How do we survive constant change? It seems that the environment in which we live in is filled with constant crisis and uncertainty. You cannot turn on the news without being bombarded with negativity. Yes, I realize that the news often tends to focus on the negative rather than the positive happenings. However, it seems to me that the news is supercharged with horrible new realities each day. From unemployment rising to skyrocketing food prices.
So, what are the emotional and psychological effects that I am seeing in my office. I am seeing more anxiety than I can ever remember. It is especially true of my individual clients who are over 40. As I was driving home the other evening my son and I witnessed the aftermath of a 59 year old man having taken his own life by jumping in front of a Metra train. Unfortunately, this behavior has become an all to frequent occurrence. So, what gives?
For a person to have a general sense of well being there needs to be a certain level of predictablity. Middle age individuals tend to be less likely to want to take risks. Rather, people tend to become creatures of habit. We tend to engage in the same rituals day after day. We fold our towels the same way, buy similar groceries from the store, call the same friends, practice the same religious belief and even have sex in the same position.
While this may strike some as boring to many others it symbolizes comfort. I believe that what I am seeing today is a severe erosion of esteem, confidence and comfort for many individuals in their middle years. Middle aged individuals are questioning whether they still add value to society. I think it stems from so many middle aged individuals having lost their jobs. To this individual, their jobs were not just careers but came to represent identity. Just think about how you describe yourself at a dinner party? Do you at some point talk about what you do for a living?
As always I like to point out the possible solutions. I believe it is important in times like these to focus on what we have accomplished rather than what we are missing. No one can take that away. During stressful and unpredictable times in our life we need to meet our needs more dilligently. For example, relying on our friends and family to highlight our sense of worth. People forget to go to others for support – it really does make a difference. Additionally, lean on whatever faith you have had in your past. It is amazing how much this can lead to solace. Lastly, don’t forget to exercise and eat healthy. Exercise can release those endorphins and eating healthy keeps the stress from damaging our immune systems. And, if these tactics don’t work there is always therapy. Even a short stint in your psychologist’s office can help you right the ship.
Don’t forget that help is just a phone call away. Call Dr. Goschi now at (312)595-1787 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org