiety is akin to the rabbit trapped between the headlights and being stuck in between fight or flight mode.

When we remove the content of the decision, we see that it is merely a veil for our limited time in this world and this helps us zoom out of the decision and see how it fits into our life as a whole. Then things like, what to eat and what to wear become so insignificant, even decision that affect months, or years of our lives become easier, because we can put it into a context of where we are coming from and where we want to be.

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