Most people will experience a change in their emotions and moods at a point in their lives. This is usually a transition in which they live their lives or adjustments within aspects of their lives. There are many feelings behind a person experiencing a midlife crisis. These can include unhappiness or boredom with their lifestyle. We may feel that there is a need for change or some form of adventure within our lives to help us to overcome this midlife crisis. Confusion about our lives and questioning any decisions that are made is another aspect.
Another factor that may be involved in a midlife crisis is the feeling of anger towards a loved one.
It is difficult going through a midlife crisis as sometimes it is not a simple and easy fix. Experiencing stress in other parts of your life will be more likely to affect the way you think about other aspects of your life and may be more likely to lead to a midlife crisis. For example, if someone is in debt or they have just gone through a significant loss.
Most people are able to come out of their midlife crisis smoothly without finding any major changes within their lives. However, sometimes it can be more complicated and there is more of a need for help within their lives. This is where help from a professional will be supportive and will be likely to benefit the individual.
Types of help available for a Midlife Crisis
Drug therapies are not recommended as the first-line treatment for a midlife crisis.
Psychological therapy is recommended, especially if the symptoms are severe. Therapy or counselling can help you to develop healthier coping strategies, and to transition into the next stage of life with greater self-awareness and self-compassion. This usually involves identifying your values and learning to accept events to commit to change.
Types of therapy that may help with a midlife crisis include:
- Existential Therapy: Existential Therapy helps people to deal with the problems of everyday life, by exploring questions of how to lead a more meaningful life. The main assumption of this approach is that suffering is an unavoidable part of life, but that it is our attempts to control or avoid pain that actually results in long-term suffering. The focus in therapy is on building self-knowledge and self-acceptance. By doing this, the client is able to both overcome the problem and grow. The therapist will work alongside you to explore your ideals and values. Ultimately, the aim is for you to feel like you are in control of what's important to you by making the choices you want to make.
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: ACT helps people to stop fearing the future, to accept their current circumstances and live in the present. This cognitive-behavioural method teaches us to notice and accept our thoughts, feelings and behaviour. By accepting what we cannot control, we are able to take action that truly makes a difference.