Many of us worry about getting older, but did you know your attitude about aging can actually affect how long you live? A recent study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, found that people who had a more positive attitude about aging lived over seven years longer than those who had a negative attitude. A positive attitude was even said to outweigh other influences like tobacco use and exercise.
Because people often expect to become less competent and more frail when they get older, confusing aging with disease, it is thought they ultimately live up to their own expectations of what the aging process will be.
While we can’t stop the clock, there are many things that can be done to develop a healthier attitude about aging.
Pay More Attention to What You Like about Yourself
Instead of focusing on perceived flaws, pay more attention to the things you like about yourself and play up those attributes. Repeat positive messages and avoid negative thoughts. You may even want to write notes to yourself as a reminder, placing them in strategic areas where you’re sure to see them throughout the day.
The way you feel about yourself can significantly affect how you view your life as well as how much you’re involved in enjoyable activities and life opportunities. The more you can take part in activities that make you happy, the more likely you are to feel good about yourself.
Stop Trying to Be Perfect
Worrying less about what others think often comes as a part of growing older, but even if it doesn’t, keep in mind that true beauty really does come from within and you don’t have to look perfect. Don’t compare yourself to what you looked like at 20, or to others who are decades younger—no one can win that battle.
Live a Healthy Lifestyle
One of the most important things you can do to age gracefully and enjoy a fit body and mind throughout your life is to live a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise. Find an activity that you love and you’ll be more likely to stick with it. Exercise offers numerous benefits, including helping to maintain a healthy weight, retain muscle, boost self-esteem, increase energy levels and prevent depression.
A nutritious diet is also important, eating lots of brightly colored fruits and vegetables, as well as foods that contain healthy fats, will show up in the way you look on the inside and out. Your skin will look younger and you’ll experience greater vitality. It will also help reduce the likelihood of developing health conditions like diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s and a host of other diseases and illness.
Numerous studies, including a 2013 study published in the Society of Biological Psychiatry, have confirmed that chronic stress accelerates aging. Long-term stress is linked to everything from heart attacks to weight gain and hair loss.
Managing stress by practicing meditation or deep-breathing exercises on a regular basis, getting plenty of sleep (aim for seven to eight hours each night) and seeking support by sharing thoughts with friends or family members are excellent anti-aging strategies.
While aging is not something that anyone can avoid, we can embrace it with a more positive attitude, as well as holding on to our good health by taking care of the body and the mind.
-The Alternative Daily