We all know the clichés – red sports car, 25-year-old girlfriend, gray hair turned back to a somewhat unnatural color. These are some of the most common stereotypes of men going through a midlife crisis. But there is nothing funny about the feelings that men (and women) experience at a certain age. Of course, not everyone goes through this, but most people succumb to feelings of nostalgia for our younger days. Even if the younger days weren’t that great, we can convince ourselves that life was easier, more exciting and it seemed as if there were unlimited possibilities. If you are feeling some of these things, don’t beat yourself up about it. Instead, practice some techniques that will help you focus on the future and not waste time thinking about the past. FirstLantic explores some ways you can get through this and come out stronger and more positive in the process.
Get Out of Your Rut
One of the most common feelings is that you’re on a hamster wheel every day. Life has become a series of mundane chores. For many of us, that actually is the case. But it doesn’t have to be. It’s never too late to try something new. That seems like another cliché but it’s true. For example, you may hate your job, but it pays the bills and you can’t just quit. However, it doesn’t mean that you can’t try a side gig that could turn into something else. Start writing that novel for thirty minutes each day or take an online course or put a little money away each week that’s for the sole purpose of helping you take charge of your destiny. If all of those things sound impossible, then think about this:
· Sam Walton founded Wal-Mart when he was 44.
· Ray Kroc bought the first McDonald’s just after his 50th birthday.
· Rodney Dangerfield was 46 when he got his big break on the Ed Sullivan Show.
· Harland Sanders was dead broke at 65. Then, he sold the first Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise.
· And Charles Darwin published On the Age of Species at age 50.
Stop Feeling Sorry for Yourself
We all are going to get old and die (if we are lucky). While that may sound harsh, it’s the truth. One of the most effective ways to get out of your own head is to help someone else. Go out and volunteer one day a week or even one day a month. Mentor an underprivileged child, go work at a soup kitchen or volunteer at an animal shelter. Helping others gets us out of our own way. It focuses our attention on something positive that we can do to make the world just a bit better.
Take Better Care of Yourself
We all know that exercise and healthy eating is better for us than loading up on doughnuts. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy to turn that around. However, scientific studies prove that you will feel better when you are healthier and more active. There is a reason why they call it the “runner’s high”. But you don’t have to train for a marathon to feel the positive effects. You can start with as little as 10 minutes a day of activity and you will start sleeping better and feel more productive. That means that “you don’t have time” is no longer an excuse.
Practice Abundant Thinking
As life coach Tony Edelman put it, “Of all the strategies I used to mitigate my depression and anxiety, abundance thinking was the most difficult for me to adopt. It’s also been the most beneficial. It required me to change some of my core beliefs”. His point is that many of us focus more on what we don’t have than on what we do. As the saying goes, “there is always going to be someone richer, more handsome and more successful” but that doesn’t mean that someone else’s gain is your loss. The world has limitless opportunities, but we need to remind ourselves of this each and every day. Travel more, laugh more, hug your kids more. You might be surprised at how wealthy you really are.
In summary, mid-life anxiety is real and many of us suffer from it. While there is no magic bullet, you can change your mindset. Make a list of what (and who) makes you happy and look at it every day. Remind yourself that you have a choice and that you can choose to have a richer life even if it’s not always easy. And there is always that red Ferrari in case all else fails!