It has been said that aging is not for the faint of heart. Ailments, losing loved ones, general aches and pains make getting older quite a challenge both physically and mentally. Many people struggle to remain optimistic as they age, but it IS possible to find joy and contentment at each stage of life. Here are some things that can get you going on your path to happiness.
Not only does exercise keep you in shape physically—improving flexibility, stamina and range of motion—it is the ultimate mood booster. Usually after just five minutes of moderate exercise, you get the mood-enhancement effect from the endorphins released in your brain. But long term, exercise can help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety and promote feelings of calm and over all wellbeing. Seniors who exercise 30-45 minutes a day say they feel more energetic throughout the day, sleep better at night, have sharper memories, and feel more relaxed and positive about themselves and their lives.
As you get older, you don’t have the built-in socializing that working in an office or raising children produces. That’s why it’s important to make that extra effort to create and maintain friendships. Research suggests, close connections to friends and family may ward off poor health and premature death.
Consistent interaction with other individuals can drastically reduce both problems with memory and depression. You don’t need to be a social butterfly; just schedule n a little social time to your week, whether it’s grabbing coffee with a family member or meeting up with a group for an afternoon walk.
A source of angst for many seniors is a lack of purpose, especially for those who had successful careers. Volunteering just may be the solution. Not only does the increased socialization and activity level make people happier and give them a sense of purpose, studies show that it could also make them healthier, too.
Older volunteers tend to walk more, find it easier to cope with everyday tasks, are less likely to develop high blood pressure, and have better thinking skills. Volunteering can also lessen symptoms of chronic pain and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Self-care is a popular term among the younger generations, but many seniors struggle to embrace this trend. You have spent your life working and raising children; it’s hard to learn how to relax and take care of yourself.
Schedule time each day to do something you love, that brings you joy and helps you feel relaxed and rejuvenated. Spend time in your garden, read a novel (or magazine), get a massage, schedule a pedicure, take a bubble bath. You worked hard. You deserve it.
Of course, lifelong learning helps prevent cognitive decline, but it also can make you happier. Seniors who make a point to continue learning as they age report feeling more connected to life and enjoy losing themselves in the process. Others say it’s exciting to realize how much there is to learn and doing so has given them a renewed zest for life.
The subject doesn’t seem to matter, so follow your interests and learn a language, to play the piano, or about European history, and soak up all the benefits continued learning has to offer.