Existential Issues

Factors that Increase or Suppress Death Anxiety

Death anxiety encompasses a broad spectrum of emotions ranging from a few passing moments of fear to a complete state of panic. In either case, the experience is painful on a feeling level or, at its worst, terrifying. For this reason, most people find a way to obliterate images of death’s finality from their conscious… Read more »

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Societal Defenses Against Death Anxiety

Faced with the painful awareness of death’s finality, individuals try to recreate a parent or parents in other people, groups, or institutions, or they search for a personal savior on earth or in the heavens. Just as the imagined merger with one’s family once provided its members with an illusion of immortality, group identification offers… Read more »

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Death Anxiety

Although largely unconscious, the awareness of our finite existence, the fact that we all must die, has a profound impact on our thoughts, feelings, and behavior. The fear and emotional anguish associated with anticipating the end of life are so painful that we must protect ourselves. People find it difficult to tolerate facing their mortality… Read more »

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A Psychological Perspective on Human Destructiveness

My inspiration for writing this blog springs from a deep feeling for people and a grave concern that without a proper understanding of the reasons for their inhumanity in relation to one another and the development of a compassionate world view, it is likely that human beings will eventually destroy themselves and life on the planet. Despite… Read more »

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Separation Theory

[Separation Theory] is integrative even beyond the blending of the psychoanalytic and existential views… It views people as being innately innocent rather than destructive or corrupt, and thereby it rejects Id Psychology in favor of an existential view of humankind. Its ties to existentialism and humanism are in its acceptance of the viability of the emerging “self,”… Read more »

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The Sweet Spot: Relief from the Fear of Death through Mindfulness

If you have ever lain awake in the middle of the night pondering death, heart racing, icy hot fear coursing through your body as your mind tries desperately to find solid ground, you are not alone. Let me say that again: You are not alone. On the most basic level, you are not alone, because… Read more »

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The Impact of Death on our Everyday Lives

The conscious or unconscious fear of death can alter many aspects of behavior. Most people, including mental health specialists, have failed to recognize the full significance of the impact of death on life.  The fear of death arises as each child becomes aware of death’s inevitability.  It is too painful to face our personal mortality… Read more »

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After the Loss of a Loved One: 3 Tips to Regain Your Gratitude This Thanksgiving

After the loss of a loved one, hosting Thanksgiving dinner may not rank high on your list of priorities. But maintaining routines and traditions are especially important, particularly when children are involved. Keep it together this Thanksgiving by cutting yourself some slack and focusing on the things that are good and bright and humorous about… Read more »

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How to Become More Adult and Successful in Your Life

Fear is the primary enemy to becoming an adult. Psychological defenses that are limiting and to some extent dysfunctional are strengthened and intensified when people become anxious. Yet anxiety states are often reacted to subliminally and defenses are instituted and affect our behavior without conscious awareness. In that sense, you cannot approach your fear directly;… Read more »

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Why Are People Afraid to Grow Up?

In a previous blog, “Living Life as an Authentic Adult,” I briefly described the reasons why so many people operate as children emotionally and refuse to grow up.  I discussed how, to varying degrees, individuals are restricted in their ability to function in an adult mode because of  “unresolved childhood trauma and the defenses they… Read more »

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