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Last Updated on November 27, 2020

What Is a Midlife Crisis and How to Deal With It

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What Is a Midlife Crisis and How to Deal With It

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 September 16, 2021

Feel That Life Is Meaningless? Here’s How to Find Meaning

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Feel That Life Is Meaningless? Here’s How to Find Meaning

Have you ever felt like you’re unable to feel anything? You know exactly what this feeling is if you’ve been through it. The feeling of a meaningless life is unexplainable.

A meaningless life may not look bad. In fact, there’s likely nothing obviously wrong. You may be living in your dream house with the love of your life. Your well-paid job in the company that you dreamt of is doing great, too. However, you feel like a part of your heart and soul are missing.

If you feel like nothing is right, you may be living a meaningless life. But don’t you worry, because you’re in the right place to find the perfect solution for you and your unique life.

What Is a Meaningless Life?

Let’s start by helping you put a finger on your issue. Is it actually a meaningless life or just a rough slump?

Be clear on one thing: no human’s life is ever truly meaningless. Basically, your life can never lose its meaning and purpose. If you’re living in this world, there is some reason deep down. The only issue is that you have lost the vision to identify it. Your perspective is too blurred to figure out what you are in this world for.

A meaningless life may mean you’re going through an existential crisis. You could be borderline depressed. The feeling of emptiness may prevail all other emotions. However, you can be sure that, despite all of this, there’s still meaning to your existence.

All you have to do is push through to find it.

If you feel that you’re living a meaningless life, negativity will surround you like wildfire. However, you’ve got to keep your head high so that you can look ahead and find an answer. You have to strive to find your life’s meaning to continue to live a life of high motivation.

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Before you move on with the rest of the process, make sure to first imprint this in your mind. Only then will you be able to guide your thought process in the right direction.

Is There Any Meaning to Life?

Life, in its literal term, means to exist and reproduce. The reproduction not only includes the creation of humans like yourself, but also of thoughts, ideologies, and philosophies.

A person who is living a meaningless life has a very different view of what life is supposed to be. That is where the issue arises. To understand the meaning of life without any misconceptions, one should look at the philosophy behind this concept.

Like most branches of research, philosophy has numerous diverging answers to answer what the meaning of life is[1]. Here’s a quick summary of what I consider the most suitable understanding.

It all starts from a human’s expectations and, ultimately, reactions. Every individual expects something from the world and, in return, has to react to the expectations of others. Generally, this idea is surrounded by wanting goodness. To achieve that, a person has to do good deeds as well.

This cycle continues. But, of course, it is very complex. A lot of factors contribute to this cycle, such as selfishness, a different point of view of what’s good, emotions, likes and dislikes, etc.

The point of this entire concept in philosophy is that, ultimately, the process of growth and reproduction comes to an end for every human. There’s no escaping that. Therefore, the goal is to live life in a way that, when the individual’s growth comes to an end, something good is still left behind for the cycle to continue.

Where Does the Good Come From?

This is the point where the differences come in. People with different beliefs opt for varying methods to reach the same goal.

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There are four main schools of thought in philosophy in this regard, and they all offer different advice on how to move past living a meaningless life[2].

1. God

One school believes that God is the center of everything we do. Hence, goodness is anything that goes in line with the religion that you believe in.

2. The Soul

The other school of thought centers their actions on the soul. For them, anything that satisfies and calms your inner self is the path you should follow, regardless of what the rest of the world thinks.

3. Objectivists

The objectivists say that everything in the world is defined; the good and bad are certain, so no one should go beyond the set boundaries.

4. Subjectivists

The subjectivists, on the other hand, believe that since every individual’s cognition varies, the meaning of every single thing in the world is different. No two individuals can have a similar thought process.

All in all, life comes down to one thing only: goodness. That is what life should be, and that is what you should leave behind. How you achieve it depends on which school of thought you agree with. Whatever you believe in is ultimately what the meaning of your life is.

How to Stop Living a Meaningless Life

Now you know that there is a meaning to your life, without question. You also have an idea of what this meaning is. You’ve got to figure out what you consider “good” and build your life around it.

Regardless of which school of thought you agree with or what you have decided your life’s meaning to be, the process to implement will be a bit hard. To make it easier, here are some universal tips.

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1. Unlearn What You’ve Been Told All Your Life

Do not be distracted by what you’ve learned in your life until now. The truth is, you could have been told something for 30 years of your life only to find out that it was all baseless.

The only thing in life that is definite is that there are no rules. We didn’t come into this world with a rule book or defined meaning. Every individual was given the ability to make choices in their life. So, take hold of yours, learn your right and wrong from scratch, and make sure nothing is detracting you from the real meaning of your life. Don’t be afraid if you learn something that goes against your lifelong motto if it gets you away from living a meaningless life.

2. Know That You Matter

This has been said a couple of times by now but, honestly, the more you emphasize this fact, the easier it will be for you.

The fact that you’re alive, living in this world, and taking another breath to take means that you matter. Your life purpose is yet to be fulfilled, so you’ve still got to make some impact in this world.

You are the one person that has to change the world, even if it is something as small as changing the life of one tiny creature. Keep this in mind at all times.

3. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

If your life’s meaning was somewhere inside the circle that you stay in, you would’ve found it by now. Isn’t it obvious that what you’re looking for is out of your comfort zone? Then, what’s keeping you from stepping out?

Don’t hesitate to step out. The short-term discomfort will help you find the long-term purpose of life, which will give you a lifetime of relaxation and a constant way out of a meaningless life.

4. Follow Your Heart

Whether you’re choosing which school of thought to follow or opting between what good to go after, never ignore your heart. Your intuition is your heart’s way of guiding you. Don’t let it take over, but also don’t forget to take it into consideration.

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5. Do Not Let Go of Your Passion

You know that one thing in life that you just cannot give up no matter hard you try? Stop trying to get rid of it. You’re passionate about something for a reason. It is a step for you to reach your life’s meaning.

6. Be More Mindful

The big things in life tend to take over the tiny details. These little things are signs to help you decode and find answers. Meditate if you have a hard time focusing, but always try your best to pay attention to the little experiences that you usually don’t notice.

Conclusion

If you’re a person who is going through the dilemma of living a meaningless life, try to use these tips to help you seek out your unique meaning. Although your life seems meaningless, rest assured that it’s not.

The ball is now in your court. You’re the one who has to do the rest of the work. Use the tips to help you find the true meaning of your life, and then stick to it. Get on with step 1 from today without losing any motivation at all.

All the work that you’ll put in the process now will help you achieve a life of happiness and peace worth living.

More Tips on Living With Meaning

Featured photo credit: Frida Aguilar Estrada via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Philosophy Now: What is Life?
[2] Philosophy Now: What is The Meaning Of Life?

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