How To Age Joyfully

It’s so common to hear someone lamenting that they are growing old and getting over the hill. Jokes are even made about having a ‘senior moment’ when something is forgotten.

Silently, there is an unspoken dread of getting older as we tend to equate an increase in chronological age with decline and despair. I met someone recently who felt she was in a life crisis when she turned 40!  A whole mythology about growing old can even mean we avoid celebrating our birthdays.

For a whole range of reasons, life experiences can change suddenly and rather than feeling free, we can feel redundant. We can challenge that way of thinking by embracing a new mindset.

I once heard a lecture from a doctor working with seniors who claimed he found a common denominator among his clients who were enjoying their lives. It wasn’t health, wealth or status, but the way they thought about themselves.

This wise doctor found that regardless of a person’s life position, once they changed their self view, they began to think differently and embraced new opportunities in their lives for the better.

Even now, with renewed understanding about how to enhance our brain health, we can influence how our mind to remain vibrant way into older age. From the new sciences of brain plasticity and epigenetics, there is evidence that we can impact our neurons and even our genes throughout our lives by creating a different mindset.

A recent article in April 18 HCF Health Agenda magazine (p26) looked at how simple lifestyle changes can make a vast difference to common issues of ageing. The article related the outcome of  The Lancet commission on Dementia Prevention, Intervention and Care and how common sense lifestyle changes can help prevent or lower dementia risk.

This is significant news as it means we can take some worthy measures to help protect ourselves from the feared elements of ageing.

Some of the life enhancing experiences are social contact, managing hearing reduction, preventing diabetes and obesity, ensuring adequate nutrition, increasing body movement, reducing blood pressure, treating depression and learning something new.

We can also find numerous simple ways to challenge the brain with certain mental activities that help generate some fun too, like dancing or learning a language.

Activities such as volunteering can also provide an emotional boost to feel meaningful, which impacts our brain chemistry positively.

Given the experts on such matters have concluded that we most often do have a choice about how well we age, even more than they first thought, let’s become age-wise by keeping our perception on ageing positive and happily celebrate each birthday to age joyfully, for ages!