What is your mindset about growing older? Do you want to avoid thinking about it for as long as possible? Is it a negative passage that must be endured? To set an ideal mid-life into motion, you need a positive outlook.
A study of 660 adults aged 50 and older from an Ohio community, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, found that people who had positive attitudes about aging lived more than seven years longer than those with negative attitudes.
While the results remain to be proven by other researchers, the study does link positive outlook and good health. For example, depression has been linked to poorer recovery from heart attacks and stroke. And having a positive outlook in general in your early 20s predicts survival well into your 80s and 90s.
Studies like these don’t have to convince many people that life is a heck of lot easier having a positive attitude. For me, over the years, the following mindset has helped me approach older age with gratitude.
– Accept yourself – low self-esteem and confidence are common but beauty is not defined by physical traits but by qualities. The act of accepting oneself as they are seems hard but you can do it! Do not allow the flaws to govern your heart and future.
– Surround yourself with positive people – hang out with people who feed your soul, the ones who you appreciate and look up to. Make sure they feel the same way about you. Positive types give us a sense of well-being.
– Do the things and activities you love and make time for self-care. Find a hobby like cooking, gardening, painting or reading. This helps you feel connected and less stressed.
– Express feelings – talk about your feelings with someone you like and trust. Never bottle them up. Communicating helps us process our emotions and to move on with a clearer and happier mind. If you prefer, keep a journal and write your feelings down.
– Appreciate little things – if you give too much energy to the “big” problems you’ll stress and ignore the little things that make living so pleasurable. Make every experience a learning experience, even failures.
Questions to ask: Who am I on this journey for? What will it take to love myself?
What sacrifices am I taking for good health?
Live each day knowing there’s plenty to go around. Believe in and trust yourself. Focus on what you can do right now to be your best self instead of correcting the past.
Take away: Trust yourself – BE OPEN – Acknowledge fear and do it anyway!
Carol Marak is an aging advocate, syndicated columnist and editor at Seniorcare.com. She earned the Fundamentals of Gerontology Certificate from UC Davis, School of Gerontology.