Resilience at 40+

If you’re struggling in mid-life, more resilience will make a difference - here’s how to build it.


Life changes at 40+. There is no doubt about that. The perception is often that it changes for the worse. That life gets harder, with fewer opportunities, diminishing connections, less fun and not many chances to change or improve things for yourself. And I think that’s because a lot of us arrive at 40 not really able to enjoy it. We are:

  • Frazzled from work and/or parenting.
  • Weighed down by busyness and the daily grind. 
  • Anxious about things we feel we should have done by now and haven’t.
  • Worried about ageing and loss. 
  • Frustrated to still be repeating many of the bad habits of our 20s and 30s.
  • Feeling like we’ve lost ourselves. 
  • Worrying our best days are behind us. 

But the thing we don’t talk enough about is how good this part of life can get. It can be full of new beginnings, exciting, empowering, liberating and validating. If it doesn’t feel like that for you then focusing on building up resilience could be really beneficial.

What does resilience look like at 40+?

Maybe it’s starting to feel like the bills are coming due on your health or well-being. Or perhaps you feel like you’ve lost your sense of self - or are starting to see how some things you repeatedly do just don’t serve you.

Realisations like this might be uncomfortable but also represent a huge opportunity. It’s such a good moment to stop, review and change habits, mindset and behaviours - especially if you feel a bit lost, overwhelmed, exhausted or directionless. And if you’re about to go through hormonal changes like perimenopause or menopause - or you’re in them right now - this is even more important.

What can you do to be more resilient at 40+?

Resilience is how we survive the storm - but also whether we bloom after it. It’s fundamental to how we respond to what happens to us, so having more of it is like spreading an all-purpose fertiliser over the garden that is your life.

When you’re talking about resilience it’s important to look at what actually makes us able to “bounce back” or “spring forward” - and that tends to be mindset, habits, processing the impact of the past, changing your inner narrative, living with authenticity, emotional awareness and nervous system connection. Yeah I know, most people don’t expect building resilience to involve those things. But they are what determines how you respond in life - it’s way deeper than having cold showers.

Here are my suggestions for building genuine resilience at 40+

Look at how you deal with change

For a lot of people we dread it, avoid it and then have to be dragged through it. At 40+ there is a lot that can start to change, whether it’s hormonal changes from perimenopause, dealing with loss, family shifts or career change. How you deal with it will determine your experience of life - and your outcomes. And there is so much you can do to make change easier, from nervous system soothing to developing a more optimistic, confident mindset. 

Reflect on how you got here

Give yourself time to stop and reflect on how you’ve got here and what you do - or don’t - want to take into the next few years. Questions like this can help:

  • What about life so far isn't working for you anymore?
  • What do you want the coming decades to look and feel like?
  • How could you deal differently with uncertainty/anxiety/conflict/relationships/success?
  • What is missing from the way you manage your self-esteem, energy, focus?
  • Where are you holding back and what if you stopped?

Get realistic about your current weaknesses

We all have strengths and weaknesses. It might be confronting to acknowledge your weaknesses but doing this means you can improve on them. Do you have a negative mindset? Low self-esteem? Lack confidence? Have no idea how to motivate yourself? This is the time to break away from patterns that may have dogged you since childhood. Practical tools and strategies like neutral thinking can help you change what you no longer love for you. 

Stop criticising yourself

Self-criticism makes us more emotional, less able to assimilate the lessons of our failures and less productive. It’s not discipline, it’s not motivating, you’re just making everything harder by having this as your base narrative. And it can get especially loud if you’re also listening to society’s messaging around your body ageing, what you “should” have or be by 40+ and other people’s judgments. Learn to swap the inner critic for self-compassion and your whole world will change. 

Figure out if you’re living authentically

When we get to “midlife” we start to feel a lot of discomfort if we’re not doing this. Your foundations can feel really shaky through pregnancy, perimenopause, menopause, retirement - any kind of change - if you can’t answer the big questions like “who am I?” (looking beyond the roles you play or the job you do) and “what’s my purpose?”

Identify where you feel depleted and work on building that up

Create a daily confidence-building practice, dedicate time to heal what really hurts, learn how to manage your energy, put a burnout recovery plan in place, throw off damaging social conditioning or really lean into self-love. 

Get good at goal-setting

...or at least visualising what you want for the next years and decades. Give yourself focus and be intentional with your actions from now on. 20s and 30s can feel like a chaotic spin but 40+ needs to be calmer and clearer. Responding rather than reacting. 

Part of my role as a resilience coach is helping you love your life again - or even more than you do now. And there is no set of circumstances in which this can’t be done. This is about choosing to perceive your life in a powerful way. And then taking inspired action to change your reality to one that makes you feel grounded, calm, capable, resourceful, energised, optimistic, ready for anything and resilient at 40+. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Life Coach Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Winchester, Hampshire, SO23
Written by Alex Pett
Winchester, Hampshire, SO23

Alex is an ICF trained and NLP cert coach focused on helping people to deepen their resources to adapt and bounce back - and go on to thrive. She works with resilience to help clients build confidence, motivation, recover from burnout, set boundaries, find joy and move beyond limiting beliefs. Clients achieve tangible change in 6-9 sessions.

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