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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

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

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Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on April 8, 2021

How to Find Purpose in Life and Make Yourself a Better Person

How to Find Purpose in Life and Make Yourself a Better Person

Some mornings, you may feel that there’s something deeper you could be a part of. You feel the pull towards something, but you can’t exactly pin it down—it eludes you and frustrates you. You’re not really sure how to find purpose in life.

You might have heard stories from writers or musicians who have felt their calling their entire lives; the Mozarts of the world who have pursued their passions from the moment they were out of the womb. Deep down you wish you had this “knowing” to pull you forward.

Frankly, you do: all it takes is a little digging to uncover the truth when you start asking how to find my purpose.

Think of uncovering your passion like the work of a master sculptor, slowly chipping away the stone to reveal the masterpiece underneath. Your life’s purpose is this masterpiece, simply lurking beneath the surface, waiting to be released.

Successful people know that the fastest way to learn how to find your purpose is through the art of introspection: diving into the deeper essence of who you are to pull out the pieces to assemble the purpose puzzle.

Think of your life’s purpose as a golden thread; for some, that thread comes in the form of a certain career or profession, while for others it looks like a way of being or expression.

Here are some of the simple steps you’ll need to take if you want to learn how to find purpose in life.

Why Do You Want This?

Ultimately, you’re trying to improve your life and live with meaning by finding your purpose. You want more zest, more flavor, more fullness. In the strictest sense, you want to become a better person. You want to wake up in the morning excited, jumping out of bed with a thirst for life that you haven’t felt since you were a child.

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Your purpose can be the driving force behind this. If you feel lost, your sense of purpose can be your connection to something larger, something that will allow you to truly make a difference[1].

Finding Purpose – Student Health & Counseling Center

    Still, your “why” might be different. Before we even leave solid ground, you need this as your anchor, just in case things get a little foggy. To find it, just answer this question:

    Why do you want to find your purpose in life?

    Write down or remember whatever comes up. It might be some of the above reasons, or it might be something entirely different. Whatever it is, hold it close.

    What You’ll Need to Find Your Purpose

    Before any great quest (physical or mental), you want to make sure your tools and supplies are in working order. For this quest the tools are simple: You’ll need a pen and piece of paper, a working memory, and the drive to uncover what you set out to find.

    Before we go, there are a few things you’ll need to embrace beforehand. Think of these items as the underlying code of conduct for your quest.

    1. I welcome the hard work and tiresome effort it will take to unearth my life’s great work.
    2. I know my purpose might not be directly obvious, but I will put in the time to find it.
    3. I believe finding my purpose is entirely possible.
    4. I know that finding my life’s purpose may lead to some big (positive) changes.
    5. I know that finding my life’s purpose will leave me with the power to shape my own destiny.

    Once you’ve let the above affirmations settle, you’re ready to set sail. Your tools are sharpened, and your mind is prepped as you’re thinking how to find my purpose.

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    If you’re someone who procrastinates, just getting started may be difficult. If that’s the case, check out Lifehack’s free guide: End Distraction And Find Your Focus. It will help you focus your attention on the next steps, which will ultimately lead you to your purpose.

    1. Facing Your Inner Dialogue

    When you first begin to dive into your thoughts and desires, there will be an initial resistance, a pervading fear of the unknown[2].

    The first inner dragon you might face will likely be your internal beliefs. They might try to stop you in your tracks or tell you you’re crazy for trying to find your purpose in the first place. They might say harsh things, like “You don’t deserve to have a purpose” or “You’ll never find what you’re looking for.”

    To combat your inner dialogue, you have to first realize it’s happening. When you start to actually pay attention to the thoughts as they’re spiraling, they lose their power. They get their power by operating below the surface, so when you shine a spotlight of awareness upon them, they lose their control over you.

    Once you’re familiar with these inner dragons, it will be easier to slay them.

    Next, you’ll have to take action to correct your inner dialogue if you really want to learn how to find purpose in life.

    Try this on for size: When you’ve come across a belief that is threatening to stop your journey, take a breath, look it square in the eye, and then act anyway.

    This will teach you to develop your courage muscle, and this heart-centered courage will give you something to lean on throughout your uncertain quest. This will ultimately improve your mental health overall.

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    2. Questions for the Great Dig

    Now that you know why you’re doing this and how to overcome any hurdle, you’re ready for the challenges you’ll inevitably face. Your preparation is done, so now it’s time to look at what your soul is trying to tell you.

    You can check out this TED Talk by Noeline Kirabo to learn about some questions that will help you discover your passion and purpose:

    Now, get ready to dive deep. Keep in mind that we’re going to analyze common threads in your life and the deep desires you currently have to give you a one-two punch when learning how to find purpose in life.

    Step 1: The Soul-Baring Questions

    • If you had all the money in the world, how would you spend your time?
    • What would your perfect day look like? Describe every detail.
    • What activities set your soul on fire?

    Don’t be afraid to dive deep with these questions, and write down whatever comes to mind.

    Make sure you create some space to ponder these questions. Nothing is too outlandish, so do your best to turn off your mental filter. The best answers will come when you can turn off your self-judgement.

    Once you have these answers in hand, we’re going to take a little stroll back into your memory to dig up some more answers and learn how to find purpose in life.

    When you’re a child, your life experience is more freeing, playful, and alive. Your whims direct your life, and you’re more plugged in to a deeper current. At this stage in your life, the outside world hasn’t shaped your dreams yet, and you have direct access to your passions and purpose.

    We all had things we loved to do as kids but ended up giving them up for the sake of practicality. What we’re going to do here is take a stroll through your memory banks and try to gain some glimpses of this childhood wisdom.

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    Step 2: Connect With Your Inner Child

    • What brought you immense joy as a kid?
    • What were you doing when you lost track of time?
    • What did your parents have to drag you away from?
    • What did you love deep down before the world told you to get practical?

    Once again, keep your mind in an open place when finding your purpose. If you’re having trouble, it may help to look at a picture of yourself when you were younger, or grab an old stuffed animal or other item that sends you back into the memory banks.

    3. Weaving Your Golden Thread

    Now that you’ve pulled yourself away from social media long enough to brave the depths of your thoughts, you’re ready to do the hard work of learning how to find purpose in life and defining yours. The last stretch of the journey is to string all the bits of randomness together and find the common themes.

    Your job now is to take a hard look at all your answers and see if you can pull out any common ideas that are in both lists.

    Maybe you’ve wanted to be a writer since you were a child, and committing words to a page every day really sets your soul on fire. There’s a good chance that writing may be involved in your life’s purpose.

    Maybe you’ve always been fascinated by the stars and the cosmos, and you’ve always had a deep connection to spending time outdoors. You could combine this into an excursion where you lead groups of people into the wild to stargaze and contemplate their place in the universe.

    Let your creativity reign as you’re working on finding your purpose, and don’t fret if you can’t make a connection right away. Sometimes, it helps to sleep on it and let your subconscious work on the solution for you.

    You can also check out this Lifehack Fast Track Class for a little extra push as you work on learning how to find your purpose:

    If you’ve done the work, then you’re on your way to finding your life’s purpose. When it’s there, you’ll feel it deep down in your bones.

    The Bottom Line

    Learning how to find purpose in life is a lifelong journey, but once your purpose has been discovered, you’ll find that your life opens itself up in ways you never thought possible. You will experience new depths of opportunity, and your eyes will be opened to all the possibilities around you. First, you must simply turn toward your thoughts and jump in.

    More on How to Find Your Purpose

    Featured photo credit: Katerina Kerdi via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Western Oregon University: Finding Purpose
    [2] Journal of Anxiety Disorders: Fear of the unknown: One fear to rule them all?

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