Healthy aging means continually reinventing yourself, finding new things you enjoy, learning to adapt to change, staying physically and socially active, and feeling connected to your community and loved ones. Unfortunately, for many, aging brings anxiety and fear instead. How will I take care of myself? What if I lose my spouse? What is going to happen to my mind? However, many of these fears stem from myths about aging that are exaggerated or simply untrue. The truth is that you are stronger and more resilient than you may think.
As you age, there will be periods of both joy and stress. It’s important to build your resilience and find healthy ways to cope with challenges. This ability will help you make the most of the good times and keep your perspective when times are tough.
- Focus on the things you’re grateful for. The longer you live, the more you lose. But as you lose people and things, life becomes even more precious. When you stop taking things for granted, you appreciate and enjoy what you have even more.
- Acknowledge and express your feelings. You may have a hard time showing strong emotions, perhaps feeling that such a display is inappropriate and weak. But burying your feelings can lead to anger, resentment, and depression. Don’t deny what you’re going through. Find healthy ways to process your feelings, perhaps by talking with a close friend or writing in a journal.
- Accept the things you can’t change. Many things in life are beyond our control. Rather than stressing out over them, focus on the things you can control such as the way you choose to react to problems. Face your limitations with dignity and a healthy dose of humor.
- Look for the silver lining. As the saying goes, ―What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.‖ When facing major challenges, try to look at them as opportunities for personal growth. If your own poor choices contributed to a stressful situation, reflect on them and learn from your mistakes.
- Take daily action to deal with life’s challenges. When challenges seem too big to handle, sweeping them under the carpet often appears easier. But ignoring the problem doesn’t make it go away; it allows both the problem and your anxiety to build. Instead, take things one small step at a time. Even a small step can go a long way to boosting your confidence and reminding you that you are not power-less.