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Last Updated on September 30, 2020

Midlife Crisis in Men: The Definitive Survival Guide

Midlife Crisis in Men: The Definitive Survival Guide

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

    Trending in Mental Strength

    1 Midlife Crisis in Men: The Definitive Survival Guide 2 10 Essential Steps to Success to Actually Reach Your Dreams 3 How to Change Your Life at 60 Years Old and Feel Proud of Yourself 4 What Is Your Destiny in Life? How to Mindfully Achieve Your Purpose 5 How to Stop Being a Perfectionist (Step-by-Step Guide)

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    Last Updated on September 28, 2020

    30 Powerful Success and Failure Quotes That Will Lead You to Success

    30 Powerful Success and Failure Quotes That Will Lead You to Success

    No one can live a positive life without failing. However, many people experience a fear of failure, despite its inevitability in life. Failure, as you will see from these 30 success and failure quotes, is the key ingredient for the recipe of success!

    Today’s society is obsessed with success and achievement, and failure is definitely NOT part of the equation. Failure and making mistakes is hidden away or seen as a human weakness.

    However, if you avoid making mistakes in life, struggle to do everything right, and are obsessed with perfection and order, then living and experiencing a successful and happy life is going to be impossible.

    Embrace your failure, whether it is one failure or many failures, because with the right attitude and a willingness to learn from your mistakes, you are guaranteed a lifetime of success. Here are some uplifting quotes about failure and success to help you get started.

    1. “Never let success get to your head; never let failure get to your heart.” -Anonymous

    This quote is important for those of us who feel downtrodden after every failure, heartbroken, if you will. If you let failure get you down for more than a couple of days, you’re wasting away your chance to bounce back from it.

    On the other hand, if you allow yourself to build an inflated ego after every success, future failures may be even harder to cope with. Maintain a sense of humility and gratitude for each success and failure you find.

    2. “Just because you fail once, doesn’t mean you’re gonna fail at everything. Keep trying, hold on, and always, always, always believe in yourself, because if you don’t, then who will, sweetie?” -Marilyn Monroe

    Marilyn Monroe is spot on with this one. The first person who should be there to catch you when you fall is you. You have to be your own best advocate, the person to build you up when it feels like everything is going wrong. The others in your support system are just icing on the cake.

    3. “You always pass failure on your way to success.” -Mickey Rooney

    In today’s competitive world, it’s hard to understand that almost no one experiences failure before they experience genuine, lasting success. Failure is what forces you to learn in order to achieve that goal you’ve been working up to.

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    4. “Failure is not falling down but refusing to get up.” -Chinese proverb

    Everyone falls. Those who refuse to pick themselves back up, no matter if it’s after two days or two years, are the true failures.

    5. “Successful people don’t fear failure but understand that it’s necessary to learn and grow from.” -Robert Kiyosaki

    There are many success and failure quotes on this idea, and that’s because it’s so very important. Learning doesn’t happen when things are easy. It happens when things get tough and you have to find a way through challenges.

    6. “The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won’t. It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.” -Barack Obama

    No one can escape failure. If you let it keep you down and shying away from achieving your goals, you’ve failed again. If you learn from it and continue on your path toward greatness, it wasn’t a true failure but a lesson.

    7. “Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.” -Og Mandion

    Determination is one of the best antidotes to failure. Even if you take two steps forward and one step back, you’re still moving forward with grit and determination. Keep going!

    8. “Fear regret more than failure.” -Taryn Rose

    At the end of your life, what do you think you’ll feel worst about, failing or never trying?

    9. “Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” -Nelson Mandela

    If anyone has enough insight to offer us success and failure quotes, it’s Nelson Mandela. He learned that that path to success (and freedom) is full of setbacks. His determination, however, led him to make amazing changes in the world around him. Now that’s success.

    10. “The secret of life is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.” -Paulo Coelho

    Each time you get back up, it will get easier and easier, and you’ll realize each time that those failures are the greatest lessons life will ever give you.

    11. “Most great people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure.” -Napoleon Hill

    Unfortunately, many people stop trying after a large failure comes their way. They lose their confidence, determination, and will. However, success usually follows quickly behind these huge failures because you’ve inevitably learned what not to do.

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    Don’t stop with the huge failure. Take a few more steps and see if it gets you where you wanted to go.

    12. I have not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” -Thomas Alva Edison

    Through his success and failure quotes, Thomas Edison shows us that failures are only truly failures if you don’t learn the lesson they offer.

    13. “It’s fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” -Bill Gates

    Celebrating success feels good, but learning the lessons of failure is where growth occurs[1], which can lead you to even greater successes.

    14. “The only thing that separates success from failure is one last attempt. Try one more time and you will get lucky.” -Apoorve Dubey

    Every success comes from an attempt. If you don’t try one more time, you’ll never know if it could’ve been your big chance at big success.

    15. “Failure is a detour; not a dead-end street.” -Zig Ziglar

    Many people get impatient with failure. They feel that it’s a stopping point, or a road that’s too long to walk. However, the patience to take that new road is exactly what’s necessary to find success. If success is easy to find, it likely won’t last very long.

    16. “In the real world, very smart people fail, and mediocre people rise. Part of what makes people fail or succeed are skills that have nothing to do with IQ. Also, the idea that intelligence can be gauged by an IQ test is erroneous.” -Camille Paglia

    Failure is not a sign of a lack of intelligence, as Paglia suggests. Failure is a sign of great intelligence and great courage. She also points out the important point that intelligence takes many forms, and it’s often the grit and maturity to accept failure for the temporary setback that it is.

    17. “Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another stepping stone to greatness.” -Oprah Winfrey

    Queens will always be queens, no matter if they experience success or failure. And you will always be you, so use that to your advantage, and take the risk of failure in order to reach success.

    18. “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.” -J.K. Rowling

    Living a life free of failure generally means you have lived a boring, uneventful life. Is it really worth it?

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    19. “You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.” -Richard Branson

    If you’ve ever watched a child learn to walk, you know that Branson’s success and failure quotes are true. Children are determined. They fall, and they get back up. And then they learn, and soon they’re running.

    20. “Success or failure is caused more by mental attitude than by mental capacity.” -Walter Scott

    Scott knows that intelligence is less of a determining factor in success than determination or ruthless optimism. Set yourself up for success by cultivating both.

    21. “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again. That is why I succeed.” -Michael Jordan

    Michael Jordan knows failure, and yet we know him as an incredibly successful person. Why? Because he never let the failures stop him from moving on.

    22. “There comes a time in your life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh. Forget the bad, and focus on the good. Love the people who treat you right, pray for the ones who don’t. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is a part of life, getting back up is living.” -José N. Harris

    The secrets to success are pretty simple, and living a full life is only possible once you learn that getting up after a failure will bring a great sense of satisfaction and joy.

    23. “All people fail at certain instances in their lives, the only thing that makes them different is how they manage to stand up or how they choose to fail again.” -Unknown

    If you fail, you’re like the vast majority of the world. What makes you different is how you choose to respond.

    24. “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” -Robert Kennedy

    If you aim high, even if you fall short you’ll still likely be ahead of the majority of people. Take the time in life to fail greatly because that’s where you’ll find your true self.

    25. “Failure is good as long as it doesn’t become a habit.” -Michael Eisner

    If you continue to make the same mistakes, you’re not learning from your failures. This is when it becomes a destructive habit instead of a moment to propel you toward success.

    26. “If you are afraid of failure, you don’t deserve to be successful.” -Charles Barkley

    Only those who are willing to accept the hard emotions that come along with failure will be those who will enjoy the good feelings of genuine success.

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    27. “Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. It is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead-end street.” -William A. Ward

    In his success and failure quotes, Ward points out something important. Failure is often seen as a death stroke, something that stops our success. If we shift our perspective and look upon failure as a teacher instead, we will likely feel very differently about those moments in our life and see that failure is delay, not death.

    28. “Courage allows the successful woman to fail and learn powerful lessons from the failure. So that in the end, she didn’t fail at all.” -Maya Angelou

    We’ve been here before. Failure is only failure if you don’t learn from it. Let yourself get a bad grade on the test; you’ll study differently next time. Let yourself fail at a relationship; you know how to build a healthier relationship next time.

    Every failure brings a lesson. Learn it and move on.

    29. “Good people are good because they’ve come to wisdom through failure. We get very little wisdom from success, you know.” -William Saroyan

    If you think of the moments you learned and grew the most, were they easy times or hard times? Challenges make us better, smarter people[2]. You don’t get wise through an easy life.

    30. “Don’t fear failure—not failure, but low aim, is the crime. In great attempts it is glorious even to fail.” -Bruce Lee

    If you try to achieve something great, even a failure feels like a success. At least you had the courage to try. That’s more than most can say.

    More Inspirational Quotes

    Featured photo credit: Gabrielle Henderson via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Harvard Business Review: Strategies for Learning from Failure
    [2] Psychology Today: How Greater Challenges Help You Grow

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