The Importance of Positivity in Aging
For many of us, getting older comes with negative connotations. If we can’t remember something, or have difficulty taking part in a physical activity that used to be easy for us, our first inclination is often to blame these perceived weaknesses on aging. “I must be getting old if I can’t do this,” we think.
It is important to stay conscious of this mindset, because negativity about aging can so easily become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Studies have shown that people who embrace aging with a more positive outlook are not only happier, but also have longer lifespans. Indeed, making the choice to be more positive can add 7-8 years to your life, and give you better quality of life to boot.
So how can you push yourself to have a more positive mindset about aging? First, don’t get bogged down in the “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” mentality. Just because you are getting older doesn’t mean you can’t try new things, or go on adventures, or have new experiences. Treating your life as a book with more pages to fill will help you make peace with aging and enjoy the journey.
Self-affirmations help, too. Keep a journal and write down one thing a day that you are thankful for. Alternatively, have a “quote of the day” that reorients your thinking in a more positive direction. Having pithy little statements in your mind like “I am refined by age, not defined by age” can be a terrific way to keep that positive mindset. You can find others online just by searching “positive affirmations for aging” or something similar. Pick out the ones you like best and print them off to hang above your desk, or make them the screensaver on your computer.
If you have a friend or family member who is feeling negative about aging, you can help with this process. Tell your parents or grandparents how much you appreciate them, or thank them for a skill or lesson they taught you years ago that you still use. Even small gestures or shows of gratitude can make someone’s day and shift their mindset from negative to positive.