Managing Stress and Anxiety
Making New Friends in Midlife

Managing stress and anxiety levels can be difficult as you deal with unfamiliar circumstances, especially if you are entering a new chapter in your life.  It seems that during midlife, just when you thought you had life under control, you find that life throws you a curve ball, and you are forced to deal with a situation you had not anticipated.   Many people feel uncertain of themselves when they can’t predict how other new acquaintances will react. The most common time to be faced with such uncertainty is when you are experiencing a transition in your life.

At this stage in your life, you may be experiencing a job change, an empty nest, a change in your family arrangements, or a move to a new geographic location.  Such a life transition undoubtedly causes increased challenging in managing stress and anxiety, regardless of how prepared you think you are. 

Adding to this transition, you may be faced with meeting new people and making new friends.  These people will become a part of this chapter of your life.  Here are three ways to help you with managing stress and anxiety during a midlife transition:

1. Know Who Supports You. 

network of friends

Faced with uncertainty, you may begin to experience a strong dose of self-doubt—wondering if you are up for the task.  During such a time, maintain a solid group of friends, family members, or other advisors who can act as your support group.  Also, take time to create a group of individuals who provides positive support, and avoid people from your past who make you feel guilty or who provide unnecessary criticism.  Keep one or two close friends by your side whom you can call on for honest advice and feedback.

New life chapters always present situations that are unfamiliar and strange to you.  Maintaining positive self esteem will provide you with the confidence you need to move forward to address the new situations and new people successfully.  A support group will also help you with managing stress and anxiety challenges.  

2.  Know Your Comfort Level

People can dread meeting people for many different reasons.  If you are experiencing a midlife transition, you may dread having to deal with a lot of new people and all of their different personality traits.  Find a couple of ways that you can comfortably develop conversations with new people you meet.  In a new neighborhood, you may have a dog you can take for a walk and begin to meet people who are dog lovers.  You might find some sports clubs to join for exercise and recreation where you can meet new people in a casual environment.

You may find organized support groups available if you are going through a midlife change in family organization.  Regardless of your midlife change, take an honest look at what the situation entails and what types of strategies you are comfortable with in meeting new people and handling the changes.

3.  Keep a Realistic Perspective

Developing a sense of comfort and security in a midlife transition takes time.  You may experience some periods of loneliness as you transition into this next chapter of your life, but identify realistic goals of what you hope to accomplish within a reasonable amount of time.

 Making new friends, establishing new relationships, creating financial stability—any of these goals takes time.  Stay involved in your community, maintain a healthy support system, and stay positive.  Managing stress and anxiety is a normal challenge during life transitions.  Yet, an optimistic and realistic perspective will keep you moving forward to develop a fulfilling next life chapter with meaningful relationships and a sense of purpose.

Dealing with Stress in Midlife

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