How To Deal With A Midlife Crisis: Complete Guide

Midlife crisis blues? Explore this ultimate guide on how to deal with a midlife crisis and turn your life around now!

deal with a midlife crisis

The infamous midlife crisis – a stage of life often marked by drastic changes and the sudden urge to buy a sports car. If you're in your middle years and feeling a bit lost or restless, don't worry, you're not alone.

Many middle-aged adults experience this period of transition, facing new stressors, existential concerns, and often a sense of emotional distress.

Now, let's get one thing straight: the idea of a midlife crisis (MLC) isn't just an excuse to buy a new car or suddenly take up skydiving.

It's a real phenomenon that can bring about feelings of depression, anxiety disorders, and a whole host of other mental health issues.

Trust me, as a life coach who's guided countless middle-aged people through these tough times, I've seen a lot.

For some, the signs of a midlife crisis might be as subtle as a lingering sense of dissatisfaction with their career path or as glaring as an impulsive decision to get cosmetic surgery.

Others might find themselves grappling with the realities of their own mortality for the first time, realizing that the clock is ticking and those dreams of becoming a rock star might need to be reconsidered.

My friend Dave

Take my friend Dave, for instance. A typical middle-aged man, he hit his 30s - which I thought was early for an MLC - and suddenly decided he would deal with a midlife crisis with a shiny new convertible.

It wasn't really about the car, though. It was about seeking a sense of purpose and shaking off the monotony of his daily grind.

Midlife crises are not just about the flashy, impulsive behavior we see in movies. They're about navigating a period of emotional turmoil and making positive changes to boost your general satisfaction with life.

Whether you're dealing with hormonal changes, the aging process, or the weight of caring for parents later in life, this phase of life is your chance to reevaluate and redefine your path.

So, buckle up as we dive into everything you need to know about surviving – and thriving – as you deal with a midlife crisis.

From recognizing the symptoms of an MLC, to finding the best way to achieve life satisfaction, I've got you covered. Let's turn this time of crisis into a time of opportunity, piece by piece.

what is a midlife crisis

What is a Midlife Crisis?

So, what exactly is an MLC? The term 'midlife crisis' was coined by Elliott Jaques in 1965 to describe a period of emotional crisis that hits many people during their midlife years.

This is typically between the ages of 40 and 60. Think of it as a time of transition where middle-aged people suddenly start questioning their life choices, achievements, and the direction they're heading.

For some, this period of transition brings on sudden changes in behavior and lifestyle.

You might find yourself wanting to do something completely different, like taking up a new hobby or even buying that fancy item you've always dreamed about.

But it's not just about the big, flashy changes. It can also involve small steps towards reevaluating what's important in your life.

The American Psychological Association notes that common signs of a midlife crisis can include symptoms of depression, increased anxiety, and a preoccupation with physical health and appearance.

You might start noticing physical changes like weight gain or a decrease in physical abilities. These changes can make you feel like your best years are behind you, which can be quite unsettling.

Family members often play a crucial role during these times. An aging parent might need more care, or adult children might be leaving the nest, adding to the emotional turmoil.

This phase can also highlight the needs of others around you, causing you to reassess your relationships and responsibilities.

Recent research shows that midlife crises aren't just about fearing old age. They're about navigating new challenges and adapting to new ways of thinking.

This age group often deals with the realization that much time has passed, and there’s still so much to do. The pressure to meet societal and personal expectations can be intense.

Social media and societal gender norms also add to the mix. You might compare yourself to younger people or feel the urge to keep up with younger people.

This comparison can lead to feelings of inadequacy or a desire for drastic changes. This is not the way to deal with a midlife crisis.

During this time, it’s a good idea to seek support from friends, family, or support groups. Finding a safe space to talk about your feelings can make a huge difference.

Remember, it's about finding a healthy way to navigate this phase of life.

MLCs are real and can be tough, but they also offer an opportunity for growth. Embrace this time of transition to redefine your goals and find a path that truly satisfies you.

With the right approach, your midlife years can be some of the best years of your life.

deal with a midlife crisis

Why Do People Have Midlife Crises?

Ah, the burning question: why do people even have midlife crises? Well, middle age is a time of major changes and new challenges.

Many of us begin to feel the weight of our past experiences and wonder about our future. This period, often between ages 40 and 60, is a good time to reflect on life and what we've accomplished.

For many, health concerns start creeping in during these years. Physical changes like weight gain or decreased sexual desire can be unsettling.

Regular physical exercise boosts physical and mental health, but keeping up with young adults can feel like a losing battle.

The realization.

Another reason for midlife crises is the realization that we aren't young anymore. The current life expectancy means we still have many years ahead, but they might be different from our earlier ones.

This can lead to a desire to try new things or take a different path. Some people might buy fancy cars or pick up new hobbies, seeking ways to feel youthful again.

Social support is crucial when trying to deal with a midlife crisis. Friends, family, and even your best friend can provide the needed emotional backing.

Without it, feelings of isolation can set in, leading to mental health conditions like clinical depression.

Let's not forget about work. By middle age, many of us have been in our careers for decades. The daily grind can feel monotonous, prompting thoughts of a career change.

The divorce rate tends to spike during these years, as people reevaluate their relationships and seek fulfillment elsewhere.

Experiencing a recent loss, such as the death of a loved one, can trigger a midlife crisis. This can be a particularly difficult time, forcing us to confront our own mortality and reconsider our life's direction.

Seeing older people in their later years can also make us question if we're taking the right steps toward a fulfilling life.

Our role models and societal expectations shape our midlife transitions. Comparing ourselves to others can create pressure to achieve certain milestones.

"Real life often doesn't measure up to these ideals, leading to dissatisfaction."

A midlife crisis can also stem from unmet dreams and goals. We might feel time is running out to accomplish what we once hoped.

This sense of urgency can push us to make drastic changes, like switching careers or pursuing long-forgotten passions.

In essence, MLCs are driven by a mix of personal reflection, health concerns, and social influences. It’s a time to reevaluate and find a new way forward, even if it means navigating some stormy seas.

Remember, it's okay to feel lost sometimes. Use this period to explore new paths and redefine what happiness means to you.

Symptoms of a Midlife Crisis

Recognizing the symptoms of a midlife crisis can be tricky. Trust me, I've seen all sorts of symptoms in my years as a life coach.

Here are some common signs that you or someone you know might be trying to deal with a midlife crisis.

1. Sudden Desire for Change

You might wake up one day and decide you need something completely new. Whether it's a new career, a different lifestyle, or a new hobby, the urge to shake things up is strong.

For example, my friend Alison started painting at the age of 45. She'd never picked up a brush before but found it incredibly therapeutic.

impulsive purchases

2. Impulsive Decisions

Buying fancy cars or booking spontaneous trips can be telltale signs. I once had a client who bought a jetski on a whim, thinking it would make him feel younger.

Spoiler alert: it didn’t solve his deeper issues.

3. Emotional Upheaval

Feelings of depression and anxiety are common. You might find yourself more emotional or sensitive than usual.

One middle-aged man I worked with felt a constant sense of dread. He couldn't pinpoint why, but it was affecting his daily life.

4. Changes in Physical Health

Your body starts to demand better care. You might notice weight gain or loss, changes in sexual desire, or other physical changes.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention emphasize the importance of regular physical exercise to maintain health. I personally started yoga in my 50s and found it immensely helpful.

5. Questioning Life Choices

You may begin to question your past decisions, wondering if you took the right path. This often leads to feelings of regret or a desire to make up for lost time.

One of my clients, Bob, left his corporate job to start a small bakery. It was a drastic change, but it brought him immense joy.

6. Preoccupation with Aging

Thoughts about getting older can dominate your mind. You might worry about your appearance or fear losing your physical abilities.

I’ve seen people invest heavily in cosmetic procedures or fitness regimes, trying to hold on to their youth.

7. Relationship Struggles

Marriages and friendships might come under strain. The divorce rate often spikes during these years.

I've worked with a few couples who faced tough times but managed to work through their issues by seeking better care and understanding each other's needs.

8. Desire for Personal Fulfillment

A craving for meaning and purpose can become overwhelming. You might start volunteering, taking classes, or pursuing hobbies that bring a sense of fulfillment.

My client Susan found her calling in community service, which gave her a renewed sense of purpose.

In summary, midlife crisis symptoms vary widely. From drastic life changes to subtle shifts in emotions, these signs indicate a time of deep personal reflection.

It's a period to assess what's truly important and to explore new ways to achieve happiness. All while you deal with a midlife crisis! Sounds pretty appealing now, right?

Remember, these symptoms are part of a natural process of growth and change. Embrace them as opportunities to rediscover yourself.

Tips for Dealing with a Midlife Crisis

Dealing with an MLC can feel overwhelming, but there are practical steps you can take. Here are some tips that have helped my clients - and even myself - navigate this challenging time.

1. Practice Self-Reflection

Take time to understand your values and what truly brings you happiness. Journaling can help you process your thoughts and feelings.

2. Set New Goals

Establish personal and professional goals that align with your current values. Whether it's a new career path or learning different things, setting goals gives you direction.

3. Seek Professional Help

Therapy or counseling can provide guidance and support. Talking to a professional about your feelings can be incredibly therapeutic and help you deal with a midlife crisis.

I always recommend finding a therapist who understands the unique challenges of middle age.


4. Engage in Physical Activities

Regular physical exercise boosts both your physical and mental health. Try different activities to find what you enjoy. For me, it was the gym. For you, it might be hiking, swimming, or even dancing.

5. Build a Support System

Rely on family and friends for emotional support. Join support groups where you can share your experiences and gain encouragement. My best friend was my rock during my own midlife transition.

6. Embrace Change

Be open to new experiences and opportunities. Trying new hobbies or traveling can offer fresh perspectives. I took up writing in my mid-30s and found it surprisingly fulfilling - and now I have a blog!

7. Focus on Personal Growth

Pursue hobbies, education, and activities that foster a sense of accomplishment and joy. Consider taking classes or workshops in areas that interest you.

8. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

Take better care of your body with a balanced diet and regular check-ups. Addressing health concerns early can prevent issues down the line.

The average age for a midlife crisis might be 45, but it’s never too late to start prioritizing your health. Healthy people find it easy to deal with a midlife crisis. - I have no research to back this up but it's my theory, at least.

9. Practice Mindfulness

Techniques such as meditation and yoga can help manage stress and enhance mental clarity. I've found that even five minutes of mindfulness each day can make a huge difference.

10. Strengthen Relationships

Reconnect with family members and friends. Spend quality time together and nurture those bonds. Strong relationships can provide a sense of stability and support during tough times.

Remember, dealing with a midlife crisis is about finding what works best for you. Try different strategies and don't be afraid to seek help when needed. With the right approach, this can be a time of growth and new beginnings.

Strategies for Getting Over a Midlife Crisis

Overcoming an MLC involves proactive strategies to help you move forward. Here are some effective strategies to deal with a midlife crisis:

1. Build a Strong Support System

Surround yourself with supportive friends and family. Their encouragement and understanding can be invaluable during this time.

2. Embrace Lifelong Learning

Take up new courses or classes to learn different skills. Lifelong learning can ignite passion and purpose.

3. Volunteer and Give Back

Helping others can provide a sense of fulfillment. Volunteering connects you with your community and gives life new meaning.

When you shift your focus to others rather than yourself, your whole perspective shifts. I can't recommend this enough.

4. Practice Gratitude

Focus on the positives in your life. Keeping a gratitude journal can help shift your mindset from what's lacking to what's abundant.

5. Travel and Explore

Traveling introduces you to new cultures and perspectives. It can be a refreshing break from daily routines.

deal with a midlife crisis strategies

6. Redefine Success

Reevaluate what success means to you now. It’s okay if it’s different from when you were younger.

7. Reconnect with Old Hobbies

Rediscover hobbies you once loved but set aside. They can bring joy and a sense of continuity.

8. Create a Vision Board

Visualizing your goals and dreams can provide clarity and motivation. A vision board helps you focus on what you want to achieve. Check out my post on how to make one here.

9. Foster New Relationships

Make new friends who share your current interests. New relationships can bring fresh energy and ideas into your life.

10. Celebrate Small Wins

Acknowledge and celebrate small achievements. Recognizing progress, no matter how minor, can boost your confidence and morale.

Remember, getting over a midlife crisis is a journey. These strategies can help you navigate this challenging phase and emerge stronger and more fulfilled.

Embrace this time as an opportunity to create a richer, more meaningful life. It's such a good way to deal with a midlife crisis.

Additional Resources and Support

Navigating a midlife crisis can be easier with the right resources and support. Here are some helpful options:

Recommended Books

Check out "Passages" by Gail Sheehy and "The Middle Passage" by James Hollis. These books offer great insights.

Online Communities

Join online forums and support groups. Connecting with others facing similar challenges can be comforting and informative.

Therapy and Counseling

Seek professional help from therapists specializing in midlife transitions. Therapy provides a safe space to explore your feelings.

Support Groups

Look for local support groups in your area. Sharing experiences in person can offer valuable social support when dealing with a midlife crisis.

Educational Workshops

Attend workshops focused on personal growth and midlife transitions. They provide practical tools and new perspectives.

Health and Wellness Programs

Explore programs that promote physical and mental well-being. Regular physical exercise boosts your overall health and mood.

Community Centers

Many community centers offer classes and activities for middle-aged adults. It's a great way to meet people and learn new skills.

Professional Organizations

The American Psychological Association and other professional groups offer resources and referrals. They can guide you to reliable support.

Hotlines and Helplines

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, hotlines can provide immediate support. Sometimes talking to someone right away makes a huge difference.

Podcasts and Webinars

Listen to podcasts and attend webinars about midlife issues. They offer advice, stories, and tips from experts and peers.

Utilizing these resources can make a significant difference in your journey through a midlife crisis. Remember, seeking help is a strength, not a weakness.

keep learning


We've covered a lot about MLCs, haven't we? If you're feeling like you're in the midst of one, take a deep breath.

You're not alone, and this phase is completely natural. Think of it as a chapter in your life's book, not the whole story.

Remember, a midlife crisis is a time of transition. It's a chance to reevaluate your life, goals, and what truly makes you happy.

This period can be a bit rocky, but it also offers an opportunity for profound growth and change. Start by recognizing the symptoms and understanding why this is happening.

Whether it's emotional turmoil, physical changes, or a desire for new experiences, it's all part of the journey.

Use the tips and strategies we've discussed to navigate this challenging time. Reflect on your values, set new goals, and seek support when needed.

Surround yourself with a strong support system. Talk to family, and friends, or join support groups.

Connecting with others who understand what you're going through can make a world of difference. Professional help, like therapy or counseling, can also provide valuable guidance.

Don’t forget to take care of your physical health. Regular physical exercise boosts both your body and mind. Try new activities to keep things interesting.

Physical well-being is closely linked to mental health, so prioritize self-care. Embrace change and be open to new experiences.

Whether it's a new hobby, travel, or learning different things, these can bring joy and a sense of purpose. Life is full of possibilities, especially in middle age.

Practice gratitude and celebrate small wins. Every step forward, no matter how small, is progress. Focus on the positives in your life and what you've achieved so far. This can help shift your mindset and provide motivation.

Think about what success means to you now. It’s okay if it’s different from when you were younger. Life is about growth and change, and your definition of success should evolve with you.

As you move through this period, consider creating a vision board. Visualizing your goals and dreams can provide clarity and direction. It’s a fun and creative way to focus on what you want to achieve.

In the end, remember that this is your journey. It’s okay to feel lost sometimes. Use this time to explore, grow, and redefine what happiness means to you.

You're capable of navigating this phase and coming out stronger on the other side. Here are a few things to think about:

What truly makes you happy?

What new goals can you set for yourself?

How can you embrace change in a positive way?

Who can you reach out to for support?

What steps can you take today to improve your well-being?

You've got this. A midlife crisis is just a phase, and with the right approach, it can lead to a richer, more fulfilling life.

Embrace the journey, take it one step at a time, and know that you're not alone. You're stronger and more resilient than you think.

This post was all about how to deal with a midlife crisis.


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