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Existential Angst: Part 9- Responding to Existential Angst- 3.Devotion
3. Devotion- Another way you might deal with life anxiety, is to put your focus onto an object of devotion. By focusing on one object, and devoting your life to that object, you can resolve the need to figure it all out on your own because a lot of the hard work of life is explained and outlined for you.
For example, religion is a common way to make sense of life, know how to act; it gives meaning to things that are hard to understand, outlines values and principles for life, etc. Taking Christianity (and similar faiths) as an example, the basics are like this: If I believe in God, that God has a plan for my life, that after this life there is another life, and that if I follow the basic rules of being a good person I will go to the good place, then I probably have an answer to all of the givens of life. Death isn't the end, so death isn't as big of a threat. The point of life is to enjoy a relationship with God and follow his rules. Freedom and responsibility are a little tricky but there is a sense that I am somewhat free and responsible but not fully. There is a God backing it all up, so I have the comfort of knowing that its not all up to me and the grace of God can save me from any error I make. Also, I am never alone and can always talk to God. Sure, it gets a little sticky with the specifics, but for the most part faith in this case may give great comfort.
Religious texts can be objects of devotion. Spiritual rituals and beliefs, religious or not, as well. 'Non-religious' belief systems (if that is a thing) can also fall into this category. For example, social justice, the environment, solving poverty, a cure for a disease, etc. can all be objects of devotion. They each come with prescribed values and behaviours which in turn provide answers to the existential questions.
Sometimes a return to former beliefs can resolve some of the existential angst a person faces. Of course, if beliefs are not matched with vulnerability then there is a tendency towards fanaticism, which you may want to avoid. There is a lot to be said for humility as an antidote to extremism. Also, if one is to devote oneself to wrong belief, their anxiety may not be reduced but rather increased