Learn to Live, Age Joyfully
Happiness is good for your health—so how do you keep a positive self image even as you age?
AAbout this post: Nancy Hovde is a life coach, author and blogger at UberEmpowermentBlog.com. She lives in Redondo Beach and I’ve known her for almost ten years. I admire her life-juggling abilities – her discipline, work ethic, positive attitude and resilience. Happy birthday, Nancy.
I was searching for the perfect birthday card for my 93-year-old grandma at Card De A in Redondo Beach, and it reminded me of what’s become an annual tradition. Each year I ask her what words of wisdom she acquired from the year before. This year, the focus was on maintaining her level of happiness through humor. She makes fun of her memory lapses.
Her inner strength takes my breath away, especially when I notice her small, frail frame. I’m grateful that my loving and supportive parents surround her. Optimism, laughter, being around supportive family members and positive emotions can counteract many harmful effects at any age, especially in our sixties, seventies, eighties and beyond.
We don’t need to wait until we reach a certain age to acquire wisdom and humor; even as we age, we can begin to practice what can help us develop an optimistic outlook on life. Aside from eating right and exercising, it is awareness and knowledge of life experiences, changes in our expectations of life and remembering our sense of humor that contributes to aging gracefully and joyfully.
Many of us would speculate that positive emotions may directly affect health by altering the chemical balance of the body. We can start today, and as we age, we can learn to live more in the moment, appreciate life and experience a sense of satisfaction and well being. Our ability to maintain happiness and peace of mind depends on our attitude.
Here are some tips you can begin using today to ensure a positive attitude about life and aging:
Listen carefully to yourself.
If you have put yourself down for as long as you can remember—perhaps even since childhood—a lifetime of negative subliminal messages can take their toll by turning you into a pessimist. I encourage you to try to spend one to three days writing down the phrases you use in your “self talk.” Chances are you will find that you repeat several phrases over and over again that reinforce your negative image of yourself. Once you are aware of these phrases, you can change them.
If an issue is not resolved, it will continue to fester—you will relive the negative emotions tied to that issue over and over again.
Write about what you feel in your journal for about 15 minutes a day for three days.
Once you begin to write, don’t stop until the time is up. This exercise will help you organize your thoughts and get negative ones out of your system. Notice how much better you feel about yourself at the end of three days.
Seek out new opportunities.
Discover new challenges each month. You can feel optimistic when you always have a goal to achieve that’s just over the horizon. When you begin to get close to reaching that goal, set a new one. This allows you to keep moving consistently ahead.
Keep fun in your life by eliminating monotony, a sure killer of optimism. Try to do one new thing every week or month. Try a new coffee shop or restaurant, visit a museum, try a new activity or sport, or go to a book signing, lecture or community event. A friend and I enjoyed dinner at Turquoise in Redondo Beach. This was her first time eating there. It was fun to see her enthusiasm and delight when she discovered a new Turquoise in Redondo Beach. This was her first time eating there. It was fun to see her enthusiasm and delight when she discovered a new favorite restaurant.
Look for a new wonder of nature each day.
I marvel each time I am on Portuguese Bend Trail and see the views of Palos Verdes. It’s a tranquil escape.
Learn to laugh at yourself.
Yes, sad events and situations will come up in life, so allow yourself to experience grief—just don’t let it control you. Lend a hand to someone worse off than yourself by volunteering at a hospital or visiting a shelter. Try meditating for five minutes each day. During that time,
Make a mental list of at least three great things that happened to you that day.
Simply recalling one episode of anger can depress the immune system; however, remembering a time when you compassionate or caring can enhance your immune system. So laugh a lot! You’ll heal your body and your mind—and feel joyful at any age.