As we grow older, many things change, but how we handle these changes is what best defines our true vitality. Healthy aging is about much more than physical health, it’s about maintaining your sense of purpose and your zest for life. Learning to age healthily can help you live with meaning and joy throughout your KAA-Booming years.
Coping with change is difficult, no matter how old you are. Loss of friends, family, your career, your health, and even your independence are factors that many KAABoomers struggle with in their everyday lives. It’s natural to feel upset with these sensitive issues, but it’s also important to know that you are not alone in facing them. Combating these stresses, and knowing how to manage them correctly, is the first step in learning how to age healthily.
Healthy aging means continually reinventing yourself, finding new things you enjoy, learning to adapt to change, staying physically and socially active and feeling connected to those around you. Many KAA-Boomers fear age, and stress about what the future may bring. But the truth is that you may have more control over these factors than you think.
It’s key to remember that getting older doesn’t automatically mean that your health will go downhill or that you’re destined for the wheelchair. While it’s true that some diseases that are more common in older adults, there are plenty of them that also enjoy long, active, healthy lives. Preventive measures like a balanced diet, daily exercising and stress management can help reduce the risk of bad health. Don’t be scared of your doctor either! Physicians are there to help and guide you during your many transitions with age.
As you get older it’s important to find healthy ways to cope with challenges in order to make the most of the good times and to give your prospective and focus when times are tough. While this journey of self discovery will be different for everyone, you can count on a few things to help you along the way:
- Stop taking things for granted. While it’s true that nothing stays the same, what remains in life becomes even more precious. When you stop taking things for granted, you learn to appreciate and enjoy what you have even more. Make the most out of every day by spending as much time as you can with your friends and loved ones.
- Be open and express your feelings. Some people have a hard time sharing strong emotions, but studies have shown that repressing your feelings can lead to anger, resentment, and depression. Don’t deny what you’re going through! Find healthy ways to manage your feelings. If talking about your frustration is completely out of the question, then consider starting a private journal.
- Learn to accept change. Many things in life are beyond our control. Rather than stressing out over what’s out of your grasp, try channeling those emotions into positive action. Approach conflict with dignity and a healthy dose of humor. Nothing is ever perfect, so make the most of what you have and let the rest go.
- Stay positive. All challenges are opportunities for personal growth. Reflect and learn from your mistakes. Learn to forgive, forget and move on. Dwelling on negative thoughts and feelings can likewise have a negative impact on your health and lifestyle, so learn to avoid them. Take the higher road to a happier, healthier you!
Barbara Jaworski is Canada’s leading expert on boomers, chief KAA-Boomer of the Workplace Institute and author of Rebel Retirement – A KAA-Boomer’s Guide to Creating and Living an Explosive Second Act. You can find out more at http://www.KAA-Boom.com