In a society that places a disproportionate amount of value on youth, the prospect of ageing – one that we must all face – can carry with it many mixed emotions. But it doesn’t have to be daunting. Here are six ways to embrace it.
Having a ‘glass half-full’ approach to life has long been considered important for overall wellness but evidence suggests that there may be some truth in this age-old wisdom.
In a recent US-based survey of 2,000 people aged 60 and over (by health insurance provider Humana), it was found that 87 per cent of seniors who identify themselves as ‘most optimistic’ reported their health as good to excellent – compared to 44 per cent for those who said they’re ‘least optimistic’.
Also, the most optimistic people reported nine fewer physically unhealthy and seven fewer mentally unhealthy days per month than their least optimistic counterparts.
Seniors who rated themselves as most optimistic also reported positively on other attributes linked to health, including sleep, confidence, and overall happiness.
Yet having an optimistic mindset is often easier said than done. The stresses of life, social stereotypes, and one’s natural temperament can all impede approaching ageing with optimism. Here’s some sound advice for anyone struggling to stay on the sunny side of life:
• Take ownership and recognise that your health is your own. To achieve your best health, you need to set personal goals just for you.
• Engage with your doctor or other healthcare professional and build a trusting relationship.
• Find a higher purpose that makes you excited to get up in the morning. Humana’s survey found that most respondents (86 percent) who identify as optimists also rank a sense of purpose as an important attribute for ageing.
• Remain socially engaged, not isolated; and nurture close relationships. The importance of social engagement is recognised by those seniors who identify as optimists and get together with friends or relatives either monthly or weekly. Further, maintaining an active social life is an important motivator to stay healthy.
• Stay active and remember that physical activity is important. Find something that’s right for you and that you like to do. Remaining physically active is a major motivator for retaining good health.
• Practise gratitude and make it a habit to look for and appreciate everything you’re thankful for in life.