How to Mentally Embrace Ageing
Ageing tends to get a lot of bad press. The negative stereotype of a downhill slide into a state of decrepitude is so strong that it’s easy to lose sight of the positives that come with age. So here are some of the ways in which life actually gets better as we become older, and how we can make the most of the third act.
We #getmore happy
Countless surveys have shown that once the mid-life crisis is out of the way, we get happier as we age. We know who we are and what we’re about. As life gets shorter, the need for meaning grows. We want to spend our time on the people and activities that really matter to us. A deeper, more meaningful happiness begins to emerge. The recipe for this form of satisfaction is to channel your energy into something that is truly significant for you.
Mental well-being improves
Emotional stability increases with age while anxiety and depression levels fall. We don’t get so caught up in the dramas of life and are less likely to be blindsided by adversity. When negative emotions do arise, we tend to have more control over them and deal with them better than we did when we were younger. You can top up your resilience by doing more of what makes you feel good.
We care less…
…and don’t sweat the small stuff. Confidence grows with age. We become more comfortable in our own skin and are less bothered by what others think of us. Build your confidence further by getting to know your strengths. What are your positive characteristics? Maybe it’s courage or kindness. What are your talents? You might be an innovator or have a gift for making people laugh. Try and find new ways to use your strengths as early studies in Positive Psychotherapy have shown that it increases well-being.
The age of the sage
There are some strengths that emerge in mid-life. ‘Generativity’ is the desire to nurture and guide people, to make things better in the world. You may be motivated to contribute to a cause or become a mentor. One of the quickest ways of getting a happiness boost is to help others. The other strength is ‘wisdom’ – the practical ‘know-how to navigate through life’. Although we may not be able to remember someone’s name or find our car keys, neuroscience shows that our brains grow smarter in some ways – we are better at solving complex problems and at synthesising ideas.
Mid-life can be a time of immense change with divorce on the rise, children fleeing the nest and insecurity at work, but there is also the potential for a new lease of life. Make the most of the second chances to do what you’ve always wanted to do. It might be launching an encore career, reconnecting with old friends or taking a mid-life gap year, whatever it is, just go for it.
There are gains as well as losses as we age and one of the best ways of maintaining your well-being is to practise optimism and gratitude. Appreciate the good that you do have in your life and remember that it is not so much what happens to us, but how we respond, that counts. Optimism has been shown by research, outlined in Guy Robertson’s book ‘How to Age Positively (pictured right), to dramatically improve how people get on with ageing.
Ryvita has teamed up with Miriam Akhtar, Positivity Coach to be part of their Positivity Panel alongside Davina McCall. The panellists were handpicked to help inspire women across the nation to feel confident and happy, whatever their age, through advice, tips and tricks. Head to https://www.ryvita.co.uk/living-well to find out more.