Midlife Crisis: Are You Making This Common 40-Plus Mistake?

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Midlife crises
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As some of you may or may not know, earlier this year I was diagnosed with a blocked artery and had to undergo an emergency angioplasty.

As a man in his mid-40s, this was an eye-opener and definitely a life changer. Some people might think that an event like this could lead to a midlife crisis.

But because of that scare, I’ve been exercising more regularly, eating healthy, and even doing a bit of meditation here and there.

The outcome? I’m feeling better than I ever felt before. That’s why I prefer “midlife transition” to “midlife crisis.”

Signs of a Midlife Crisis

The term “midlife crisis” was first used by psychologist Elliott Jaques, to refer to the age period (from about 40 to 65) when adults start grappling with health issues, family issues, and a sense of losing control.

At around this time, some people experience certain symptoms, or signs, with the most extreme being severe depression or anxiety. The “crisis” can often be triggered by a significant loss or change, like a job loss, divorce, death of a parent, or a health condition. Or in the case of some women, by menopause.

The typical signs of a midlife crisis are:

  • Discontentment with a lifestyle; desire to do something completely different
  • Exhaustion, boredom, restlessness
  • Feeling of uncertainty, lack of confidence, self-doubt
  • Daydreaming
  • Changing moods, unexpected anger alternating with sadness
  • Increase in alcohol and drug use
  • Unhealthy appetite—binge eating, or complete lack of hunger
  • Significant decrease or increase in sexual desire
  • Greatly decreased or increased ambition
  • Complete disinterest or increased interest in physical fitness

While coping with the challenges can be difficult, it is important to avoid extremes, achieve a middle ground, and ensure a smooth transition.

How to Cope with a Midlife Crisis

For a start, share your feelings with your near and dear ones. Devoting extra time to your partner and your children can help you regain your confidence.

Making the following lifestyle changes can help you stay fit, active, and away from chronic health issues:

  • Committing to regular exercise
  • Taking up a physical sport
  • Cutting down on alcohol
  • Getting more disciplined with eating and sleeping times
  • Eating healthy

While these simple changes could help make the transition smoother, the most important thing is to allow midlife to take its natural course, and not fight it.

Although it might be painful at first to see those gray hairs and wrinkles, look upon them as signs of experience, rather than age.

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“Midlife,” Psychology Today; https://www.psychologytoday.com/conditions/midlife, last accessed August 16, 2017.