Tips for Becoming Happier as You Age

tips-for-seniors-on-becoming-happier-as-you-age-fb
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmail

When was the last time you truly felt happy? Finding everyday happiness is a challenge for everyone in today’s fast paced society. It is especially challenging for the elder part of our population. How do you remain happy despite chronic conditions and the effects of aging? Walt Disney once said “Happiness is a state of mind. It’s just according to the way you look at things.” Research similarly illustrates Disney’s statement. Researchers have shown more positive thinkers tend to have a stronger positive “happy” outlook of themselves and those around them; whereas, those who are more negative in their frame of mind tend to be more doubtful of their own self-worth and the worth of others. So with this is mind, here are some tips to guide your beginning steps on the road to becoming happier as you age.

Focus on what you can do instead of what you cannot

It is often difficult to not dwell on the things that we wish we could change. We wish that we did not have aches and pains. We wish that we could eat anything we want without repercussions. We wish we could still do all the activities we used. However, focusing on this line of thinking is not productive and in fact can be detrimental to your own sense of self-worth. Instead, accept your new reality and focus on what you can do that will bring you joy. You can read those guilty pleasure books. You can go for walks through the park. You can eat that piece of chocolate (or two no one is going to tell). Dedicate your time to enjoying your life and prioritizing those passions that drive you. If you enjoy and can still garden, plan that dream garden and then go out an actually plant it. You will come out of it much happier then if you had sat inside dwelling on what cannot be.

Be Mindful of Having a Positive Outlook

One of the easiest ways to start changing your outlook is to be mindful of your internal and external language. In particular, try to be aware of how you think and speak about yourself and others. Are you more positive or negative? What words seem to keep being used? How we talk about something or someone does reveal how we think about someone or something. Make a conscious effort to try to honestly talk more positively about something or someone in your life and you will see that your outlook will start to change as well. For instance, some people may respond to how they are doing by saying, “Can’t complain”. Though at face value this appears to be a positive statement, your brain has a negative connotation to the word “complain” and will subconsciously cycle through other concepts that are associated with “complain” while processing the statement. By replacing, “Can’t complain,” with “Doing well,” you are making a small linguistic shift that has a much more positive connotation. Other small thoughtful changes likes this to the way you speak can lead to a large impact on how you think.

Avoid Unnecessary Stress and Take Time to Reflect on the Happy

This seems like stating the obvious, but somehow people still manage to get caught up in unneeded (and unwanted) stress. If you absolutely hate messing around with the newest technological wonder, why do it? You could have someone in your family set up the tech or hire someone to help. Do not let yourself get bogged down by stress that can be avoided when you can easily circumvent it.

After mastering your stress, make sure that you take time to be mindful of how you have been happy. At the end of the day, reflect on what has happened and pick one thing that made you happy. It could be the cup of coffee your co-worker brought you or that you got to have a nice chat with a friend. It could be small thing or it could be a big thing—all that matters is that you recognize that it made you happy. Additionally, take time to appreciate the small changes you have made. At the end of the week, take some time to think about what you have done to change your outlook. Recognize the work you have been doing to make yourself a happier you and pat yourself on the back (and have another piece of chocolate – after all – you deserve it).