Feeling “old” tends to come in waves. One day you look up and realize that your friends (or you) are married.
Or having kids.
Or *shudder*... “making a living.”
The good news is, getting older doesn’t have to mean getting, or feeling, worse.
In fact, the idea that “you’re only as old as you feel” is officially backed by science.
That’s right...studies show that negative attitudes toward aging can affect both your physical and cognitive health. On the other hand, individuals with positive attitudes toward aging had improved cognitive ability the older they got.
But with endless products promising “anti-aging” benefits, the truth is we are getting mostly negative cues from our culture around what it means to get older.
Ready to flip the script? Here are 3 ways you can rethink what it means to age, so you can make the most of the years ahead of you.
Ditch the idea that getting older means giving up on the things that pique your interest. Challenge yourself to practice hobbies and activities that you enjoy, or think you might enjoy. Maybe you’ve always been curious about acting, but never took the plunge...join the community theater.
Did you used to love tennis, but haven’t played in a while? Commit to regular practices. Brain teasers. Woodworking. Ice skating. Writing. Whatever. What you spend time doing is less important than your dedication to doing it with intention and enthusiasm. Never underestimate the power of self-development!
Think Beyond Yourself
Whether it’s your daughter, grand-daughter, niece, sister, or friend, chances are there’s someone in your life who is younger than you...and they are (whether you’ve thought about it or not) looking to you for an example of how to approach aging. Is it an icky, scary, shameful process that should be avoided at all costs?
Or is it a meaningful reality of life that should be welcomed with open arms? Be conscious about your words around the topic, including how you react to each emerging wrinkle. Younger ears are always listening, and you have the power to nudge them toward unconditional self-love at any age.
Every laugh line tells the story of a smile. Every gray hair is a badge of honor, proof that you’ve gracefully navigated life’s ups and downs. The more confidence you build, the more comfortable with yourself you steadily become, wrinkles and all. And a lot of that stems from gratitude.
Developing a gratitude practice is crazy-simple: just write down 3 things every day (either when you wake up or before bed) that you feel grateful for. They can be big or small. Super specific, or universal truths. Whatever you write down, let yourself really bask in the feeling of being thankful for them. It’s such a small habit, but it can have lasting effects, and make a really positive difference in how you think about growing older.
Plot twist: You will never be 22 again...but that’s okay! Instead of coming from a place of “anti-aging,” try to think about aging as simply a biological fact of life. You don’t judge someone for breathing oxygen, do you? So why are we so critical about the natural process of our bodies getting older? We hope these tips have empowered you to go forth and grow older with confidence and curiosity.