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Is Midlife Crisis Real and is There Happiness After 40?

A man is sitting in a dark room with serious look on his face.
Is Midlife Crisis Real and is There Happiness After 40?

What do the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, and Tom Cruise have in common? All of them are famous examples of men who went through what is commonly known as a midlife crisis.

But what exactly is a midlife crisis, and why does it happen? Is there happiness after the age of 40? This blog opens with these questions to learn if the midlife crisis is real, its causes, and how to cope.

Is Midlife Crisis Real?

The term “midlife crisis” was coined by psychologist Elliot Jaques in 1965. It refers to intense psychological suffering that typically occurs between the ages of 40-60 when people start facing their own mortality and reevaluating their life choices. While some experts believe this phenomenon exists, others think it’s an overblown cultural stereotype.

However, according to recent research conducted by the University College London, a midlife crisis may be more than just a myth.

The study followed over 10 thousand men from birth until retirement age and found that those who had endured tough life events (such as divorce or job loss) were more likely to experience psychological distress in their forties than those who had not faced such difficult events.

Causes of Midlife Crisis

A midlife crisis is a time of deep reflection experienced by many people, typically between the ages of 35-55. It can be caused by stagnation, sadness, dissatisfaction, and confusion leading up to that point. This can lead to negative emotions and all sorts of mental distress.

Changes like a career switch, general lifestyle switch, or revisiting relationships you thought were done might be necessary to progress through this challenging period.

Additionally, it could result from boredom or restlessness that drives us to search for new horizons or even figure out what our true purpose is in life - often easier said than done! Whatever the case, understanding the causes behind a midlife crisis can help move forward while managing these challenges.

Is There Happiness After 40?

Despite the challenges associated with mid-aged years, there is still hope for happiness after 40!

Research suggests that people tend to become more contented with life after reaching middle age due to increased emotional maturity and self-awareness gained from life experiences up until that point.

Additionally, many people find comfort in relationships with friends and family members and activities such as exercise or taking up new hobbies, which make them feel mentally and physically fulfilled.

Lastly, having meaningful work, either paid or unpaid, can bring joy during later stages of life as well as provide structure for everyday activities, which can prevent feelings of boredom or ennui.


Midlife crisis is something that many people go through at some point in their lives, while others don’t experience it at all. Despite the challenges associated with this stage in life, there are still plenty of opportunities for finding joy after turning forty years old!

So, if you feel like you’re going through a midlife crisis, take heart—there is hope for happiness down the road! With perseverance and hard work, you may feel contented again soon enough!


Jaques, E. (1965). Death and the mid-life crisis. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 46, 502-514.


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