The Midlife Well-Being Slump

September 20, 2019

Did you know…

Did you know that one of the most robust scientific findings in the world of well-being research has found that in almost every country, across all socioeconomic situations, genders and ethnicities – our collective well-being begins to steadily drop in our mid-30’s and continues to decline steadily until our early 50’s!

But don’t worry, it bounces back! Happiness and well-being tend to start bouncing back in our early 50’s and reach their highest point in our late 60’s and 70’s.

In the blog below we break down Daniel Pink’s best-seller, When, (specifically Chapter 4) on how to identify and break through the seemingly inevitable Midlife Slump.

So why the slump?

Instead of addressing the millions of theories, both environmental and biological, Pink focused on how we could identify this slump and what we can do about it.

Step 1: Just acknowledge it

When we feel the doldrums of midlife come crashing down on us, it helps to acknowledge what we are feeling and know that this is a pretty normal biological occurrence.

Step 2: Use the midpoint as motivation, not an excuse

Tap into the fact that your midlife is a big portion of your life and use it to kick-start a new experience or spur you into acting towards doing the things that you’ve been putting off.  The midpoint of life is where we get some perspective and can begin objectively assessing where we are at and where we want to go with our precious time.

Step 3: Take the appropriate perspective

It’s easy to feel like you’re stuck or hopelessly falling behind when you compare yourself to others, especially at midlife.  But when you step back and take an appropriate perspective in your 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s, you can refocus on what you want your life and time to be about and double down on those actions.  Midlife is a great time for us to shed other people’s expectations and get focused on what we want to create in our lives.

Tips for getting out of the midlife rut

For some outstanding tips on breaking free from this rut, we’re going to reference another one of our favorite set of best-selling authors, Chip & Dan Heath and their book, The Power of Moments.

They use the acronym EPIC to describe a method they believe can help us systematically create moments that allow us to experience new levels of excitement, joy, transformation, and celebration. These moments help us shatter the slumps and routines we may find ourselves in.  Let’s break down their method with examples to see how it can lift you out of a potential Midlife Well-Being Slump.

E: Elevation

  • What it is: Rewriting the script on something mundane or routine to turn it into something memorable. Your creativity is encouraged!

  • Example: Instead of normal date night, make the experience memorable by renting a limo for an hour and a half and eating in the car!

I: Insight

  • What it is: Seek out experiences that will shift your perspective. These are the memories that you will hold onto and will help guide future thoughts and behaviors later on.

  • Example: Instead of the same beach trip with friends that leaves you feeling hungover and cash-depleted, organize a group that trains for a Tough Mudder in a local event, or even a destination city you’ve all been wanting to visit!

P: Pride

  • What it is: Deliberately celebrating and appreciating our efforts and acknowledging them with great fan-fare.

  • Example: Train with the family for an epic hike and struggle up a mountain or long trek together. Be sure to celebrate your accomplishment with something special when you finish.

C: Connection

  • What it is: Develop bonds and forge stronger relationships by rallying and connecting with a common cause that aligns with your value system.

  • Example: Allow for some structured spontaneity and take a trip. Don’t plan it – just know that on X weekend you (and whoever else is tagging along) is driving/flying with you to a completely new and novel location!

We hope you enjoyed this little sound bite & blog! Feel free to leave us a comment below with any of your EPIC ideas to break out of the Midlife Well-Being Slump! Your creativity is appreciated!


Modern Minds with MUSC Health

Synchronicity is a subsidiary of Modern Minds, a non-profit organization dedicated to treating and empowering mental health and wellbeing. We often partner together to offer truly integrative care for Modern Minds clients, Synchronicity members and the greater Lowcountry community.