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12 ways to stay positive and happy as you age

Posted August 11

Question:

I don't know if you have addressed the subject of aging, but if you haven't, would you. Although I am not really that old by today's standards (65 years old) getting older is not for wimps. Some days life is very hard alone to struggle through, let alone accompanied by aches and pains, loss of memory and so forth. Do you have some thoughts on this subject?

Answer:

Getting older can be a challenge both physically and psychologically. As you age, your health, memory, strength and stamina decline, but that doesn’t have to get you down. Just like everything else in life, you have the power to choose your perspective on it, and mindset matters

Sophia Loren said, “There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.”

Here are 12 ways to stay positive and happy as you age:

  1. Think positive and stay optimistic. No matter what happens (in your journey of aging) it could be worse. Be grateful every day for everything you have and everything you are grateful you don’t have. There is a great worksheet for this on my website. Stay committed to looking at the bright side every day and always assume good things are coming your way. Always choose to be optimistic, because the universe usually brings whatever you believe is coming.
  2. Think young. North Carolina State University did a study in 2009 that showed memory decline happened only in those people who believed memory declined in old age. It’s mind over matter, and you have more control over that than you think. Another study at Yale found that people who believe getting older is a positive experience lived seven years longer than those who saw it as a negative.
  3. Stay busy and active. Remember the old saying, “A body in motion stays in motion.” It’s true. Studies have shown that people who stay active, keep working and retire later have fewer chronic diseases, less risk for Alzheimer’s and stay strong longer. My dad ran seven marathons the year he turned 70 and he is the healthiest, sharpest person I know. I can't match that, but I can do something active every day.
  4. Find a life purpose. Find a cause to fight for or people to serve. When you stay focused on accomplishing something, you will feel energized, have less depression and your life will matter. There are so many needs on this planet where you could make a meaningful difference no matter your age.
  5. Keeping learning and growing. Create a bucket list with all the things you want to learn (make sure it has at least 150 things on it). Think about hobbies, sports, languages, instruments, art or music. If you keep learning and developing as a person, your mind stays active. If you don’t use it you will lose it. My mother and my father-in-law both took up painting in their 60s and it’s been amazing for their mental and emotional health.
  6. Forgive. Don’t hold onto old grudges. If you need help with this, find a coach or counselor to help you shift your perspective. Holding onto pain, guilt, shame or blame is like drinking poison every day, hoping the other person will die. Let it go. It’s time to choose peace.
  7. Get a pet. Studies have consistently shown it’s healthy and it reduces depression and loneliness. People with a pet have a 40 percent lower risk of dying from a heart attack too, especially if they have to walk it every day.
  8. Laugh often and have fun. George Bernard Shaw said, “You don't stop laughing when you grow old, you grow old when you stop laughing.” Life will always be as fun as you make it. I plan to be the fun old lady that wears funny clothes and makes people smile wherever I go. Every day could have some laughter in it if you look for it.
  9. Keep being social. Get out and meet people and get involved in the community. There are people everywhere you could serve. There is no excuse for loneliness. If you want friends and activities, you can have them. If people don’t visit you, join a group, find a center and go visit them.
  10. Eat healthy and stay a healthy weight. For many people it’s weight, not age, that slows them down. If you need help in this area, find some because nothing would help you age happier than feeling good about yourself and staying active.
  11. Sleep well. Studies have shown that at least eight hours a night could make you live longer and gain less weight.
  12. Accept and trust whatever the journey brings. Life rarely turns out the way we expect it to. Some of the surprises will be welcomed and others will be major disappointments. The trick is to trust the process and choose to see everything as good in some way. I believe the universe is constantly conspiring to serve, bless, educate and develop us. Every experience is here to help us become stronger, wiser and more loving. If we trust the journey about this, we resist and complain less and therefore suffer less. Some experiences we’d still rather not have, but if dropping the class isn’t an option, trust it and look for the blessings. I have written many articles about trusting the journey that you can find on my blog.
Also remember that though you are losing your youthful appearance, you are gaining wisdom and perspective. You are more secure, balanced and understanding the older you get and you create less drama and experience more peace. Aren't these what really matters?

Mark Twain said, “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”

We can do this.

Kimberly Giles is the president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is the author of the book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and a popular life coach, speaker and people skills expert.

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