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Last Updated on November 26, 2020

Midlife Crisis in Men: The Definitive Survival Guide

Midlife Crisis in Men: The Definitive Survival Guide
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Many people experience a midlife crisis, so a midlife crisis in men is not uncommon. If you think you’re in the middle of one, it’s important to know that it’s never too late to start creating the kind of life that you want. Once you learn how to recognize the signs of a midlife crisis, you’ll be on the road to healing in no time.

So many of us slog through each day, only to look around and realize that we’ve been letting life pass us by.

If this is you, use this as a guide, and with any luck, you’ll begin to see the midlife crisis in men for what it really is: an opportunity.

Note that this is a midlife crisis guide for men, if you’re looking for a guide for women, check out this article instead.

What Exactly Is a Midlife Crisis?

A midlife crisis is generally defined as a transition of identity and self-confidence that occurs in a middle-aged person (typically 45 to 64 years old). This psychological “crisis” is fueled by events that bring to light a person’s age, inevitable mortality, and perhaps a lack of notable accomplishments in adult life. Hence, midlife crises in men are very similar to midlife crises in women.

Not surprisingly, people can then experience depression, anxiety, and the desire to make significant life changes.

Incidentally, the term “midlife crisis” was coined by Canadian psychoanalyst and social scientist, Elliott Jaques, in 1957. (Funny enough, Jaques also coined the term “corporate culture.”)[1]

But recent studies have shown that most middle-aged people don’t actually experience a midlife crisis. In fact, some have questioned if the midlife crisis even exists.

However, for many of us, the midlife crisis is all too real.

Signs of a Midlife Crisis in Men

The midlife crisis for men can materialize in a number of ways. Some of the most common are found below:

  • Mood swings: Those experiencing a midlife crisis can seem highly temperamental, becoming angry or irritable with family members without justification.
  • Depression and anxiety: A midlife crisis can undoubtedly cause one to feel sad, restless, or just plain miserable.
  • Sleeplessness or oversleeping: Depression, anxiety, and a constantly spinning mind can greatly affect one’s sleeping habits.
  • An obsession with appearances: Those going through a midlife crisis often feel the need to remain attractive to others.
  • Increased consumption of drugs or alcohol: Middle-aged adults may turn to drugs or alcohol to mask their feelings.
  • Feeling stuck in a rut: Those going through a midlife crisis often feel like they’re stuck—in a bad job, a bad marriage, a bad situation—with no way out.
  • Thoughts of death or dying: A midlife crisis can cause people to think obsessively about their own mortality.

Other signs of a midlife crisis include: impulsive decision-making, having an affair, replacing old friends with younger friends, assigning blame to others, and extreme boredom[2].

Take a look at this chart to see how many of these signs are you experiencing[3]:

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chart about midlife crisis in men and women

    Why a Midlife Crisis Happens

    It bears repeating that recent studies seem to reject the idea that most adults go through a midlife crisis. Researchers believe that personality type and a history of psychological issues predispose some people to the traditional midlife crisis[4].

    Of course, common day-to-day stressors can pile up, causing middle-aged adults to believe they are having a crisis. Midlife crises in men may sometimes be just midlife stressors[5].

    Additionally, many middle-aged adults experience life events that can lead to prolonged depression or psychological distress. Psychologists often attribute the phenomenon to aging itself, the aging or death of one’s parents, the maturation of one’s children, spousal relationships (or lack thereof) and career (or lack thereof).

    How to Deal With a Midlife Crisis

    If you believe you’re having a midlife crisis, if you feel stuck, or if you’re experiencing trouble with your mental health

    , I’d like to assure you once again that you’re not alone. A midlife crisis in men and women is normal.

    Try following some of the steps below to help you learn how to deal with a midlife crisis and get yourself back on track toward a life you enjoy living:

    1. Decide

    Someone once said that “the first step toward getting somewhere is to decide that you’re not going to stay where you are.” And, I couldn’t agree more. This is truly where the work begins.

    I began to experience a shift only after I made the decision—no, the unbreakable promise to myself—that I was going to change my life. And no matter how much you’re suffering, you can make yourself the same promise.

    2. Stop the Search for Happiness

    As humans, we spend our lives trying desperately to find happiness, and yet we don’t even know what it is.

    We can’t explain, describe, or define it; we just know that we want it because it’ll make everything peachy. Time and time again, though, studies have shown that our never-ending quest for happiness is quite often the very thing that screws us up.

    Trying to find happiness is a futile effort, likely to exacerbate the “crisis” you’re having. Stop the search for happiness and start taking action steps toward creating the life you want. When you do, you won’t need to find happiness. Eventually, happiness will find you.

    3. Meditate

    What I used to dismiss as new age nonsense has positively changed my life in more ways than I thought possible. Meditation has been proven to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, improve focus and concentration, increase self-awareness, and promote better physical health. It is a great way to help ease the midlife crisis in men.

    And, for me, it’s the only activity that effectively tames my “monkey mind,” or what neuroscientists have recently named the default mode network (DMN)[6].

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    Your DMN is most active when you aren’t focused on anything in particular, and your mind is wandering from thought to thought. At best, these thoughts can be inspired and entertaining. But when you’re in the throes of a personal crisis, these thoughts can be destructive.

    Meditation has a quieting effect and significantly decreases activity in the DMN. And when the mind does start to wander, those who regularly meditate are much better at snapping out of it.

    Try this 5-minute Guide to Meditation: Anywhere, Anytime, and experience its benefits.

    4. Develop an Abundance Mindset

    For years, I operated from a scarcity mindset. I was angry that all the world’s goodies seemed to go to everyone else. I wondered why those around me were getting recognized, getting rich, getting a nice partner, and I wasn’t.

    Maybe, I thought, there’s just not enough to go around. Of course, this kind of thinking isn’t just debilitating; it’s downright inaccurate.

    The world, in fact, is a place of abundance with limitless opportunities. Remind yourself of this every day, regardless of your age. Open yourself up to all that the world has to offer.

    5. Practice Gratitude

    Before you go to bed at night, think of five things for which you are grateful. Better yet, write them down. These can be common, everyday occurrences, like seeing a beautiful sunset, learning something new, or hearing your favorite song on the radio.

    As Dr. Robert Emmons, a professor at UC Davis and the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude, wrote,

    “Gratitude is, first and foremost, a way of seeing that alters our gaze.”

    Need a little inspiration on how to practice gratitude? Here are 40 Simple Ways To Practice Gratitude.

    6. Pursue Your Passions

    Another helpful thing to help ease the midlife crisis in men is to pursue passions.

    Certainly, if you’re having a midlife crisis, it might seem hard to feel passionate about anything, but you can reinvigorate your spirit with a remarkably simple activity.

    Think about what you love doing or what you loved doing when you were a kid. Think about how you might spend your time if you had the financial abundance to do anything. Think about those you admire, those whose careers you wish you had.

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    Whatever your passions are, pursue them wholeheartedly. If you’re not sure what your passion is, check out this guide.

    7. Exercise

    Exercise is, by far, the most widely recommended way to stave off negative feelings and gain perspective. But you don’t need to go to the gym to get exercise.

    You can do yoga, play badminton, or jump on a trampoline. You can go swimming or dancing or hiking or biking. You can hula hoop with your kids or practice Kung Fu.

    You can clean your garage, pull weeds in your garden, or take a brisk walk around the neighborhood. Just do something physical, and you only need to do it for 30 minutes three or four times a week.

    8. Set Goals

    Make a list of everything you’d like to accomplish in the next year, in the next five years, and the next ten years. Talk to a coach or someone you love about your goals, and work out a plan to achieve them.

    Learn to use SMART goals to achieve what you want: How to Use SMART Goal to Become Highly Successful in Life.

    9. Stay off Social Media

    I can’t think of anything worse for a fragile human psyche than social media. It’s no secret that using social media can lead to depression, anxiety, envy, feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness, and all kinds of other problems.

    One study found, specifically, that “participants who used Facebook most often had poorer trait self-esteem, and this was mediated by greater exposure to upward social comparisons on social media”[7].

    It’s also a colossal waste of time. Imagine what you could accomplish in your own life during the hours you spend scrolling through the highlight reels from the lives of others. If you want to survive a midlife crisis in men, get off social media.

    10. Laugh as Much as Humanly Possible

    Whoever coined the phrase “laughter is the best medicine” was really onto something. Studies show that laughter releases endorphins, activates neurotransmitter serotonin, relieves physical tension and stress, boosts the immune system, and protects the heart[8].

    If you’re having a midlife crisis, you might be wondering if you’ll ever experience laughter again. That’s why you need to seek it out.

    Before I go to bed, I watch ten minutes of stand-up comedy. I read funny books, see funny movies and spend as much time as I can with ridiculously funny people.

    Make a conscious effort to integrate laughter into your daily routine. You’ll be tickled you did.

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    11. Think of Your Life as a Party

    The fact that you’re alive isn’t just a cause for celebration, it’s a miracle—so improbable that if you try to comprehend it, your mind will almost certainly turn to mush.

    Dr. Ali Binazir, a wicked smart Harvard grad and the author of The Tao of Dating: The Smart Woman’s Guide to Being Absolutely Irresistible, actually crunched the numbers, demonstrating that the probability of your dad meeting your mom was one in 20,000, the probability of your dad dating your mom was one in 2,000, and the probability of the right sperm meeting the right egg was one in 400 quadrillion.

    And that’s just the beginning.

    Your grandparents, great grandparents, and everyone before them—going back millions of years to the first Homo sapiens—had to meet and have children. In the end, explains Binazir, the probability of you being born was one in 10, followed by 2,685,000 zeroes.

    Tragically, so many of us never truly appreciate what it means to be alive. We succumb to our fears, give up on our dreams, and tolerate the intolerable. We get into bad jobs, bad relationships, and bad situations, allowing others to treat us poorly.

    Think of your life as a party and remember: life is meant to be enjoyed, not endured.

    Besides, it’s never too late to live the life you desire!

    Final Thoughts

    No matter what age you are, every day provides a new opportunity to do something new:

    • Sam Walton founded Wal-Mart when he was 44.
    • Ray Kroc bought the first McDonald’s just after his 50th birthday.
    • Rodney Dangerfield was 46 when he got his big break on the Ed Sullivan Show.
    • Harland Sanders was dead broke at 65. Then, he sold the first Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise.
    • And Charles Darwin published On the Age of Species at age 50.

    We can’t stop the inevitable. We’re all going to die. The question is: what are you going to do while you’re alive?

    Life is precious. A midlife crisis in men isn’t the end.

    Take a minute to examine what’s really going on, and you may find it’s not really a crisis at all. In fact, there’s a good chance it’s the perfect time to create the life you’ve always wanted. No excuses.

    More to Help You Get Unstuck

    Featured photo credit: Zach Vessels via unsplash.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Tony Endelman

    Certified life coach, certified relationship coach, heartbreak recovery expert and internet entrepreneur

    Midlife Crisis in Men: The Definitive Survival Guide

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    Last Updated on July 21, 2021

    20 Invaluable Things Money Can’t Buy

    20 Invaluable Things Money Can’t Buy
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    George Lorimer contends,

    “It’s good to have money and all the things that money can buy, but it’s good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure that you haven’t lost the things money can’t buy.”

    In reality, everyone likes money. It has enough power to determine happy or sad moments for some people. This happens partially because money can trigger your emotions. However, there are many invaluable things money can’t buy.

    Money will allow you to experience the luxury of things like a Tesla, an estate, or first-class tickets to anywhere in the world. But, money cannot buy you everything. There are aspects of your life, yourself, relationships, and encounters that forever will be priceless.

    So, what are 20 invaluable things money can’t buy?

    1. Love

    You must have seen this one coming because of how much it is preached throughout life.

    Love is a genuine action with beautiful emotions that develops between people who know each other to an extent.

    People fall in “love” for different reasons. Love is unconditional and keeps people in connection with each other.

    Money may earn you attraction and attention, but love? Not at all.

    2. True Friends

    Everyone likes to have money because there’s almost no way to survive if we didn’t have a cent or two. And it’s only normal for people to associate themselves with people who are making efforts to make the money.

    But sometimes, people are only attracted to what you have and what you can give; not who you are.

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    It works just like love. When your money runs low, true friends should remain.

    3. Family

    We all know that family consists of a father, mother, and children, so let’s consider the individual elements.

    A father is only a father as a result of the relationship between him and his child. Can money buy a relationship?

    The same concept applies to the mother and child and if a relationship with a father cannot be bought, then neither can one with a mother nor child be bought.

    Even if it’s an extended family, you still have to have a relationship with someone who connects you to the other person. It’s not rocket science.

    4. Wisdom

    Someone defined wisdom as “the mother of knowledge,” and how does one acquire knowledge? He or she receives it from experience.

    So, if you cannot buy experience, then you cannot buy knowledge. And if you cannot buy both, then wisdom is definitely out of your league. You have to study, meet people and just experience life to earn it.

    5. Happiness

    In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt,

    “Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.”

      Mrs. Roosevelt even acknowledges things money can’t buy. She emphasizes that money can’t buy happiness.

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      Despite all the money a person may have in the bank, he or she still may not have the happiness that we all crave and deserve. Money cannot afford happiness.

      6. Health

      Money can help us afford the best health care services, but health itself? Not exactly.

      We’ve seen millionaires and billionaires lose their lives to a range of diseases that all their money put together could not cure.

      The Dalai Lama said,

      “What surprises me most is ‘man’ because he sacrifices his health to make money then he sacrifices his money to recuperate his health.”

        So, besides the fact that it doesn’t buy us health, sometimes the pursuit of it takes good health away from us.

        7. Long life

        During birthdays, we wish people a long, prosperous and healthy life. Money would be the best gift to send to loved ones to buy these things.

        But since you can’t, you wish these individuals the best life has to offer. You may also give them fun and loving experiences without money.

        8. Time

        The universe has been impartial enough to give us all 24 hours to do whatever we want to. But nobody, with all his or her wealth, has been able to purchase an extra hour, not even a second.

        9. Respect

        They say it is reciprocal. In other words, you can only get respect when you give respect and the last time we checked, there was no money for respect.

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        So if you can’t give something in any currency, then you can’t receive it in any currency either.

        10. Character

        Character is the sum of a person’s attitude. Attitude has to do with the way you behave and although money can influence a person’s character, it cannot buy a good one.

        11. Confidence

        Any “confidence” built on money really isn’t confidence. It’s a shade of pride and usually ends in sheer show-off. That, dear friend, is not confidence. Confidence is a quality you build with time.

        12. Beauty

        There are countless beauty products in the market and all of them cost money. These beauty products can only enhance beauty by covering up blemishes and some go as far as altering some features of the body.

        But none has been able to change the natural beauty of anybody. If you consider surgery, then you are still altering the natural features, not changing it. You can’t buy good looks from your mother’s womb. It’s just not possible.

        13. Sense of Humor

        Some individuals are born with the gift to make others laugh. Most of the comedians around became wealthy as a result of their sense of humor.

        The humor did not come after the money. Nobody became funny overnight because of a swell in their bank account.

        14. Trust

        Why do you trust people? Because they’ve proved themselves to be trustworthy by character. Their character earned them that trust.

        15. Talent

        Talent is a natural skill that has to be discovered and honed. Just like beauty and every other thing that comes naturally, talent cannot be purchased.

        16. Purpose

        People attend conferences and seminars to help them discover their purpose in life. These conferences may be free or paid but the money did not buy them the purpose.

        They already had the purpose way before realizing that they needed to find it. Lots of poor people discovered their purpose and leveraged it to become rich. This goes on to illustrate that money can come as a result of finding purpose but it cannot get you the purpose.

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        17. Satisfaction

        If there’s one thing that money can never buy, it is satisfaction. Even if money finds a way to get any of the other items on this list, it can never afford satisfaction. Money increases our desire for more money. The more the money, the more the hunger.

        18. Empathy

        Never have we ever heard of a man who bought the ability to empathize and never would we ever because empathy is a feeling. Feelings cannot be bought.

        19. Peace

        Why do people employ sophisticated security systems? Because they want to have peace when they go to bed but even with all of that, peace has never been received in exchange for money. It comes as a result of a clear conscience and a good heart.

        Ironically, money may bring enemies which would end up disrupting your peace.

        20. A Good Name

        A proverb says “a good name is better than silver.” This is like comparing two different things: a name and silver (which could be referred to as money).

        What is a “name?” It is a form of identity and how is it received? Your way of life and character helps people to receive you.

        Conclusion

          Overall, these things are invaluable and confidently show that money can’t buy everything.

          While this is the case, money is necessary, so don’t quit your job just because it can’t buy you happiness. And do spend your money and time wisely.

          Also, go out of your way to make people happy. Their money can’t provide this needed emotion. Do not lose or mismanage your health trying to get money.

          More About Happiness

          Featured photo credit: Yingchou Han via unsplash.com

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