Often taken as a negative element of life, a midlife crisis is almost the opposite of it. Just like the other obstacles in your life, a midlife crisis also teaches you several important lessons. The only difference between this and the other problems of your life is that a midlife crisis reflects your own life choices so far.
For most of us, it is the moment when we start to look back and forth between our past and future. That is the moment of realization of how fast time is going by. We may feel lost and unable to recognize our lives as something we once believed.
What Causes a Midlife Crisis?
There can be several reasons or, more accurately, life events that may have triggered the midlife crisis stage. It can also be the sudden realization of how much time we have spent and how much we have left. Some of these aspects may cause midlife crisis:
1) Physical Ageing
This may be the most common sign of a midlife crisis. It also does not happen overnight. This realization that we are growing old may come suddenly, but it sure did take time for us to reach this stage. Seeing yourself in the mirror and noticing the changes in your body can be a trigger for a midlife crisis. This also makes us get more inclined towards our needs and self-care. You start noticing yourself more when your kids have settled. At this phase, you have all the time for yourself.
In the case of women, menopause also tends to be the factor that causes them to be in a midlife crisis. The sudden stop to the reproduction cycle may push towards the thoughts of getting old. That is when most women realize that they are required to plan for a different life. Even though the age of menopause differs from one woman to another, the general age for a female midlife crisis is 35 to 55.
3) Growing Children
Even though we never notice our children’s height, it comes as a hit when someday you see them doing a grown-up task. That is when you realize that they have grown up, and so have you. Having your children move out to their own homes can also be a trigger for a midlife crisis.
4) Life Goals
The realization of your life goals can hit anyone at any time. No matter if you achieved them or not. The realization that you have achieved what you wanted and realize that you still haven’t achieved what you wanted can both be why you can experience a midlife crisis. This situation can occur in all cases.
We have been told to think about our future since we were kids. But at the age of 35 to 50, we are bound to think that this is what we thought about since our childhood. What does the future hold for us? The questions regarding the following chapters of your life can be the realization that you are in the middle of a midlife crisis.
Symptoms Of A Midlife Crisis
As midlife crises affect people in various ways, there is no single set of behaviours to follow. Specific symptoms, such as drastic changes in attitudes or mood swings, feelings of failure or anxiety, outbursts, or irrational decision making and risk-taking, appear to be expected. Following are some changes that can be the signs of a midlife crisis:
1) Feeling trapped in a cycle
Those experiencing a midlife crisis frequently feel trapped – it may be a lousy job, a bad marriage, or a bad situation – with no way out. This loop of constant worry is one of the most common symptoms of a midlife crisis.
2) Lack of focus
A once energetic and bubbly person may become lethargic and hopeless. They start the comparison between their past and future self. This leads to them disregarding their present and living either in the past or the future.
3) Mood swings
People going through a midlife crisis may appear highly fussy, becoming frustrated or grumpy for no apparent reason.
4) Impulsive behavior
People experiencing a midlife crisis frequently engage in impulsive behaviour, such as making large and expensive purchases or making sudden changes in their lives, such as deciding to end connections.
5) Death or dying thoughts
A midlife crisis can cause a person to agonize over their death. It can lead to irrational and contemplative habits of thinking about their lives.
How to Deal With a Midlife Crisis
Midlife, like any other stage of life, is fraught with difficulties. However, not all of these challenges constitute a true crisis. Something challenging that is handled and switched on from will inevitably cause sadness. A midlife crisis is difficult to deal with, but you can overcome it using the right way. Here are some ways to help you deal with a midlife crisis:
1) Mindfulness and meditation
Meditation has been shown to decrease psychological distress, enhance mental focus, raise self-awareness, and encourage overall fitness. Simply put, mindful meditation is the process of becoming aware of your thoughts through consciousness and perception. Once you start practising, you can do it whenever and wherever you want – for 2 minutes or an hour.
2) Adopt Changes
Midlife is a great time to make some changes in your habits and lifestyle. You can start from anywhere you like. Whether it be brushing up on an old hobby or just a self-care routine. You can start anytime and from anywhere.
3) Share Your Feelings
Communicating your feelings with a good friend who can listen compassionately while also supporting you through the knowledge can help you feel less lonely and isolated.
4) Harmonize With The Changes
Simply understanding that it is a nearly global problem can help us quit criticizing ourselves for our emotions and accept them more. It doesn’t mean you won’t be bothered in the future, but it will help you stop attacking yourself for how you feel, which will only make things miserable. Just go with the flow. Accepting and making peace with the changes that midlife brings can help you become more content with yourself and your life.
5) Give Time To Your Family And Friends
You will never regret the time you spend with your loved ones. This is the best time to compensate for all the gatherings you have missed due to your busy schedule till now. You can spend time with your long-lost friends or your children who have been busy with their lives too.
A midlife crisis does not have to be a downturn but rather an opportunity for you to reclaim control and make different decisions in your life. If you’ve tried these things and are still at a juncture, find an excellent therapist you like and trust to help you carve out a route to the next phase in life.