Women over forty often find stress closing in from all areas of the lives.
For those who were stay-at-home moms or homemakers the work place is unfamiliar territory.
Women who have been out in the work force may begin to question the value of what they contributed to society or to the planet. Most likely they also awakened their drive to connect with their spirituality. Of course their bodies are going through changes that may magnify the emotional journey on which they find themselves.
For many women over forty, the move toward introspection accentuates their empty feeling or loneliness – even when they find themselves still married. They begin to acknowledge just how unhappy they are.
These days you find many marriages, of more than 30 years, ending. The women who made that conscious choice decided they could no longer live in deep unhappiness and preferred to jump into the unknown.
For those women, the thought of living out the rest of their lives with the stress of not feeling fulfilled is way more scary than stepping out of their comfort zone.
Just look at the statistics for middle-aged women and feminine cancers. How many of them are looking for a way out, a way to end the disappointment of not giving birth to their own desires and taking care of their own needs for themselves.
Stress takes its toll on those who get caught by surprise. Without healthy habits and independent thought paradigms one easily succumbs to overwhelm—whether those be emotional or physical states.
Yet there is another way to live, a way that reduces, eliminates and avoids stressful situations from taking over one’s life. That way is to replace habitual thoughts, emotions and actions that currently disempower you and cause stress with new habits, new ways of thinking.
Remember that thoughts lead to emotions that lead to actions that create results. Then that cycle repeats.
So when you start with new thoughts you will experience new and different feelings which means you will take actions you never took before. The result you create will compose your new world and different life.
What you have been doing up until now got you through life—at a price. If you feel unhappy I guarantee your health is not optimal. Eventually your physical health and emotional health will become a major issue (if it hasn’t already) requiring medical intervention of some sort.
You can choose to stay in your stressful life or you can do something different. Nothing will change for you until you decide first and act second.
Divorced women over 40 may carry unresolved issues around for years – maybe forever. In that case they will go on repeating the relationship lesson they have not yet learned.
What lesson is that? The way your husband treated you during the marriage probably made you feel a certain way. At least that is the story you tell yourself and probably all of our girl friend and anyone who will listen to you.
Since misery loves company you will not have trouble finding other angry, hurt women to listen to your complaints. Well, actually you more likely share poor me stories.
Yet you were never the victim in the marriage. He may have treated you without respect and maybe never honored you at all.
So here is a question: did you go into the marriage expecting him to make you happy? Did you look to him to build your self esteem? Did you need praise from him to feel good about yourself?
And what if he never provide any of that once you were married?
The thing is he treated you the way you taught him to treat you.
He observed (subconsciously, perhaps) the way you treated yourself. Did you take time for yourself to do things you enjoyed? Did you do and say things that said, “I love me! I am terrific just the way I am!”
Loving yourself means doing what you want to do for you. It is not selfish. It is fulfilling our own personal desires not just the desires of everybody else in the world.
Think a moment of some of your friends. I bet you have at least one friend who, when she says she is on her way over to visit you scurry to get the house straight and neat.
That person loves herself and expects others to treat her with the same honor and respect she shows herself. You know that from experience. For that reason you tidy up the place when she is coming over.
Now think of a friend who comes over dressed kind of straggly. You wouldn’t give a second thought to straightening or cleaning the house, no matter what. That person settles for how others treat her. This is not about being understanding this is about not feeling worthy or deserving of good things.
See the difference? Do you also see how you taught your husband how to treat you?
Whatever behaviors he exhibited toward you either left you feeling good or feeling bad. You always had a choice to accept or reject his behaviors. You could always have let him know his actions bothered you or were not acceptable to you.
If you did so great for you. If you didn’t then you cannot blame him for how treated you. He mimicked how you treated you to the best of his ability.
When you fail to object to how someone treats you, in essence, you give them permission to treat you that way.
There is no one to blame for all the stress of your marriage that still bothers you. Don’t even blame yourself. Chalk it all up to one big learning experience.
Here you are, over forty, either divorced or in an unhappy marriage, and ready to make some changes. Only you do not know exactly what to change to or how to do it.
So, for now, you go along each day, following the same routine you know as your life, The thing is you are so done with this routine you are ready to step out of your comfort zone into the unexpected.
Well, maybe you do not want to move into the unexpected just yet. But you do know how desperately you want out of your comfort zone because you definitely know it is anything but comfortable!
Great decision. Yes, change begins with a decision. But then nothing changes until something moves.
Which something? You. You gotta take action, new and different action than any you have ever done, if you want to go places you have never been.
But wait. Before you take those new actions you have to figure out who you want to be in life.
Who you want to be? What does that mean?
People act in specific ways because of the thoughts they think which lead to the emotions they feel. If you want to be a tennis player you have to think about your physical health, your emotional stamina, your lessons, your coach, your game plans, your schedule, etc. You have to be someone who thinks, feels and acts like a tennis player.
If you want to be a writer it will not serve you to become (in your mind-body) a tennis player.
Great. Then to start your new journey decide who you have to become to achieve that new you, that new way of being in life.
How do you do that? Find someone who already does what you want to do. Then find out everything you can about that person. Read any biographies you can find. Read books or articles they’ve written.
If you can possibly do it, arrange to meet with them and possibly spend a day shadowing them to get the first hand real and honest look at how that kind of person spends their day.
Once you know what and how they do what they do then you can copy their routine.
Find someone to be your accountability partner so that you actually do the daily activities you say you will to accomplish your mindset change. Creating a new you does require a mindset change. You need support and someone who cares enough to remind you to stay on target to make that happen.
See yourself already living as the new you. Virtualize your day walking through each moment looking out through your own eyes, feeling the things you now touch. Eat and smell what the new you does. Hear the sounds that abound in your new world, etc.
Make the experience real for you. Guess what, by doing so you fool your subconscious mind into believing you really do live that way now.
Probably the most important action to take involves feeling gratitude for all you already have. Keep a gratitude journal and speak your words aloud so the Universe really gets how grateful you are. After all the more for which you express thanks the more the Universe wants to deliver to you.
Know that even though you already have so much it is okay to want more. You are here to enjoy the best life you desire. Stress only happens when you forget that truth and succumb to the ho-hum life you already lived – until now.
When you are over forty and find yourself in an unhappy marriage your stress level increases constantly. You know you feel crummy but you may not realize the toll all that deep unhappiness takes on your health and well being.
I know because I stayed in my marriage ten years too long. It is not as though I was just hanging around wishing and hoping for something to change between my husband and me.
I did everything I knew. I worked on myself because I knew the only person I had control over was me. I could not ask or expect him to change.
I also knew if I changed then he had no choice about changing, at the very least, in how he related to me. Realize this is someone who was disturbed by all my changes and one day proudly announced to me that he didn’t like change and doe his best not to make any changes.
Well, during those last ten years of our marriage I not only worked on myself but I also invited him to step out of the box. Nothing I consciously did worked. However the Universe guided me – and him.
One day he was driving my car. Understand I am addicted to learning – everything! That day my Car University lesson was John Gary’s tape (back then we had cassettes players not CDs) Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. Very much to my surprise he started making statements that clearly showed he had listened to the recording.
I was shocked – and delighted. I became so hopeful that I managed to get both of us into couples counseling. Unfortunately he saw that program as way to make me wrong and him right.
Back in those days he thought I was responsible for his happiness and he blamed all his unhappiness on me. Not that I did much better in that area. I knew I alone was responsible for my happiness but I still felt I needed outside validation from him (when it came from others it just didn’t matter) that told me how great I was – just because I exist and not because of anything I do.
See the problem? He could not give me what I thought I needed. Nor could I give him what he wanted. Frankly both of us spent those last ten years in sheer misery.
The stress of such unhappiness landed me in the hospital needing surgery to prevent a hemorrhage situation. To my horror I saw a photograph of myself and realized that I had gained 30 pounds. I got fat! Me, a health fanatic!
Stress does that to you—makes all your hormones crazy.
I could explain all the wellbeing issues but really all that matters is when you live in an unhappy situation you slowly kill yourself. Consider this your wake-up call to action.
Act now. The longer you put it off the steeper the climb back to happiness.