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Last Updated on November 27, 2020

What Is a Midlife Crisis and How to Deal With It

What Is a Midlife Crisis and How to Deal With It
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How often have you heard a person in their late 40s and early 50s tell you that they are done with life, going through a hard time, facing an existential crisis, or something else along those lines? I’m sure it’s happened quite a few times, which is why you might be afraid of a midlife crisis, too.

What Is a Midlife Crisis?

The term “midlife crisis” is used very loosely. A man who had a tough day at his job or a new mom who couldn’t sleep well at night might throw this term around in their conversations, for instance.

While having a midlife crisis is possible in either situation, it’s not as broad as people perceive it to be. Some even believe that there’s no such thing as a midlife crisis!

Now, it’s up to you whether you agree with that or not, but the truth is that there is a repetitive crisis trend in most people in their 40s and 50s.

What Causes a Midlife Crisis?

We generally develop a routine in our lives, which revolve around office, family, and friends. A hectic week is often followed by a party-heavy weekend, and the circle goes on. When this cycle is disturbed in the slightest, it feels inconvenient for us. It’s notably harder if this disturbance occurs in the middle age when you’ve entirely lost the tendency to adjust to changes.

Aside from that, people are losing their sense of satisfaction. No matter how high-quality your lifestyle is, the happiness curve starts to drop from your teenage years until you turn 50 before it starts rising again.[1]

So, what happens is that you feel like the slightest inconvenience has put their life in jeopardy. Naturally, around this time, a lot of changes have already occurred. E.g., financial loss, health issues, career shift, death of a loved one, emotional loss, divorce, etc.

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With the already depleting happiness graph, a significant change like the ones mentioned above shakes up the person entirely. In other words, their perspective on life becomes very negative. Everything seems to be falling apart. It is the small things that pile up in this age and put the person through a tough time, after all.

3 Signs That You’re Going Through a Midlife Crisis

A midlife crisis is not just a minor source of inconvenience. Sometimes, it’s hard to figure out if you’re a victim of an existential crisis or just going through a bad day. Here are some signs that indicate a midlife crisis.

1. Physical Signals

It’s easy to spot the physical signs. More often than not, people only realize that something’s wrong after noticing changes in their bodies.

Physical symptoms of a midlife crisis are pretty similar to those of depression.[2] The most common effect shows on your bodyweight. You can either gain or lose a lot of it. Either way, there’s usually no definite explanation for the change except that your life doesn’t feel the same.

You may experience unexpected pains and aches, too. For example, you suddenly start feeling excruciating pain in your lower back without reason. One day, your arms ache. The next day, you get a headache out of the blue.

A midlife crisis can increase your insecurities. You may become obsessed with your physical looks, especially your smile, eyes, and body shape.

On the other hand, some people completely lose interest in their appearance and stop making an effort to look presentable. Their hair is messed up, and they don’t dress up, among other things.

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2. Emotional Indicators

For men, the emotional signs of a midlife crisis can be a bit alarming. Things like mood swings are linked to women for the most part, but this stereotype is broken to pieces when a man experiences irritability for no reason during a midlife crisis. For women, mood swings can worsen.

Other than uncontrollable emotions, your mind gets overpowered with jealousy. Everyone and everything around you gives you a sense of inferiority, making you want what they have. Instead of feeling happy for your loved ones’ success, you become envious.

Your emotions are all over the place when you deal with a midlife crisis. You lose interest in things that you once loved to do. Your hobbies no longer sound appealing; everything seems boring for you. Worse, your mind is unable to look forward to the future. You seem to lose your vision and put your life on hold.

Furthermore, you tend to deal with relationship dissatisfaction.[3] Say, you may have been in an extremely happy marriage for decades, but you are over it now. You may even consider welcoming separation or divorce.

3. Irrational Behavior

Your emotional and physical changes naturally lead to irrational behavior. You begin to question everything you do in life; you never feel like you’re on the right track anymore.

You either oversleep or don’t sleep at all. Everything is senseless and scattered. Although you realize what’s happening, you don’t have enough motivation to fix it.

How to Deal With a Midlife Crisis

If you think you’re going through a midlife crisis, that’s great! With this identification comes the power to tackle the issue.

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Two simple steps will help you work on your current situation. As you work on these elements, you’ll be able to return to your happy life slowly yet steadily.

Find the New Meaning of Life

An existential crisis is not an inconvenience but a hidden opportunity that may help you shift your perspective positively. To find this hidden opportunity, you need to find the new meaning of life.

It is best to do it with a clear head. Then, you can divide life into six aspects and work through them chronologically.

  • Health: Eat well, maintain your bodily strength, and be ready to fight the life challenges physically.
  • Relationships: Surround yourself with encouraging people instead of ill-meaning ones.
  • Career: Focus on a steady job with long-term goals to avoid wandering around aimlessly.
  • Wealth: Don’t be blinded by the love of money and have a steady source of income to live a comfortable life.
  • Spiritual Wellness: Calm yourself to gain inner peace.
  • Mental Strength: Work on your weak spots to strengthen your mind and deal with emotional challenges.

As said earlier, men and women experience a midlife crisis differently:

However, regardless of your gender, if you use the six-aspect approach, you’ll end up in a brighter, more positive space in the end.

This technique will give you a new paradigm so that you can look away from the triggering changes that have caused the midlife crisis and pay attention to the new meaning of your life.

Find out in this article about finding meaning in life: How To Find Meaning in Life: 9 Simple Ways

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Break Free From Your Limits

With your new life perspective, you can start to look at each misfortunate event as a hidden opportunity. A financial loss, for example, will give you a chance to find a new income source, which is more sustainable than the last one. This is when you break free from all limits and excel beyond imagination.

Try to develop a long-term strategy so that this positivity continues throughout the rest of your life. This way, a similar crisis won’t reoccur later.

Learn more about how to break your limits: How to Break Free From Your Own Constraints And Live the Life You Want

Final Thoughts

Luckily, a midlife crisis is an easily manageable problem when you have a strong body and mind and a healthy dose of courage. If you have all that and more, you can beat the midlife crisis in no time!

More on Understanding Midlife Crisis

Featured photo credit: Krists Luhaers via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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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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