How often have you heard a person in their late 40s and early 50s tell you that they are done with life, going through a hard time, facing an existential crisis, or something else along those lines? I’m sure it’s happened quite a few times, which is why you might be afraid of a midlife crisis, too.
What Is a Midlife Crisis?
The term “midlife crisis” is used very loosely. A man who had a tough day at his job or a new mom who couldn’t sleep well at night might throw this term around in their conversations, for instance.
While having a midlife crisis is possible in either situation, it’s not as broad as people perceive it to be. Some even believe that there’s no such thing as a midlife crisis!
Now, it’s up to you whether you agree with that or not, but the truth is that there is a repetitive crisis trend in most people in their 40s and 50s.
What Causes a Midlife Crisis?
We generally develop a routine in our lives, which revolve around office, family, and friends. A hectic week is often followed by a party-heavy weekend, and the circle goes on. When this cycle is disturbed in the slightest, it feels inconvenient for us. It’s notably harder if this disturbance occurs in the middle age when you’ve entirely lost the tendency to adjust to changes.
Aside from that, people are losing their sense of satisfaction. No matter how high-quality your lifestyle is, the happiness curve starts to drop from your teenage years until you turn 50 before it starts rising again.((HBR: Facing Your Mid-Career Crisis))
So, what happens is that you feel like the slightest inconvenience has put their life in jeopardy. Naturally, around this time, a lot of changes have already occurred. E.g., financial loss, health issues, career shift, death of a loved one, emotional loss, divorce, etc.
With the already depleting happiness graph, a significant change like the ones mentioned above shakes up the person entirely. In other words, their perspective on life becomes very negative. Everything seems to be falling apart. It is the small things that pile up in this age and put the person through a tough time, after all.
3 Signs That You’re Going Through a Midlife Crisis
A midlife crisis is not just a minor source of inconvenience. Sometimes, it’s hard to figure out if you’re a victim of an existential crisis or just going through a bad day. Here are some signs that indicate a midlife crisis.
1. Physical Signals
It’s easy to spot the physical signs. More often than not, people only realize that something’s wrong after noticing changes in their bodies.
Physical symptoms of a midlife crisis are pretty similar to those of depression.((Neuro Spa: Signs You Are Experiencing Depression vs. a Midlife Crisis)) The most common effect shows on your bodyweight. You can either gain or lose a lot of it. Either way, there’s usually no definite explanation for the change except that your life doesn’t feel the same.
You may experience unexpected pains and aches, too. For example, you suddenly start feeling excruciating pain in your lower back without reason. One day, your arms ache. The next day, you get a headache out of the blue.
A midlife crisis can increase your insecurities. You may become obsessed with your physical looks, especially your smile, eyes, and body shape.
On the other hand, some people completely lose interest in their appearance and stop making an effort to look presentable. Their hair is messed up, and they don’t dress up, among other things.
2. Emotional Indicators
For men, the emotional signs of a midlife crisis can be a bit alarming. Things like mood swings are linked to women for the most part, but this stereotype is broken to pieces when a man experiences irritability for no reason during a midlife crisis. For women, mood swings can worsen.
Other than uncontrollable emotions, your mind gets overpowered with jealousy. Everyone and everything around you gives you a sense of inferiority, making you want what they have. Instead of feeling happy for your loved ones’ success, you become envious.
Your emotions are all over the place when you deal with a midlife crisis. You lose interest in things that you once loved to do. Your hobbies no longer sound appealing; everything seems boring for you. Worse, your mind is unable to look forward to the future. You seem to lose your vision and put your life on hold.
Furthermore, you tend to deal with relationship dissatisfaction.((Good Therapy: Midlife Crisis)) Say, you may have been in an extremely happy marriage for decades, but you are over it now. You may even consider welcoming separation or divorce.
3. Irrational Behavior
Your emotional and physical changes naturally lead to irrational behavior. You begin to question everything you do in life; you never feel like you’re on the right track anymore.
You either oversleep or don’t sleep at all. Everything is senseless and scattered. Although you realize what’s happening, you don’t have enough motivation to fix it.
How to Deal With a Midlife Crisis
If you think you’re going through a midlife crisis, that’s great! With this identification comes the power to tackle the issue.
Two simple steps will help you work on your current situation. As you work on these elements, you’ll be able to return to your happy life slowly yet steadily.
Find the New Meaning of Life
An existential crisis is not an inconvenience but a hidden opportunity that may help you shift your perspective positively. To find this hidden opportunity, you need to find the new meaning of life.
It is best to do it with a clear head. Then, you can divide life into six aspects and work through them chronologically.
- Health: Eat well, maintain your bodily strength, and be ready to fight the life challenges physically.
- Relationships: Surround yourself with encouraging people instead of ill-meaning ones.
- Career: Focus on a steady job with long-term goals to avoid wandering around aimlessly.
- Wealth: Don’t be blinded by the love of money and have a steady source of income to live a comfortable life.
- Spiritual Wellness: Calm yourself to gain inner peace.
- Mental Strength: Work on your weak spots to strengthen your mind and deal with emotional challenges.
As said earlier, men and women experience a midlife crisis differently:
- How to Survive a Midlife Crisis (The Definitive Guide for Men)
- Midlife Crisis for Women: How It Makes You a Better Person
However, regardless of your gender, if you use the six-aspect approach, you’ll end up in a brighter, more positive space in the end.
This technique will give you a new paradigm so that you can look away from the triggering changes that have caused the midlife crisis and pay attention to the new meaning of your life.
Find out in this article about finding meaning in life: How To Find Meaning in Life: 9 Simple Ways
Break Free From Your Limits
With your new life perspective, you can start to look at each misfortunate event as a hidden opportunity. A financial loss, for example, will give you a chance to find a new income source, which is more sustainable than the last one. This is when you break free from all limits and excel beyond imagination.
Try to develop a long-term strategy so that this positivity continues throughout the rest of your life. This way, a similar crisis won’t reoccur later.
Learn more about how to break your limits: How to Break Free From Your Own Constraints And Live the Life You Want
Luckily, a midlife crisis is an easily manageable problem when you have a strong body and mind and a healthy dose of courage. If you have all that and more, you can beat the midlife crisis in no time!
More on Understanding Midlife Crisis
- 8 Tips for Coping with Anxiety During the Midlife Crisis
- Midlife Crisis for Women: How It Makes You a Better Person
- How to Swiftly Make a Midlife Career Change