Midlife Anxiety: Why It’s Happening and How to Cope

While everyone gets worried from time to time, anxiety symptoms can increase during middle age, and they can be difficult to manage. Anxiety often results in a combination of emotional and physical symptoms that can trigger feelings of restlessness and dread. While anxiety itself is not curable, there are steps you can take to regulate your emotions and manage your stress.

What Causes Midlife Anxiety?

Middle age can be a challenging time. Your body, relationships, and general life circumstances may be changing dramatically. You might feel worried that you’re not doing enough in the present moment or panicked about what’s to come in the future.

Frequent Transitions and Changes

Middle adulthood often consists of numerous life changes, such as children growing up and leaving home, retirement considerations, and relationship changes. Some of these shifts may be positive and expected, but they can also be anxiety-producing.

Existential Concerns About Life and Mortality

Growing older can trigger intense thoughts about getting sick, dying, or losing loved ones. You might find yourself feeling anxious about how much time you have left or if you have achieved all that you hoped to accomplish.

Hormonal Changes

Middle age is associated with hormonal fluctuations, and the changes in testosterone and anxiety levels can affect mood, sleep, and emotional well-being. These changes can affect how you feel in everyday life, which can trigger symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Financial Concerns

Money can be a source of immense stress during middle age. You might be worried about being able to support your aging parents or growing children. You may also be worried about your own career or ability to retire, which can exacerbate anxiety.

Other Mental Health Issues

Anxiety symptoms can correlate with other mental health issues, including depression, substance abuse, PTSD, and eating disorders. They can also become exacerbated due to physical health conditions.

How to Cope With Midlife Anxiety

Living with persistent worry can be emotionally taxing. Untreated anxiety can affect your self-esteem, relationships, physical health, and overall quality of life. If you’re experiencing anxiety, here are some ways to take care of yourself.

Accept Your Felings

Anxiety is a normal emotion that everyone experiences. Sometimes it’s helpful to name the emotion and recognize its functional value in your everyday life. For example, you might feel anxious about your spouse’s physical health because you deeply value your relationship and don’t want them to suffer. Instead of beating yourself for feeling stressed, it can be beneficial to practice self-compassion in those moments.

Practice More Stress Management

The more you can manage your stress proactively and efficiently, the less anxious you will feel. Consider your common anxiety triggers and make a plan for how you can cope with those triggers when they arise.

Implement relaxation and mindfulness techniques in your daily routine. Try to avoid overworking or overburdening yourself with too many tasks. Remember that self-care shouldn’t be an optional part of your life. It’s important to schedule time for activities that help you feel rested and recharged.

Strengthen Your Social Connections

Healthy relationships don’t cure anxiety, but they can provide relief, perspective, and a sense of fulfillment, which can improve your overall mental health. Prioritize spending time with friends and family who uplift your spirits.

Prioritize Healthy Lifestyle Changes

Taking care of your physical health can improve your emotional well-being. Small steps can make a big difference, so consider focusing on one positive change at a time.

Try to find time to be physically active and eat nourishing foods. Practice good sleep hygiene and take your medications as prescribed. If you’re concerned about a physical health symptom, get evaluated by your doctor. Limit or avoid mood-altering substances, as they may aggravate mental health issues.

Try to Limit Social Comparisons

Anxiety can emerge when expectations drastically differ from reality. If you’re frequently comparing your life to others, you may feel inferior or lacking as a result. Of course, it’s impossible to avoid thinking about other people. But try to ground yourself with gratitude and focus on where you’re doing well.

Seek Professional Support

If your anxiety symptoms worsen, or if you feel like anxiety has taken over your life, it may be time to seek professional treatment. Medication and therapy can both help in reducing mood swings and regulating your feelings of worry.

Therapy for Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety symptoms can range from being mildly distressing to downright debilitating. If you’ve experienced an anxiety disorder in the past, you may be at an increased risk for experiencing anxiety during middle age.

Regardless of your specific circumstances, it’s important to look after your mental health. Things may be tough right now, but together, we can talk about what’s causing you to feel worried. We’ll also discuss healthy coping strategies that can help you reduce anxiety.

I am here to support you. Contact me today to schedule a consultation.

4601 Spicewood Springs Road Building 3, Suite 200
Austin, TX 78759

(512) 988-3363

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