A group of researchers asked 500 elder Americans who were living independently (not in homes or assisted living facilities) how successfully they were aging on a 10-point scale, with 10 being ‘very successfully’. The findings of the study show that the average rating was 8.4 and that subjects that rated themselves high weren’t necessarily physically healthy. The study concluded that that ‘aging well’ is not dependent on being physically healthy but is associated with attitude and coping styles taken up by these adults.
Seniors find themselves at a stage where they feel a lack of control over their lives because of their fading health and the social and economic changes that come with aging like retirement, limited finances, and companionship. To conquer the problems life is throwing at them, a positive approach is necessary along with a strong network of emotional support.
Mind over Matter
The phrase ‘Mind over Matter’ is defined as one’s ability to use willpower to suppress physical and environmental problems. Mastering Mind over Matter requires you training your mind to find positivity amidst the harsh realities of life. Studies have found that when participants use ‘confrontive and optimistic styles’, they were able to manage grievances better. To retain composure, train your mind to focus on what you CAN control instead of getting overwhelmed by what you cannot.
Positive self-talk takes a lot of practice and if you’ve been beating yourself up with that negative voice in your head all your life, it’s that much harder. Your first step to conquering negativity would be to write out the negative thoughts in your head. For every time you write ‘I can’t’, write a counterstatement beginning with ‘I will’ with a solution to how you will address that problem. Every time you write something self-deprecating, list your qualities and how you will use them to overcome your problems.
Break down your goals
Setting yourself short-term objectives to give you the positive reinforcement that you need to attain bigger goals. For example, if you decide that you are going to do something about loneliness, you can come up with a plan that involves you being around people. This can be everything from you taking daily walks around the park, joining a senior’s club or looking for part-time work. The short-terms goals will help you accomplish the bigger ones.
Rid yourself of negative people
Anyone in your life that you feel is toxic, distance yourself from them immediately. Nothing spreads like negativity, identify those individuals in your life that instill feelings of hopelessness in you and avoid them. You can work your way back to them when you are stronger emotionally.
Create enjoyable moments
Invest time in activities and people that make you feel happy. You’ll find a positive attitude is much easier to maintain when you line up joyous moments for yourself. Negative situations will affect you less if you have positivity in your life to pull you off it.
Social and Community Involvement
Social and community involvement is integral in building that network of support that seniors need to give them a sense of belonging. As a senior adult, you should look for activities that provide you with purpose. Look for opportunities in your community that will require interacting with others while being involved in activities that you like.
With the increase of homecare facilities, seniors have the option of hiring a caregiver for them who can assist them with their daily activities while looking after them medically. Homecare is an alternative to old home facilities that allows seniors to live independently with a bit of help and emotional support. Seniors can live in the comfort of their homes and continue their lives as usual.
There are fitness groups specifically for senior adults with exercise regimes tailored for senior adults. You’ll benefit from the exercise itself and the socializing involved in team activities and team sports. The exercise will help you with blood regulation and improve your immune system. Working out with others is motivational at any age. Combatting serious illnesses with others who are at a similar stage in life is going to be so much more inspiring.
You might feel disconnected to the youth as senior adults but working with a younger person as a mentor can help you bridge the gap. You can impart your wisdom on a younger individual who can really benefit from it. Building meaningful relationships will give you a sense of purpose that many people long for post-retirement.
Joining a Seniors’ Club
Everyone likes to fit in. Finding a club where you can partake in activities that you enjoy with people that you can relate to will help you foster positivity. Studies have found that elders who have a network of moral support and regularly engage in social activities are less likely to experience the cognitive decline that engulfs their detached peers.
Aging is scary for everyone but by making a conscious effort to build a positive outlook and a social circle for moral support can help you fight depression and limit cognitive decline.
About the author
Sherley Alaba is an undergraduate student. She loves to write about the top trends in finance and lifestyle. Follow @SherleyAlaba for more updates.