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Midlife crises tend to surface in middle age as men come to the realization that they are not where they hoped to be. While that may be true, and the realization creates a crisis of identity, this crisis can be transformed into a huge gift.

By the time most men reach the ages of 35 to 55, they have made decisions and developed habits that most likely will set the course for the rest of their lives. Any dreams, financial or otherwise, that have not been realized, could have a haunting effect. Coming to terms with lost dreams can be painful. Some men might find themselves wanting to change jobs and/or reinvent themselves. Sometimes these changes are life-affirming. Other times they are deeply disruptive and harmful. 

It is important to understand that most people are doing the best with the resources that they have. If you decided that your best wasn’t good enough to get you where you wanted to go, shift out of criticism and into curiosity about how to get to the other side.

Here are some of the keys to understanding what a midlife crisis is and whether it may be on the way so you can spot them in yourself and your loved one(s):

Who’s in Danger?

Most men will face some of the greatest challenges of their lives when they reach middle-age, and while a midlife crisis is possible, it is preventable. Fewer than 1 out of 4 men have reported having midlife crises in the past couple of decades. However, the problem with this is that most men won’t admit they have ever been through or are currently going through one. This means that the number of men who have them is likely much higher than what is reported. Men who have struggled with emotional or mental issues when they were teenagers or in their twenties are more likely to have midlife crises as well.

Signs and Symptoms

Signs of a midlife crisis are not always as obvious as buying a flashy new sports car, for example. They might be much more subtle and can include such things as a change in mood or frequent mood swings for no apparent reason. Men going through a midlife crisis will have issues that weigh heavily on their minds, and this can mean a lack or loss of sex drive. Along with this might come erectile dysfunction (ED), which can come and go. Sadness, depression, and a lack of energy or enthusiasm are common signs as well. 

What About Treatment?

Although there is no real medical or psychological treatment for a midlife crisis, the symptoms can be treated individually. This might mean receiving therapy for signs of depression such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). With CBT, patients learn to control their thought patterns and prevent negative emotions from surfacing.

Divorce or a change in occupation can trigger an entirely new pattern of thinking that can quickly become destructive. The fact that men experience these changes around middle-age makes it that much more challenging. However, with the support of friends and loved ones, there is hope for a prosperous future.

Managing your energy body becomes even more important in mid-life. Then rather than acting out, seek to move the emotional energy in a more productive fashion. There are specific techniques you can use to help keep yourself grounded and supported during times of discomfort and change. Read more about that on my energy blog or consider seeking out new resources by attending workshops, reading books or hiring a professional transformation or life coach.