Are you dreaming about packing up your life and starting over? Have you been making irrational and impulsive decisions just because they felt like the right thing to do? Do you resent your age and feel limited by it?
You may be experiencing a midlife crisis, and research shows that you’re not alone. Half of adults over 50 report they’ve experienced one. Aging may not always be glamorous, but it doesn’t need to be dreadful and it definitely doesn’t need to be a hindrance to the joy and fulfillment in your life.
With the right mindset, you can approach these years with grace, excitement and optimism. Let’s get into what you should know about coping with midlife crisis symptoms.
Understanding Midlife Crisis Symptoms and Triggers
Significant life events (usually the ones that remind you of your age) can trigger a midlife crisis. Although we all logically know that our time on this planet is finite, middle or older age can trigger the fear and disdain that time is running out.
Events that can cause midlife crisis symptoms include:
Midlife crises can strike anyone. Unfortunately, most people fail to recognize the phenomenon until they are deep in their trenches. Buying a new sports car is one of the most cliched signs of a midlife crisis. However, there are other symptoms to consider that include:
Feeling more depression symptoms (lack of energy, feeling more sadness or hopelessness, losing interest in hobbies and passions, sleep or appetite problems)
Questioning long standing beliefs (religion, marriage, career)
Feeling increasingly indecisive
Experiencing more regret and insecurity about past and current choices
Believing you’ve lost purpose or that your life is running on auto-pilot
Making drastic and impulsive decisions
Having increased thoughts about your own mortality
While everyone may face these symptoms from time to time, people having a midlife crisis experience them at a higher intensity and for a longer period. Failing to address the situation can result in increased resentment, depression, anxiety and relationship problems.
Coping With A Midlife Crisis
You don’t have to be a victim of your age or your circumstances. Moreover, acknowledging the crisis is the first step in moving past the crisis.
Aim To Reframe
It’s reasonable to reflect on your youth and wish that you could go back in time. However, it’s also helpful to remember the numerous gifts associated with aging. These gifts may include a more confident sense of self, wisdom, financial security and deeper relationships.
Try to stop focusing so much on the concept that the best days are long behind you. Instead, try and focus on your gratitude and what you still want to get out of life.
Update Your Bucket List
People of all ages benefit from the perks of setting goals. That said, goals naturally evolve. If you’re stuck in a crisis, it’s a good idea to consider thinking about what you want to achieve, experience and learn next.
You may be tempted to limit yourself due to your own preconceived barriers (i.e., being “too old”), but remember that succumbing yourself to aging stereotypes often just prolongs the dissatisfied feeling of stagnation.
Take Care Of Your Physical Health
Research continues to show the powerful relationship between our minds and bodies. Neglecting your physical health can make you feel more sluggish, depressed, and “old.” It also makes you more susceptible to concerning conditions like cancer, heart disease and strokes.
Set realistic goals for bettering your physical health. These goals can include focusing on eating foods rich in nutrients, incorporating more movement and exercise and focusing on healthy sleep hygiene.
With that, it’s also essential to stay compliant with doctor’s appointments and medications. If you do have a specific medical condition that requires ongoing treatment, it’s even more important to monitor your health.
Pause Before Acting
Although they may feel tempting, impulsive decisions rarely yield positive benefits. Unfortunately, a midlife crisis often triggers people to act quickly and irrationally.
Before you quit the job, purchase a new boat or cheat on your spouse, take some serious time for self-reflection and analysis. Making the wrong decision can result in terrible consequences - which may actually increase the intensity of your midlife crisis.
Seek Professional Support
Society often shames, laughs at, or downright ignores midlife crisis symptoms. Unfortunately, this stigma can make people feel incredibly isolated during this vulnerable time.
Individual therapy offers a safe and nonjudgmental space to explore the thoughts and feelings associated with life transitions and aging concerns. You’ll learn how to understand and cope with the struggles you’re facing. Additionally, therapy can also address underlying mood or anxiety disorders that potentially may be exacerbating your symptoms.
Together, we can discover healthier ways to manage this phase of life. We can also create a more sustainable path towards overall fulfillment and happiness that includes marrying your values with the way you live your life.
I offer therapy and coaching services in Hinsdale, IL