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Signs To Look For If You Think You're Having a Midlife Crisis

Redbook Logo By Olivia Muenter, Amy Capetta of Redbook | Slide 1 of 18: Reaching middle age usually means a few major life adjustments — retirement, a newly empty nest, or health changes. Sometimes, it means all of the above, or a slew of different changes entirely. It can also mean becoming more familiar with the signs of a midlife crisis, either in yourself or your peers. Though the term midlife crisis is fairly common, it’s actually only existed since the mid-1960s, according to Psychology Today. Coined by psychologist Elliot Jacques,"midlife crisis"was originally used to describe the period of life where adults tend to “reckon with their mortality,” as the same Psychology Today article explains. In other words, the phenomenon can be a little more complicated than how it's often portrayed — it’s more than just someone purchasing a fancy car or picking up an unexpected hobby. As Baltimore-based therapist and co-founder of WithTherapy.com Dr. Heather Z. Lyons tells Woman’s Day, a midlife crisis, in essence, is a struggle with one’s own finiteness. “Our finiteness or mortality can become particularly salient when we experience health issues, experience transition, hit a milestone, or lose a loved one,” Lyons explains, emphasizing why midlife can be such a sensitive time for adults, and why it's often a time when adults feel an impulse to achieve and create more meaning in their lives than usual. It’s also a time when adults are at a greater risk to develop mood disorders like depression, Lyons adds. The ways in which a mid-life crisis can manifest are numerous. They’re also things that can be an opportunity to readjust, as licensed professional counselor and founder/CEO of Mayfield Counseling Centers Dr. Mark Mayfield explains. “This can be a great place to readjust goals and make peace with your past,” Dr. Mayfield tells Woman's Day. “Often the question of‘am I enough?’ is at the center of this stage of life. When someone cannot answer that question with an honest and vulnerable mindset, they can spiral into chaos.” In any case, being aware of the monumental changes (emotional, mental, and physical) that can occur when someone reaches middle-age is helpful — no matter what your age.“If you notice that a loved one has difficulty accomplishing daily tasks or attending to relationships it's time to reach out to them to talk with them about whether what they're experiencing is more serious,” Dr. Lyons says.

Reaching middle age usually means a few major life adjustments — retirement, a newly empty nest, or health changes. Sometimes, it means all of the above, or a slew of different changes entirely. It can also mean becoming more familiar with the signs of a midlife crisis, either in yourself or your peers.

Though the term midlife crisis is fairly common, it’s actually only existed since the mid-1960s, according to Psychology Today. Coined by psychologist Elliot Jacques,"midlife crisis"was originally used to describe the period of life where adults tend to “reckon with their mortality,” as the same Psychology Today article explains. In other words, the phenomenon can be a little more complicated than how it's often portrayed — it’s more than just someone purchasing a fancy car or picking up an unexpected hobby. As Baltimore-based therapist and co-founder of WithTherapy.com Dr. Heather Z. Lyons tells Woman’s Day, a midlife crisis, in essence, is a struggle with one’s own finiteness.

“Our finiteness or mortality can become particularly salient when we experience health issues, experience transition, hit a milestone, or lose a loved one,” Lyons explains, emphasizing why midlife can be such a sensitive time for adults, and why it's often a time when adults feel an impulse to achieve and create more meaning in their lives than usual. It’s also a time when adults are at a greater risk to develop mood disorders like depression, Lyons adds.

The ways in which a mid-life crisis can manifest are numerous. They’re also things that can be an opportunity to readjust, as licensed professional counselor and founder/CEO of Mayfield Counseling Centers Dr. Mark Mayfield explains. “This can be a great place to readjust goals and make peace with your past,” Dr. Mayfield tells Woman's Day. “Often the question of‘am I enough?’ is at the center of this stage of life. When someone cannot answer that question with an honest and vulnerable mindset, they can spiral into chaos.”

In any case, being aware of the monumental changes (emotional, mental, and physical) that can occur when someone reaches middle-age is helpful — no matter what your age.“If you notice that a loved one has difficulty accomplishing daily tasks or attending to relationships it's time to reach out to them to talk with them about whether what they're experiencing is more serious,” Dr. Lyons says.

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