The fact that a middle age crisis is not always a painless period is blown by many popular psychological editions. But serious science does not always agree with such a "negativistic" point of view. Yes, the time of the middle age crisis is a period of rethinking of one’s life and the path traveled, which is not always pleasant; some goals have been achieved, some had to be abandoned, many dreams can now seem unrealizable, but ... does an active life end there? De facto is not. In today's realities, this crisis is more likely a calm rethinking of oneself in this world than peak experiences and depressive symptoms. However, they also have a place to be: how to smooth out this period and draw maximum benefit from it? Let's think about it.
Go in for sports
You don't have to hit hard on weightlifting or start preparing for ski marathons. Learn to listen to your body, feel, what does it lack? Any sports aspirations will be useful both in somatic and psychological terms. First, the body's tone will be trivial, which is important - the physiological state affects the emotional sphere, just as the psyche affects somatics. In addition, a small but regular morning exercise will be a good prevention for "seasonal" diseases.
Secondly, metered loads stimulate the release of norepinephrine and endorphin in the body - this explains satisfaction after exercise. By the way, not so long ago, psychophysiologists found that banal flexibility exercises (stretch marks) give a greater increase in the “joy” hormones than heavy sports. Why not reach out and maintain your body and your emotional resources? - Sport is a way to reset your condition and get rid of unexpressed emotions.
Fig. 1 - Sport, as a measure to overcome the crisis, improves overall health and mood.
So, the first advice is to keep your body occupied and this will even smooth out the unpleasant manifestations of the crisis age.
Go deep into the family
A well-known fact in psychology: the family is the most conflicting group ... and the most reliable support when the world broke out in a storm. So why not use this resource? No wonder the age of 40 years is called the "second youth". Take a fresh look at what your children are interested in, maybe this “something” will carry you away so much that a new hobby will be born. In addition, sincere interest will help to establish a warm relationship between all family members, which will create a comfort zone in which you can always plunge into moments of adversity with confidence.
Secondly, no one says that a midlife crisis reduces the ability and desire to learn something new. Spending time with your family, you will once again understand what dissimilar views on life can be - and this is after so many years of living together! And sometimes these positions are extremely interesting, perhaps they will become the leaders in the next segment of life?
Fig. 2 - Good family relationships remain the strongest ally in dealing with crises.
So, the second tip - look towards your family. Once abandoned, the seed of trust and acceptance will return to you with family warmth, which will certainly help you survive the vicissitudes of the midlife crisis.
Remember your hobbies
What did you do when you were a 20-year-old boy? What books did you like? What fascinated you? Where has it all gone? - Maybe this is the right period to brush away the dust from the old guitar or open the volume of Heidegger? Go back to your roots. What helped you before will certainly help you now. In addition, the awareness of your forgotten and even seeming strange interests is a powerful emotional support in accepting the fact that your past was damn interesting.
It is far from uncommon that taking on “the old” one will acquire such an incredible self-confidence that someone decides to radically change his whole rhythm of life. Our hobbies are another factor that helps build a positive emotional attitude. In many forgotten hobbies, some sacred meaning was laid, which, when discovered again, helps to see your life in bright colors.
Turn to art
Aesthetic experiences are a magnificent thing, given to man by evolution. Even if you have never understood the art of painting or classical music, why not try them again? Maybe it was the time when the picture of Aivazovsky expressed the ninth wave, which broke out in your soul? Accepting that music and pictures (and other forms of art) “feel” your experience with you - this is a powerful support. After all, the works can be centuries. And it means that more than one generation ago someone understood and expressed your confusion. Art is an indicator of community, which makes it clear that even in insane joy and deep grief you are not alone.
In addition, the middle age crisis is a period when you want to feel and learn something absolutely new. And a new look at the eternal classics may just be the impetus that will push you into a new world of history, philosophy, and just interesting stories about the great life.
So, the next piece of advice - ask for the help of the eternal, because the power of art is so great that it will help you to share all the unpleasant experiences that can wrap you.
This is probably our most radical advice. At some point, a man may keenly feel that everything he does is not his. And at such times, neither large posts nor high incomes are able to patch this hole of dissatisfaction with themselves. For many, a midlife crisis is a period of job change, sometimes forced, but it is better to do it voluntarily.
What would you like and be able to do? Maybe you are always interested in radio engineering or genetics? Today there are all opportunities to get a second special education, yes, or just to somehow join the beloved sphere. Of course, changing a profession and retraining is a laborious, but often very pleasant process. In particular, if the choice is made by you consciously and there is a lively interest in what you want to do.
Fig. 3 - Professional development, retraining, job change - this is all available for a man at almost any age.
But, of course, do not forget about the economic stability of the family. Even taking time to retrain, do not forget about their relatives. Your joy should not be built on the grief of others.
Instead of conclusion
So, a midlife crisis is not always depression and dissatisfaction with one’s life, although such a scenario is also possible. Normally, a period of 35-40 years is characterized by a new upsurge, a rethinking of itself and its purpose: new goals are set, insignificant ones are discarded. The middle age crisis is successfully completed if even greater integration and harmony with oneself (and the world) is achieved than it was before this period. This period is a step towards a sense of value and fullness of your life.
And briefly about the pitfalls of this period. First, it is a variety of addictions and at the head is alcoholism. But it will not be possible to drown the sense of one’s own inconsistency in alcohol; therefore, one must look for more constructive ways out of the crisis. And the main thing is not to be afraid to ask for help, because the recognition of one’s own weakness is the greatest strength and a huge step on the way to solving one’s problems. Well, if life seems quite unbearable, then why not think about a good psychotherapist?
Psychologist Borisov, O. B.