There’s no avoiding it. We’re all getting older. That doesn’t mean we have to feel like we’re getting older. There are many things you can do to impact the process of aging so that you will age well and be happy. Here are a few of our favorites.
Keep Your Cool. It is said that some levels of stress can be good for us. “If you never have to react to anything demanding, the mechanisms in your brain that help you deal with taxing situations will atrophy,” says Luigi Ferrucci, MD, PhD., scientific director of the National Institute on Aging. But, too much stress in your day-to-day life can negatively impact your quality of life.
Take a few good deep breaths and start to rethink how you react to the environment around you. Try to relax and even slow down. Our increasingly hectic daily lives can be stressful, but the impact of continuous stress on your body and mind can be harmful. Reports and studies from Psychology Today and Gerontology have found that adults who reported greater work stress in midlife were more likely to show disabilities and physical difficulties in older age. Start looking for solutions or change the way you allow these things to impact your life. If you’re overloaded at work, ask colleagues for help. If you can’t complete all your chores at home, divvy out the workload to others in your family (or us). If your time and energy spent on caregiving a family member or loved one has you working around the clock, look for a professional service to help you. Respite care is necessary for all caregivers.
Get Moving. Physical activities will help you feel good, look good, reduce stress, and improve your mood. Getting fit or staying fit as you move into your 40’s and 50’s will help you age well. The New York Times, in an article on aging and fitness, stated that those who were more physically fit in midlife were less likely to develop chronic health conditions in old age, such as congestive heart failure or Alzheimer’s disease.
Change the Way You Look at Aging. Stop looking at growing old in a negative light. Embrace your age and learn to accept the natural changes to our minds and bodies that will occur. Instead of dreading what’s ahead, look at getting older as an opportunity. Each day we have a chance to focus on what’s really important to us – our family, our friends, our spirituality, our pets, and or grandchildren. Being positive about you and your future will help you be healthier and happier as you age.
Get Out. Make plans with family or friends and go out. Becoming socially engaged is critical to staying healthy, both mentally and physically. There are lots of things to do you in your local community that you can do with friends or groups you belong to. By doing your homework, you’ll find many free activities or low-cost outings that can get you engaged. Not only will getting out help you connect to your family and friends…it’s your chance to make new ones too.