If you’re a midlife woman, and you have been experiencing midlife anxiety recently and not sure how to control it or where it even came from, this blog is for you.
Having a midlife crisis isn’t anything unheard of and we’re all well aware of what a midlife crisis is and how to handle it. In case you aren’t really sure, you should take a few minutes to read this article:
So something I’ve noticed recently as I near the ripe age of 60 is that I’m starting to have bouts of anxiety. This is bizarre to me as I’ve never really suffered from an anxiety disorder or panic attacks before (though I do have a family member who does suffer from them) so when I first had one it kinda freaked me out.
Yet here we are.
I wasn’t sure if this anxiety attack was because of hormonal changes…is this just middle age now?…midlife transition if you will? Where were these coming from?
I did a little digging and started reading up on
- symptoms of a midlife crisis
- symptoms of depression
- when to seek professional help
- clinical depression
- mood disorders
- and more.
I mean I had no idea what the heck was happening to me and to be honest, I was kind of scared. I read up a lot on the signs of a midlife crisis to see if somehow, somewhere, anxiety was listed in there.
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Can Midlife Crisis Cause Anxiety?
If we take a sneak peek at some of the symptoms of a midlife crisis, you will see that verywellmind.com states this:
Pronounced changes in mood, such as increased anger, irritability, sadness, or anxiety.Source-Verywellmind.com
From my own experience, I tend to have anxiety attacks when I feel a little out of control of whatever situation I’m in at the time. This could be something as little as being in a long line up at Walmart and the kids are screaming, or walking through a crowd.
According to the Centre For Anxiety Disorders:
Unlike a medical condition, midlife anxiety doesn’t have specific symptoms. Instead, it’s a mixture of emotions, feelings, and body changes that lead to the strong sense that something needs to change.Source- Centreforanxietydisorders.com
Can midlife crisis cause anxiety? Yes. Some aspects of midlife crisis can cause anxiety.
So take what you want from that and leave the rest.
What causes anxiety in middle age?
Midlife anxiety actually can be caused by so many things. We’re going to break that down into a few things right now and then I want to talk about how to control this so it doesn’t ruin you or your life.
What causes anxiety in middle age?
Here is a small list of things can trigger an anxiety attack in midlife:
- career change
- death of a parent
- mental health issues (recent)
- life changes (moving/divorce/retirement/etc)
- empty nest syndrome
- job loss
- physical changes (weight gain/arthritis/pain/hair loss/wrinkles/etc)
You can see, there are quite a few things that can set off an anxiety attack. I hope to be able to offer you the best ways to deal with and control midlife anxiety.
13 Ways to Control Your Midlife Anxiety
Once you determine the cause of your midlife anxiety, or causes, it will be easier to choose and apply any of the techniques I’m going to share with you now.
1 Accept life changes
If your anxiety is caused by a divorce, moving, empty nest and other major life changes one way to control this is refrain from resisting the sudden changes in your life and accept them. Nothing is permanent. Not even life.
Embrace and accept this change and let it help you grow.
2 Take care of your physical health
The most important thing to take care of, besides your mental health, is your physical health. Diet plays a huge role in our emotions and how we think and feel.
Exercise is another way to avoid midlife anxiety, weight gain, mood swings, midlife depression and so much more. Get in some exercise at least 5 times a week and mind what you eat.
3 Take time to meditate
Finding time to sit calmly and quietly with just your breathing is probably one of the best things you can do to control anxiety.
4 Spend more time outdoors
You’ve heard it before. “Go outside and get some fresh air, you’ll feel better” Well, it’s true. According to Ontario Parks
Stress is relieved within minutes of exposure to nature as measured by muscle tension, blood pressure, and brain activity. Time in green spaces significantly reduces your cortisol, which is a stress hormone. Nature also boosts endorphin levels and dopamine production, which promotes happiness.
5 Get a good night rest
If you have a hard time sleeping there are a few things you can try such as:
- sleepy time tea
- listening to guided meditations at night
- reading an ‘easy’ book (not too much action/suspense/drama/etc)
- stop eating and drinking anything at least 4 hours before bed
Try talking to your doctor for other sleepaids or methods to help you. But it’s no secret that without a good night rest, you will feel unwell, foggy, agitated (you may even suffer mild cognitive impairment) and more the next day.
6 Talk to a friend
Midlife anxiety can be scary and frustrating but you don’t have to suffer through this alone either. A lot of older adults go through this as well and probably someone you know!
Call up someone and talk to them and see how they handle it. What works for some may not work for others so maybe they have some neat tricks up their sleeves!
7 Increase sexual activity with your partner
Yes, good ole s.e.x for the win! Now if you are in a relationship with a middle-aged man who just so happens to suffer with erectile dysfunction, make sure you got a good supply of ‘the pills’ so you two can have more fun!
Single? Well that’s ok. It’s not that difficult to pleasure yourself. Any adult store will have exactly what you need and can even help you with it too!
8 Write out your feelings
Don’t knock this until you’ve tried it. I love to journal my thoughts and this has actually got me through tough times when I had a lot of feelings of depression.
While I most certainly do try to stay positive all the time, it’s practically impossible to do that and negative thoughts creep in. And it’s no surprise that many of us, as we get older, we get sadder.
The suicide rates in older adults in the United States will shock you. In a recent study, among the nearly 46,000 suicides that took place in the U.S., 9,137 were attributed to people age 65 and up. (Source National Council on Aging)
9 Talk to a professional
While we don’t all want to do this, this might actually the best thing for many of us (in all age groups by the way!). Mental health professionals are here to give you the tools and help you can’t find anywhere else.
And…they are trained to provide you with the best possible care. You can’t go wrong.
You should never feel embarrassed if you have to seek help. Be proud of yourself for taking that step!
10 Deep breathing exercises
These have helped me tremendously! The minute I start having feelings of anxiety I try to find a spot to sit down or a wall to lean against and I breathe in and out softly while trying to clear the clutter in my mind.
If you can, close your eyes and just breathe. Nice and easy. It will literally calm you down in minutes (remember what works for some may not work for all so at least try this and see if it helps!)
This may sound silly but get some water and drink! Water really is a miracle liquid that helps our bodies and brains with so much.
Don’t underestimate the power of a glass of water!
Try to NOT drink anything sugary or alcoholic. You are trying to calm down, not get all fired up! If you can, keep a bottle of water on hand or close by at all times.
12 Get the right vitamins and minerals
Are you lacking in some vital vitamins and minerals? Do you even know? A lot of us have no clue. We should! Talk to your primary care physician and get a check up!
You just might be deficient in some pretty important minerals that you may not be getting in your daily food intake.
13 Cut out sugar
I know I already said to start taking better care of yourself to avoid health problems but you really need to know that sugar is the #1 worst food ever ( I know I know, but it’s so good!) If you can cut out alcohol too that would be great.
You’re not going to like to hear this but, here it goes anyway.
The researchers found that in the 2,664 individuals included in the study, those who consumed one to seven servings of sugar-sweetened beverages per week were 1.91 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those who consumed no sugar-sweetened beverages.Source- alzdiscovery.org
Is it a midlife crisis or just midlife anxiety?
So this is the big question. How do you tell the difference between midlife anxiety or a plain ole midlife crisis?
Well first of all, a midlife crisis is something you will go through during your entire midlife and isn’t something that can be controlled as easy as taking a few deep breaths.
Midlife anxiety can be crippling and can sometimes make you feel like you’re having a heart attack or that you will pass out. These will come and go, for some, often, for others, just randomly.
Don’t downplay an anxiety attack. Pay close attention to some of the physiological changes you are going through when you’re having one and talk to your doctor about them. They may suggest you change your diet or maybe even your medications.
Another way to look at the aging process
You’re changing and growing and evolving and that’s a beautiful thing. Yes, we’re getting older but we’re not dead yet. You are just entering a new phase of your life.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not thrilled that my hair is so grey, I have tons of wrinkles, my youthful appearance is no more, everything is sagging. None of this makes me too happy.
But what does make me happy is that I am still fully alive and kicking!!! And so are you.
You could have another 20-40 more good years left in you!! Live your life to the fullest.
With each new decade of your life, take time to embrace the change, flow with it and always remember to enjoy each and every minute you have breath in you.
ox iva ox