Debunking the 'Midlife Crisis'
What is a midlife crisis?
The concept of a so-called ‘midlife crisis’ has become popular in recent times. It’s usually used to describe middle-aged people trying to drastically change their lives as a way to accept their age.
Common triggers of a midlife crisis include:
- Hitting a big birthday milestone, like 40 or 50
- Dissatisfaction with major aspects of your life, like your career or health
- Changes to your appearance
- The feeling that life is moving too fast
In turn, people may respond to these triggers by making big changes to appearance, lifestyle or interests—often in a hurry.
But is it real?
Our understanding of the midlife crisis is changing. Many experts now believe that a midlife crisis is a cultural notion and not a biological phenomenon. The idea of a midlife crisis doesn’t exist in every culture across the world.
While the midlife crisis may not be rooted in science, that doesn’t mean what you’re feeling isn’t real. And, contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t just happen to men. Aging presents a lot of changes to your life and can transform your sense of identity.
What you can do if you’re feeling anxious
Don’t worry, there are some steps you can take to change your view.
First, remind yourself that it’s okay to feel how you’re feeling. But also remind yourself that just because you feel a certain way doesn’t mean you need to respond right away. Don’t make large, life-altering decisions, like quitting your job and moving across the country, in the moment. Feelings can change over time. If problems do persist, then you can address them.
Be grateful. Think about everything that makes you happy in life and be thankful for them.
Consider if your goals are realistic. Just because you’re in your 40s or 50s doesn’t mean your life is set in stone. You can still go back to school, travel or start a business. But be sure your goals aren’t unobtainable either, which can make your feelings worse.
Talk to someone. Voicing your feelings can do a lot to make you feel better. It also helps to consult someone else when you feel like you need to make a major life change.
Talking with a licensed professional can help you navigate this period. With telehealth services from Teladoc®, members can connect with a mental health specialist from the comfort and privacy of home. You can use telehealth from your phone, tablet or computer, meaning you can do it wherever and whenever you’re most comfortable.