Make a Midlife Crisis Work for You

Medically Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD
From the WebMD Archives

By Jennifer Warner

Rather than letting fear and anxiety restrict your life choices and leave you in a rut, experts say you can look at a midlife crisis as an opportunity for personal growth.

Linda Sapadin, author of Master Your Fears: How to Triumph over Your Worries and Get on with Your Life, recommends these steps for using a midlife crisis to your advantage:

  • Do one gutsy thing. Do something despite feeling uncomfortable or fearful about it. "That's one way to move outside of your comfort zone, rather than be depressed, anxious, or dissatisfied, which is the essence of a midlife crisis," says Sapadin.
  • Use children as role models. Most people are ashamed to admit they're jealous of their kids. But you could look to them as role models during this time. If they're not afraid to take a risk or do something, you may be able to learn from them and become more socially and physically active.
  • Delight in difficulty. Reframe how you think about difficulty. Rather than thinking of something difficult as exhausting or that you can't do it, think of it as an opportunity to pick up skills you never thought you'd have, such as taking up a new sport or hobby. You can do it as an individual, couple, or as a family.

"When people at midlife stop worrying so much about pleasing others and measuring themselves by other peoples' standards, then they begin to think more about what they want, and that is a positive aspect of a midlife crisis," says Sapadin.