Midlife crises are more common than you think. In fact, many men don’t realize that they are going through it until someone else points it out—or something else a lot worse happens. Recognizing a midlife crisis is one thing, but overcoming it is another. Both can be very difficult to do, but with the right kind of strategies and some help, you can do both in the healthiest and most productive ways possible.
One of the telltale signs that you are going through a midlife crisis is the constant desire to change your entire life quickly. Other signs include being in your 40s or 50s, feeling uneasy about major aspects of your life, and making unusual—and often negative—choices. Once you recognize that you are going through a midlife crisis, here are several ways that can help you get past it:
Go to a therapist
Sometimes, a midlife crisis is confused with depression or some other form of mental illness. Consulting with a therapist can help you determine whether you are going through a regular midlife crisis or something more serious. Even when they don’t diagnose you with a mental illness, a therapist can help you find ways to overcome your midlife crisis in ways that work best for your goals, lifestyle, and current situation.
Set realistic goals
One of the most common symptoms of a midlife crisis is wanting to make major changes in your life in the fastest way possible. These changes can often have negative impacts on your life, such as leaving your marriage or changing your job without a security net. But they can also be positive and productive. For example, you might want to take flying lessons, start a business, get a degree, or travel the world.
Nevertheless, you must set goals that are realistic and practical. You wouldn’t want to, say, start a business if your finances are shot. Or if you want to go back to college, it’s not practical to do so if you lose your main source of income along the way.
Talk to your loved ones
Most of the time, reaching out to your loved ones is one of the best ways to overcome a midlife crisis. If you have one, talk to your partner or spouse first. Communicating your feelings with the one you share your life with is a healthy way to expunge your mind from negative thoughts. At the same time, it can help clear up misunderstandings that your actions may have caused due to your midlife crisis.
Talk to other important people in your life, such as your children, close friends, and family members. You don’t necessarily have to bring up your midlife crisis, but improving your relationships with your loved ones through communication can set you on a healthier path in life.
Acknowledge your feelings, but don’t dwell on them
Even if they are negative, it is important to acknowledge your feelings and remember that they are valid. Doing so can help you figure out why you’re feeling that way and thus make it easier to determine how you’re going to get past them. For instance, if you feel that you’re not getting anywhere in your career, perhaps it is because you are burnt out at work. By knowing this, you can then find ways to improve your work-life balance and reduce the stress you feel daily.
It is also important to remember that your feelings are not commands. You don’t have to leave your family just because you feel like you have to do it. Emotions may stem from problems that you need to solve, but they can also change or disappear over time.
Take better care of your health
For some men, a midlife crisis makes them engage in unhealthy behavior, such as drinking, overeating, smoking, and substance abuse. Of course, these behaviors will only lead to more problems down the road, so you must stop them before they take over your lifestyle.
Instead of engaging in unhealthy behaviors, take your midlife crisis as an opportunity to improve your health. Eat a more balanced diet, get regular exercise, go to the doctor regularly, and stop drinking and smoking. Aside from improving your health as a whole, these healthy behaviors can also enhance your self-confidence and make you feel more in control over your life.
A midlife crisis can be difficult to overcome, but with the right mindset and strategies in place, you can get past this challenging part of your life in no time.