5 tips for feeling your best as you get older
Back in college, my anatomy teacher once told my class, “Growing old ain’t for sissies.” At the time it seemed like a joke, but now, as I enter my 40’s, I’m starting to see the truth behind it. Getting older isn’t easy. Time seems to speed up; your body seems to slow down; you get aches and pains where you never used to. In the face of so many changes, it can sometimes be hard to stay positive.
Luckily, it doesn’t have to be that way. When it comes to your happiness, age isn’t in charge; you are. Take control of aging, change, and your happiness. In today’s post, I’ve put together some tips to help you make that happen: five simple steps for getting older—with positivity.
1) Look for joy
In your day-to-day life, joy may not always find you, but if you’re prepared to break with the ordinary—and actively seek joy out—you can find joy every day. How do you do this? It’s about being mindful. As you look ahead to your week, set aside time to experience new things and to connect with others: Plan events with friends and family; volunteer to help your community; and keep an open mind. Good things can happen at any moment. By seeking joy, you’ll not only feel better; you’ll improve your long-term mental health.
2) Smile more
Laugh lines are a badge of honor. That’s not just opinion; it’s science. Studies have shown that laughing, smiling—even making joyful noises—can trick your brain into being happier[i]. So don’t be afraid to shine on the outside. Laugh at life; chuckle at your mistakes; smile at a stranger (I promise you they’ll smile back!). It won’t just make others feel good; it’ll make you feel good too.
3) Find your passion
As children, we actively seek out the things we love, the things that compel us, that spark joy. As we grow into adults, we redirect this impulse into building our lives, pursuing jobs, relationships and other activities that give us meaning. As we get older, it’s important not to lose sight of that. Having a purpose—pursuing the things that we’re passionate about—is a big source of positivity.
If you don’t have that thing in your life right now, take action to find it: take on a new hobby; rekindle an old one; learn something new; join a group of like-minded people; take on a project you’re passionate about. You’ll find it lifts you up, and helps you live life to its fullest.
4) Keep your mind active
It’s no secret that physical exercise is key to long-term wellness, but it’s just as important to work your mind—especially as you age. Set aside time every day to flex the muscle that is your brain: Read a book; try a new game; learn a new skill; talk with friends or even take an inward journey. Keep your mind moving to stay upbeat.
5) Get a daily serving of music
A good jam is more than entertainment; it’s a proven support for mental health. When you listen to music, your neurons fire and your body releases serotonin, a hormone that stimulates happiness[ii]. When you need a mood boost, try putting on a tune. Sing along, get up and dance with yourself or with others. Over the longer term, you could even try learning an instrument. You’ll find your outlook improving.