You may have heard the phrase, “Age is just a number.” It’s a cliché, but there’s more and more evidence that it might be true.
It’s not just about how old you are, but how you feel about being that age.
A positive aging mindset might slow or even reverse the aging process.
Researchers at the University of California-San Francisco found that positive thoughts about getting older were associated with better health outcomes in older adults.
Another study by researchers at Duke University found that having a positive attitude towards aging can lower your risk of developing dementia by up to 40%. The study looked at 1,638 older adults who were followed for an average of seven years. Those who reported having a more positive view towards their age had a reduced risk of developing dementia compared with those who did not.
Shifting your focus from the negative aspects of aging to its positive ones
Of course, aging is not all in your mind. Habits such as exercise and eating well can have a dramatic impact on how you feel and the length of your life.
People’s life expectancy may increase by four years if they lower their blood pressure and cholesterol levels – but research shows that a person’s mind also has control over his or her body.
The positive aging checklist
Here is a list of ways seniors can adopt a healthier mindset about the aging process:
- Stay physically active: Do at least 30 minutes of movement or exercise daily.
- Exercise your brain: Engage in mentally challenging activities, and never stop learning new things.
- Adopt an overall healthy lifestyle: Eat healthily, get enough sleep, manage weight, and no excessive drinking or smoking.
- Stay connected to other people: Build positive relationships with the people in your life – from your spouse or partner and friends to neighbors and even young people.
- Minimize life stress: Stress is a part of life, but it shouldn’t control you. Learn to relax and unwind by practicing healthy coping techniques. Living in a CCRC can also help take a lot of stress out of your life.
- Have regular medical check-ups: Stay on top of preventative health screenings.