Are You More Likely to Experience Anxiety in Middle Age? 

Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time. However, the type, intensity, and frequency of your anxiety may change as you get older.

Anxiety disorders affect just over 18% of the population in a given year. Unfortunately, only about a third of those individuals receive the professional support they need. Anxiety in middle age can be distressing, but it is treatable. Here are some important considerations to know.

What Causes Increased Anxiety in Middle Age?

First, it’s important to note that age itself does not cause mental health issues. That said, certain variables associated with growing older can exacerbate stress, therefore affecting your emotional well-being. Let’s examine some common culprits.


Research shows that the average caregiver is about 49.2 years old. Many people in middle age are taking care of spouses, children, or aging parents.

While caregiving may be rewarding, it can also be undoubtedly taxing and anxiety-provoking. You may feel like you’re juggling too many responsibilities at one time. You might also struggle to prioritize your own self-care, which can adversely affect your mental health.

Marital Stress

Many couples face marital issues during middle age. Sometimes, they experience ongoing problems that have accumulated over several years. Other times, problems emerge due to the inevitable stressors associated with this time.

Either way, marital stress can trigger mental health problems. It’s natural to want to rely on your spouse for support. But if that option doesn’t seem feasible, you may feel even more uncomfortable or anxious.

Empty Nest Syndrome

Most children become adults and start leaving home during the middle age years. While this milestone can be exciting, it often results in new anxiety for parents.

You may find yourself feeling even more worried about their safety and well-being. Furthermore, their leaving likely leaves you with more time and energy on your hands. The empty nest can trigger loneliness, which may contribute to existential concerns about your identity and the next phase in your life.

Perimenopause and Menopause

Hormone fluctuations can affect every part of your routine functioning. It’s normal to experience some mood changes. Furthermore, during this time, you will likely encounter several physiological changes related to sleep, appetite, and sexual function.

This transition can certainly coincide with anxiety symptoms. During menopause, you may feel worried about the effects of aging. At the same time, you might feel disconnected from your body or usual sense of self.

How Can You Cope?

Coping with anxiety in middle age requires both insight and action. You need to have an awareness of what’s happening and the willingness to manage your symptoms proactively.

Recognize Your Triggers

Gaining insight into your triggers is essential for managing anxiety. Try to reflect on the people or situations that make you feel most stressed. Do you feel more vulnerable during certain times or days?

Of course, triggers can fluctuate depending on the situation. That said, it’s important to establish an inventory in determining what’s most contributing to your stress.

Increase Daily Mindfulness

Mindfulness is one of the best remedies for managing anxiety. When you’re mindful, you are living in the moment and embracing life for what it is. You aren’t ruminating on the past or obsessing about the future.

You can implement more mindfulness into everyday life by:

  • taking deep breaths when you feel overwhelmed.
  • incorporating a formal meditation practice into your schedule.
  • practicing yoga or other forms of relaxing exercises.
  • engaging in one task at a time (rather than multitasking).
  • practicing active listening in your relationships.

Seek Support

Anxiety can fester in isolation. Unfortunately, many people experience exacerbated shame over their mental health. As a result, they don’t tell anyone how they feel, perpetuating their distress.

Instead, try to focus on increasing your support during this time. Reach out to trusted friends and family. Let them in on how you feel (and let them give you help if you need it!).

Practice More Gratitude

Implementing more gratitude can dramatically boost your mental health. Gratitude helps keep the larger picture in perspective. Remembering the good parts of your life often makes it easier to weather through those challenging parts.

You can practice gratitude in small ways. For instance, send a meaningful text to a friend who helped you last week. Write down the best part of your day every evening. When you brush your teeth, spend the time thinking about your current blessings.

Prioritize Your Physical Health

Anxiety may compromise how well you take care of yourself. But it’s important to try to make healthier lifestyle changes when possible.

Make sure that you are eating well, staying physically active, and getting enough sleep. Meeting these basic needs is essential for managing your mental health.

Final Thoughts

Anxiety in middle age can feel discouraging, but it doesn’t need to define your well-being. Getting treatment can make a significant difference in how you feel.

Therapy provides a safe and supportive environment to discuss your emotions. Together, we will focus on understanding your triggers and utilizing healthier coping strategies to manage your stress. Contact me today to schedule your initial consultation.

4601 Spicewood Springs Road Building 3, Suite 200
Austin, TX 78759
(512) 988-3363

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