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Midlife Crisis: No reason to bury your head in the sand!

Reading time 8 minutes
Midlife Crisis: No reason to bury your head in the sand!

The question of the meaning of life, whether one has wasted one's time so far, whether the future will deliver anything meaningful at all and whether one is really happy - these trains of thought haunt us all sometimes. From time to time, they can even lead to real crises. The midlife crisis throws some people off track in their middle years.

Completely unexpectedly, it rolls off and catches you with full bandwidth. But what exactly is it and how do you deal with it? Does this crisis come to an end at some point? You can read all this and much more on the subject here.

What is a midlife crisis?

When a midlife crisis hits, you feel one thing above all: insecurity. You look back on your life so far and ask yourself if you really did everything right. You question every important decision you have made so far and keep imagining what your life would be like if you had done certain things differently. At the same time, you ask yourself what is in store for you in the future. How should you continue to be happy and what do you still want to achieve?

Will it now just be tedious routines because you've already achieved all your big goals? Or will you look for a new task that will fulfill the rest of your life and spur you on to do the best you can? Self-criticism, worries and fears about the future define the crisis of meaning. In particularly pronounced cases, it can even develop into depression.

The term "midlife crisis" originated in 1957, when it was introduced by the Canadian psychoanalyst Elliott Jaques. He used it to describe the realization that one has passed midlife and the sometimes grueling thoughts that accompany it.

what is midlife crisis

What triggers a midlife crisis?

There is no specific trigger or exact time when a midlife crisis takes its course. There are many different factors at play here, both psychological and physical. As you get older, your body naturally changes. First and foremost is your hormone level. As a man, you produce less testosterone at a certain age, your hair turns gray or goes bye-bye, wrinkles adorn your face and your potency slowly diminishes.

As a woman, you're entering menopause. Hot flashes, sleep disturbances, inner restlessness and other symptoms that occur in about two-thirds of women remind you every day that the clock is ticking. Rising age is also noticeable in your appearance. You look in the mirror and see that you're not the youngster you were 20 years ago. Such moments make you aware that you have grown older. And those moments when you realize that can cause anxiety.

This brings us to the psyche. The realization that you've already lived half your life can hit you like a slap in the face if you've always frantically suppressed the topic until now. So you start questioning whether you've achieved all your goals, doubting your decisions, and thinking more and more about whether your age will limit you in the future. This is the point at which people who slip into a midlife crisis throw themselves into life all the more. They want to prove to others, but especially to themselves, that they can still keep up and that age can't touch them at all.

These are the most common symptoms of a midlife crisis

When it comes to what is typical of a midlife crisis, there could hardly be more clichés. Women cut and dye their hair and renew their closet. Men buy a motorcycle and go in search of a young partner. These are just a few of the stamps that like to be put on people in middle age.

Of course, these are not symptoms of a midlife crisis. Rather, they can be consequences of it, when those affected want to turn their lives around 180 degrees by hook or by crook. But of course, not everyone who is in such a crisis feels this way. So let's take a look at some typical symptoms.

You are dissatisfied with your current life

At the typical midlife crisis age, you are firmly established in life, have a regular daily routine and are secure in your job. But then, for some, things somehow don't move forward anymore. Every day is the same and you're stuck in a rut. Of course, that makes you dissatisfied, because that can't be all!

You want to break out of your daily routine

You think the golden mean of life is the last chance to change something once again. You don't want to be trapped in your daily grind for the rest of your days and prove that you are far from being old news. So you decide to make radical changes, be it in your daily routine, in your job, in the Relationship or just visually.

You are insecure because the world is spinning too fast

changes follow us throughout our lives. What's exciting and interesting when you're young is just exhausting later on. You notice that your younger colleagues work much faster and have better ideas. They find it easier to understand the current zeitgeist and can implement innovations in technology and the like more quickly. Uncertainty spreads through you and you wonder how long you can keep up.

You are plagued by guilt

We all tend to compare ourselves with others all the time. Some do it more, others less. There will probably always be someone who has made it higher than you, but also someone who has not achieved as much. Nevertheless, you always look only at the high achievers and you are already plagued by Guilt. Have you achieved enough and can offer your family everything you always wanted to offer them?

You are afraid of old age

Increasing age can be scary for some. This is especially true if you've watched your parents or grandparents get weaker and sicker. Even if you still have half of your life ahead of you, it still makes you think.

How will you fare in the next few years? Will you stay healthy and fit or are your good years numbered? Thoughts like these can be really grueling.

You do everything to rejuvenate your body

Just stop time - who doesn't wish for that? Unfortunately, it doesn't work, but still you try. You pay more and more attention to your appearance and try to look as young and fresh as possible. You do sports, pay attention to your diet and do everything to do something good for your body and to give yourself as many years of life as possible.

You increasingly overload yourself

Between the ages of 30 and 45, people like to talk about the rush hour of life. The kids are in school, you have more and more responsibilities at work and juggle family life, household and job - not so easy! You can't really enjoy the beautiful moments anymore, because you're drained. You notice that certain things just don't come as easily to you as they used to, and that gives you extra trouble.

Is the midlife crisis really a man thing?

It is mainly men who are hit by the midlife crisis. Why is that? Women are often plagued by the same doubts, but they deal with them differently. In a research project by developmental psychologist Professor Perrig-Chiello, she asked her subjects who they turn to when they have personal problems. It turned out that women talk to each other significantly more often, while men often only turn to their significant other.

Men rarely talk about such private things with their friends. As a result, the midlife crisis is often more severe for them. For women, a pronounced crisis of purpose often occurs earlier, for example in their young 30s. Then they are often faced with the question: family or career? What should be cut back and what compromises can be found?

When is the midlife crisis over?

How long your crisis of meaning lasts is up to you. It doesn't just end automatically after a certain period of time. Some people are stuck in the crisis for years, while others overcome it in a relatively short time. It all depends on how you deal with the situation.

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5 Tips: How can I deal with midlife crisis?

Nobody likes to spend a long time in a crisis of meaning. That's why we've put together five tips for you on how to get out of it quickly!

1. do not get cocky

The urge to turn your whole life upside down is sometimes great. But be sure to take your time with radical changes! Think about it calmly and talk to your closest confidants. If you are still of the same opinion, then go through with it.

2. stay realistic

You would love to emigrate to a faraway country, be your own boss there and look at the sunset every day? In principle, this is possible, but is it realistic? Analyze exactly how opportunity and risk relate to each other. Say goodbye to unrealistic wishes, because they will make you unhappy in the long run. Instead, concentrate on things that are really feasible.

3. come to terms with your limitations

In old age, certain things just don't come as easily as they did when you were younger. This is quite normal and by no means a reason to bury your head in the sand! Admitting this to yourself is not easy, but it is nevertheless an important step towards more Satisfaction. Just because you may not run a marathon again doesn't mean you can't run a fulfilled life can lead.

4. do not hang your head

It is easy to complain in crisis situations. The real art is not to give up on yourself! You have the strength to survive any crisis in the world, and that's what you should keep reminding yourself. A few wrinkles on your face, gray hair or less stamina won't stop you from being happy!

5. confide in family and friends

You don't have to go through a crisis of meaning alone. Dare to talk about it with your family and closest friends. They will not judge you or laugh at you, but help you to overcome the midlife crisis. Maybe someone close to you has felt the same way, but he or she has never talked about it. Then you can talk about it especially well.

The positive aspects of the midlife crisis

If you're going through a midlife crisis, it's not easy. Yours Dissatisfaction and your doubts weigh heavily on you and perhaps you also make decisions in the heat of the moment that you will regret later. Nevertheless, there is also something good about it. You are in a state where you critically reflect on your life and your actions and you are ready to improve things that bother you. And that's great!

It would be much worse if you only worry about whether you are happy in your twilight years and then have no chance to change anything. That makes the midlife crisis your start into a better future.

Put an end to blockages that hold you back

Yes, a midlife crisis is stressful. But that doesn't mean it can't help you move forward. So that you can emerge from the crisis positively strengthened, coaching, for example, can help you. They support you in finding your Fears and Doubt overcome and release blockages that have always held you back. Thinking and behavior patterns that stand in your way, you overcome and can finally become the person you always wanted to be.

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Reviewed by Dr. med. Stefan Frädrich

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