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Published on August 31, 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

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Published on September 23, 2020

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

I don’t know about you, but many times when I hear the word negotiate I think of lawyers working out a business deal or having to do battle with a car salesman to try to get a lower price. Since I am in recruiting, the term “negotiation” comes up when someone is attempting to get a higher compensation package.

If we think about it, we tend to negotiate almost every day in a wide variety of things we do. Getting a handle on the important negotiation skills can be incredibly beneficial in many parts of our lives. Let’s take a look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

What is Negotiation?

First, let’s take a look at what negotiation is. Put simply, negotiation is a method by which people settle their differences. It is a process in which compromise or agreement can be reached without argument or dispute.

Anytime two people or sides disagree on something, they are almost always looking for the best possible outcome for their side. This could be from an individual’s perspective or someone representing an organization.

In reality, it’s rare that one side gets everything they want and the other side gets nothing that they are seeking. Seeking to reach a common ground of sorts where both sides feel like they are getting most of what they want is the key to being successful and maintaining the relationship.

Places We Negotiate

I’ve mentioned that we negotiate in just about all phases of our life. For those of you who are shaking your head no, I invite you to think about the following:

1. Work/Business

This one is the most obvious and it’s what naturally comes to mind when we think of the word “negotiate”.

When you first started at your current job, you might have asked for a higher salary. It could be that you delivered a huge new client to your company and used this as leverage in your most recent evaluation for more compensation. If you work with vendors (and just about every company does), maybe you worked them to a lower price or better contract terms.

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In recruiting, I negotiate with candidates and hiring managers all the time to land the best talent I can find. It’s very common to accept additional work with the (sometimes spoken, sometimes unspoken) agreement that it will benefit your career in the future.

Recently, I took over a project that was my boss was working on so that I would be able to attend a conference later in the year. And so it goes, we do this all day long at work.

2. Personal

I don’t know about you, but I negotiate with my spouse all the time. I’ll cook dinner with the understanding that she does the dishes. Who wants to mow the lawn and who wants to vacuum and dust the house?

I think we should save 10% for retirement, but she thinks 5% is plenty. Therefore, we save 8%. And don’t even get me started with my kids. My older daughter can borrow my car as soon as she finishes her chores. My younger daughter can go hang out with her friends when her homework is done.

Then, there are all those interactions in our personal lives outside our homes. The carpenter wants to charge me $12,000 to build a new deck. I think $10,000 is plenty so we agree on $11,000. I ask my neighbor if I can borrow his snowblower in the winter if I invite him over the next time I grill steak. And so on.

3. Ourselves

You didn’t expect this one, did you? We negotiate with ourselves all day long.

I’ll make sure I don’t skip my workout tomorrow since I’m going to have that extra piece of pizza. My spouse has been quiet the last few days, is it worth me asking her about, or should I leave it alone? I think the car place charged me for some repairs that weren’t needed, should I say something or just let it go? I know my friend has been having some personal challenges, should I check in with him? We’ve been friends for a long time, I’m sure he’d come to me if he needed help. I’ve got the #4 pick in this year’s Fantasy Football draft, should I choose a running back or a wide receiver?

Think about that non-stop voice inside your head. It always seems to be chattering away about something and many times, it’s us negotiating with ourselves. I’ll finish up that report that the boss needs before I turn on the football game.

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Why Negotiation Skills Are So Important

Put simply, negotiation skills are important because we all interact with other people, and not only other people but other organizations and groups of people as well.

We all rarely want the same thing or outcome. Most of the time a vendor is looking at getting you to pay a higher price for something than you want to spend. Therefore, it’s important to negotiate to some middle ground that works well for both sides.

My wife and I disagree on how much to save for retirement. If we weren’t married it wouldn’t be an issue. We’d each contribute how much we wanted to on our retirement funds. We choose to be married, so we have to come to some agreement that we both feel comfortable with. We have to compromise. Therefore, we have to negotiate.

If we each lived on a planet by ourselves, we would be free to do just about anything we wanted to. We wouldn’t have to compromise with anyone because we wouldn’t interact with anyone. We would make every choice unilaterally the way we wanted to.

As we all know, this isn’t how things are. We are constantly interacting with other people and organizations, each one with their own agenda’s, viewpoints, and opinions. Therefore, we have to be able to work together.

6 Negotiation Skills to Master

Having strong negotiation skills helps us create win-win situations with others, allowing us to get most of what we want in conjunction with others around us.

Now, let’s look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

1. Preparation

Preparation is a key place to start with when getting ready to negotiate. Being prepared means having a clear vision of what you want and how you’d go about achieving it. It means knowing what the end goal looks like and also what you are willing to give to get it.

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It also means knowing who you are negotiating with and what areas they might be willing to compromise on. You should also know what your “bottom line” is. By “bottom line” I mean what is the most you are willing to give up to get what you want.

For instance, several years ago, I decided it was time to get a newer car. I say newer because I wanted a “new to me” car, not a brand new car. I did my research and figured out what type of car I wanted. I decided on what must-have items on the car I wanted, the highest amount of miles that would already be on it, the colors I was willing to get it in, and the highest amount of money I was willing to pay.

After visiting numerous car dealerships I was able to negotiate buying a car. I knew what I was willing to give up (amount of money) and what I was willing to accept, things like the color, amount of miles, etc. I came prepared. This is critical.

2. Clear Communication

The next key skill you need to be an effective negotiator is clear communication. You have to be able to clearly articulate what you want to the other party. This means both clear verbal and written communication.

If you can’t clearly tell the other person what you want, how do you expect to get it? Have you ever worked through something with a vendor or someone else only to learn of a surprise right at the end that wasn’t talked about before? This is not what you would call clear communication. It’s essential to be able to share a coherent and logical vision with the person you are working with.

3. Active Listening

Let’s do a quick review of active listening. This is when you are completely focused on the speaker, understand their message, comprehend the information, and respond appropriately. This is a necessary ingredient to be able to negotiate successfully. You must be able to fully focus on the other person’s wants to completely understand them.

If you aren’t giving them your full attention, you may miss some major points or details. This leads to frustration down the road on both sides. Ensure you are employing your active listening skills when in arbitration mode.

4. Teamwork and Collaboration

To be able to get to a place of common ground and a win-win scenario, you have to have a sense of teamwork and collaboration.

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If you are only thinking about yourself and what you want without giving much care to what the other person is wanting, you are bound to wind up without a solution. The other person may get frustrated and give up if they see you are unwilling to meet them halfway or care little for what they want.

When you collaborate, you are working together to help each other get what is most important to you. The other upside to negotiating with a sense of teamwork and collaboration is that it helps create a sense of trust, which, in turn, helps provide positive energy for working to a successful conclusion.

5. Problem Solving

Problem-solving is another key negotiation skill. When you are working with the other person to get the deal done many times you’ll face new challenges along the way.

Maybe you want a new vendor to provide training on the software they are selling you but they say it’s going to cost an additional $20,000 to provide this service. If you don’t have the additional $20,000 in the budget to spend on the software but you feel the training is critical, how are you going to solve that problem?

From what I’ve seen, most vendors aren’t willing to provide additional services without getting paid for them. This is where problem-solving skills will help continue the discussions. You might suggest to the vendor that your company will also be looking to replace their financial software next year, and you’d be happy to ensure they get one of the first seats at the table when the time comes if they could perhaps lower the pricing on their training.

There’s a solution to most challenges, but it takes problem-solving skills to work through them effectively.

6. Decision-Making Ability

Finally, having strong decision-making ability will help you seal the deal when you get to a place where everyone feels like they are getting what works for them. Each step of the way you can cross off the list when you get what you are looking for and decide to move onto the next item. Then, once you have all of your must-have boxes checked and the other side feels good about things, it’s time to shake hands and sign on the dotted line. Powerful decision-making ability will help you get to the finish line together.

Conclusion

There you have it, 6 effective negotiation skills to master to lead a more fulfilling life. Once we realize that we negotiate in one form or another almost every day in every phase of our lives, we realize how critical a skill it is.

Possessing strong negotiation skills will help you in nearly every one of your relationships at both the workplace and in your personal life. If you feel your arbitration tools could use some sharpening, try some of the 6 effective negotiation skills to master that we’ve talked about.

More Tips to Improve Your Negotiation Skills

Featured photo credit: Windows via unsplash.com

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