Survive Your Midlife Crisis

The common definition of midlife crisis is a period of emotional turmoil in characterized by a strong desire for change. It occurs in both men and women and is manifested in many different ways. Men, predominantly motivated to prove themselves visibly, are inclined to buy flashy cars, hit on younger women, and spend excessive amounts of time at the gym. Issues that fuel a woman’s midlife crisis are often a bit more complicated and introspective.

Women tend to enter this stage of life through new insights spurred by self-reflection, religion, or counseling. In this phase, women often question every aspect of their lives, make extremely impulsive decisions such as quitting their jobs, undergoing radical cosmetic surgery, going on excessive shopping sprees, and, in some cases, divorcing their partner.

The Instigators
When children grow up and become independent, women often experience the “empty nest syndrome” in which the children leave home and the parent experiences deep loneliness. If a woman has spent most of her time and therefore based much of her identity on raising her children, their departure from the home can easily diminish her sense of worth and bring on depression.

Another factor frequently affecting the female midlife crisis is menopause. Between fluctuating hormones and the mental and spiritual grappling over what it means for a woman to become “infertile,” a sense of uneasiness and unhappiness can set in.

Often the husband’s own midlife crisis coincides with his wife’s, adding his negative emotions to their relationship. His actions can either push his wife away through his need to prove his vitality and attractiveness, or they can surface as a neediness and an overdependence on her, which can make the woman feel trapped in her life and in a potentially degrading relationship.

A fourth factor involved with female menopause is the loss of beauty and vitality as a woman ages. The fearful feeling that she will never be as desirable as she once was and that her most adventurous and formidable years are behind her, can easily send her into a downward spiral of depression, triggering the need to change something in her life to alleviate her unhappiness.

Then there’s the mortality factor. Midlife tends to be a time when health starts to become an issue. Problems such as arthritis, diabetes, and obesity can introduce new fears, along with a sense of helplessness.

These factors tend to have a cumulative effect on a woman, which culminate in feelings of despair, fear, boredom, and disappointment that lead to aggressive, risky choices associated with a midlife crisis.

The Counterattack
There are distinctly effective techniques to minimize the severity of a midlife crisis. It helps greatly if the woman feels that she has made good choices in her life and that she has followed her passions and interests. When midlife hits for these women, they don’t feel the same type of overwhelming panic of “I never did what I wanted and I’m almost out of time” that seems to afflict many middle-agers.

Maintaining a good relationship with children and friends can go a long way towards peaceful aging. Starting hobbies, joining clubs, and picking up new activities is an excellent way of expressing potentially suppressed creativity and a way to bring a fresh breath into daily life. Taking the time to plan trips and to travel is another way to counteract boredom and the fear of having lost the best years of one’s life. Eating right and exercising regularly are great ways to deal with midlife issues, as physical activity makes us feel more balanced and releases endorphins that put us in a positive mindset.

An important aspect of this life stage is to keep in mind that while it is possible that we haven’t been living our lives to the fullest so far, we have the power to make many or all of the changes that we once avoided. The most self-destructive thing we can do at this time of our lives is to engage in further delay. If we have learned nothing else, we should have learned that time is fleeting and excuses are costly. Costly in lost opportunities to finally live fully and comfortably within our own skins.

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  1. Pingback: Red Responds: Sudden Abandonment | California Psychics Blog

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