Am I Having a Midlife Crisis?

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29.03.2019

“In the middle of life’s journey, I found myself in a dark wood.”
Dante Alighieri

Throughout life, we experience a series of crises. Each of them proves our views, self-esteem, motivations, and values. In the middle of the life journey, people can experience a particularly bright crisis. For some, this is a new springboard, others plunge into depression, and someone destroys and denies everything that happened before. This period is called the "midlife crisis."

male midlife crisis

The discussions on whether a midlife crisis is real or not have been going on for a long time. However, new researches conducted by scientists from the University of Melbourne show that many people really experience a difficult life period about at the age of 40.

So, today you will learn what a midlife crisis is, what are its symptoms and possible consequences, how to survive this crisis, how to deal with it, and a lot of other useful information on this topic. Let's start.

What Is a Midlife Crisis?

A midlife crisis is a state of deep psychological depression caused by dissatisfaction with the life, rethinking of life values, and regret for the misuse of time that is peculiar for middle-aged people. The age limits of the middle age crisis are individual, most often this is the period between 38-45 years.

When a middle age crisis occurs, a person begins to reflect on their unfulfilled dreams and goals, compares their current position with the one they once wanted. They come to the conclusion that time is missed and begin to seriously consider the upcoming old age which seems to them very close. As a result, a person falls into a deep depression and can commit unpredictable, illogical, and extrinsic actions.

What Causes a Midlife Crisis?

The main reason for the midlife crisis is that a person begins to draw inferences from the spent life and realizes that time is running out, and life is not so long. An analysis of one’s past and thoughts about the future are positive qualities of the personality. However, unfortunately, many people perceive their achievements negatively and understand that there is not enough time and energy for new accomplishments.

The behavior of men in a midlife crisis is a truly explosive mixture: on the one hand, they try to prove themselves and others their self-sufficiency. On the other hand, they feel unfulfilled. In such a state, men are characterized by ambivalence, they want to change everything: family, work, and social environment. Women also experience a midlife crisis. Most of all, they are worried about the outgoing beauty and youth and their failed self-realization. Businesswomen are often worried about the unfulfilled personal life and the absence of a family.

The American psychologist K. Baek highlighted the main problems affecting the development of a midlife crisis:

  • the need to redirect vital forces from physical to mental activity. This is associated with significant changes in the physiological characteristics of the body;
  • the importance of recognizing social priorities over the intimate. This occurs due to biological changes in men;
  • the need for the formation of emotional flexibility in connection with emotional impoverishment, which is caused by the loss of friends, relatives, and the destruction of the usual way of life;
  • am i having a midlife crisisthe need for the development of mental flexibility, overcoming mental straightforwardness;
  • differentiation of social interests that are concentrated around work and family. Problems in these areas often lead people to the verge of a nervous breakdown;
  • focusing on the problem of forthcoming old age and the inevitability of death.

The combination of these problems leads to the development of a midlife crisis.

Signs of a Midlife Crisis

Before discussing how to get out of a midlife crisis, you should understand how it manifests itself. There are 10 signs of a midlife crisis.

1. Panic about health problems. It is quite natural to start taking more care of your health with age. Everyone understands that a healthy lifestyle helps live longer. That is why it is not surprising that the mid-life crisis causes constant worries about health.

2. Comparing yourself with others. Many people are driven by success. They begin to compare their bank accounts, clothes, cars, houses, etc. with that their friends and even relatives have. A midlife crisis is a time when many people reach the limits of their careers, opportunities, and other indicators of success. When a person realizes this – they begin to compare their life with the lives of others.

3. Obsession with losing weight/getting in shape. This is one of the most obvious signs of a midlife crisis in women. The desire to lose those extra pounds or get your body in shape is wonderful at any age. However, those who are experiencing a midlife crisis very often feel regret about their appearance. They think about what they could do differently or what to do to become better. Such questions often arise in people who are experiencing a midlife crisis.

4. State of depression. Depression or its symptoms are a frequent companion of a midlife crisis. Revaluation of values and intense concern lead to the fact that a person loses their selfhood. It not only leads to emotional discomfort but also affects certain processes in the brain.

5. Thoughts about the meaning of life and death. The concept of "middle age" suggests that half of life is already behind, so a person begins to think about the meaning of life, its values, and the approaching death. Of course, one cannot ignore the fact that sooner or later everyone will die, but constantly thinking about it is also toxic.

6. Impulse purchases. Men over 40 buy expensive cars and other status items to emphasize their importance. Women, in turn, do their best to turn back time, therefore, they often spend money on botox, plastic surgery, and other manipulations with their appearance.

7. Change in behavior. Thinking on life and looking at past years, a person who is in a midlife crisis begins to think that they have nothing to lose, therefore, they sometimes behave completely unpredictable. It is one of the surest signs of midlife crisis in males. For example, a man slightly over 45 can become a party boy who wears skinny jeans or takes a lover – a young student.

8. Thoughts of self-worth. As it was mentioned earlier, a person experiencing a midlife crisis often compares themselves with others. Moreover, they also compare themselves with the people they used to be and consider whether they are able to meet their own expectations. Did they realize their potential? What did they do wrong? What results did they achieve? Is there time to change something?

9. A desire to quit the job. Ask anyone who has to earn a living, and they will answer you that working – is not cool. Very few people can manage to find an occupation that will bring them both income and pleasure. However, this is the exception rather than the rule. If a person in their 40-50s hates their job, they begin to wonder that they cannot put up with it any longer. They ask themselves why they should not give up everything and just enjoy the remaining years of their life.

10. Surrounding people tell you about a midlife crisis. Of course, you will not hear it from everyone you meet. But people who know and love you will definitely notice changes in your behavior. A person often does not understand what is happening and how to cope with all this. And then the sound advice from the side may be very helpful in dealing with the midlife crisis.

How Long Does a Midlife Crisis Last?

Men and women are very different creatures, so the duration of the midlife crisis is also different. Let's find out how long a midlife crisis lasts for men and women.

How long does a midlife crisis last for men? This question is difficult to answer because each person is unique, with their worldview and understanding of what is happening to them. The period of the male midlife crisis can last from several months to years, one day subsiding, another day gaining its momentum over the matter of difficult life situations. The middle age crisis in men makes itself felt from 35 to 50 years when a man gradually begins to accept his age and life and calms down.

It is difficult to say when a midlife crisis occurs in women. This is usually a period from 35 to 50 years, but it can happen both at a younger and later age, and it even happens that women hardly notice this period at all. Therefore, it is impossible to give an exact answer to the question of how long a midlife crisis lasts in women. For some ladies, the crisis lasts for several years (from two to three). For most women, it passes unnoticed by others. Everything depends on a woman herself, on her character and life position. Someone can find a way out of the crisis, not allowing it to grow into a serious problem. And someone is able to deal with the female midlife crisis it only with the help of a competent specialist.

How to Deal with a Midlife Crisis?

A midlife crisis doesn't have to be hurting. Experts argue that one should not be afraid of this period. The main thing is to be patient. There is no need to destroy a family, quit the job, or quarrel with friends. There are some effective tips on how to get through a midlife crisis.

how to get through a midlife crisisTake your life for what it is

A new page of your life begins when you accept the past. To accept does not mean to forcefully rejoice and continue living in the same strain. To accept means to take everything as it comes. Give up self-condemnation, painful self-chastising, and constant living in the past. Be thankful for all the mistakes and successes that were made before and move on with gratitude. If you start taking your life for what it is and enjoy every moment – it is one of the signs that a midlife crisis is coming to the end.

Reconsider your values

You should take the midlife crisis as an opportunity to reconsider your values. They can change from year to year, and this is quite normal. With age, a sense of purpose and the feeling of personal growth decrease. But some other things are gaining strength and value, for example, relationships with other people. Think about what really matters to you and how you can achieve it.

Take care of health

If you have any health problems, do not delay the visit to the doctor. Try to lead a healthy and active lifestyle, reduce the amount of alcohol and junk food, and start engaging in sports.

Strengthen relationships

Experiencing joys and sorrows is easier with those who are dear to us. Social connections make people more stress-resistant. Talk to your loved ones, listen to them, ask for help, and support them in the hour of need. Participate in the lives of your loved ones.

Set new goals

Setting new goals will help you change the focus of attention. Instead of thinking about how it could be, concentrate on what you can do to become happier. Give up your self-deception and illusions, set realistic goals and do everything possible to achieve them.

Do what you love

In the period of a midlife crisis, it is important to feel your power and enjoy the work you do. Paradoxically, but the less active you are, the less power you have. Passivity can lead to a bad mood and even depression. So do what you love: meet friends, find a hobby, engage in sports activities, or travel the world.

Keep growing

Be curious and open to life. Keep growing in all possible spheres of your life. Change is all around us, and you should not stay still too. Sign up for courses, attend a seminar, start a business you have long wanted. Forget about the prejudices, "I'm too old for this" or "being a newcomer is the lot of the young." We are as young as we allow ourselves.

Take advantage of the crisis

A midlife crisis can and should be used as an incentive for life changes. However, we are not talking about disordered changes for the worse but about deliberate and planned changes for the better. Are you dissatisfied with your life? Then think calmly and reasonably, what can be changed. Make a plan of action and follow it.

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