Healthspan August 31, 2017

Ageing is one of the most natural processes that our minds and bodies can go through however society can tend to put a negative spin on it. There is a multitude of advice and tips out there but it can often be overwhelming and, at times, somewhat patronising. With people living longer, healthier lives we think it’s only right to start embracing ageing so we’ve put together 10 ways to instantly feel more positive about it. Ageing doesn’t begin at a certain age and it can be a subjective process so whether you’re 40, 60 or 80 we hope your outlook will be a little brighter after reading.

1. Negative thinking speeds up the ageing process

That’s right, according to a recent study by Trinity College, Dublin, obsessing over the candles on your birthday cake can actually speed up the ageing process. Two years after the initial assessment of participants, it was found that those with a more negative outlook experienced poorer physical and cognitive capabilities than their sunnier counterparts even when medication and health concerns had been accounted for (1).

So packing up your troubles really can be the way forward. As simple as that sounds, banishing all that negativity, fretting and worrying may not come as easily to some as it does to others. With any luck our next 9 points should keep you on the straight and narrow of positivity.

2. Try something new

You’ve probably heard this one before but the bottom line is, it can help you forget about your ageing concerns, keep your mind ticking over and strengthen your connections with those around you. You may be reaching retirement or simply have more time on your hands if your children have flown the nest, so now’s your chance. Take up that dance lesson, pick up that tennis racket, or go on that icing course for no other reason than your own culinary satisfaction. Alternatively, if you have a desirable skill such as upholstering furniture or flower arranging, pass it on! Enquire at local education centres to see if they have any vacancies or be ambitious and set up your own classes or business. Ultimately indulging your passions will leave you looking on the brighter side of life.

3. It’s not all about looking younger

To most of us, our appearance is pretty important. Everyone enjoys looking their best and recently there has been a bit of a shift from wanting to just look younger to wanting to look radiant and feel great in our own skin. Agreed, nobody is fan of wrinkles, fine lines and age spots but as Helen Mirren once put it, “…we know we’re getting older. You just want to look and feel as great as you can on a daily basis.” Essentially, ageing is more about becoming confident in our own skin and learning what works best to get that healthy glow, whatever age we are. Sit back and let your creams, serums and masks work their magic.

4. Work those laughter lines

Laughter is the best medicine, so we’re told. As we age, we tend to develop more of a couldn’t-care-less-attitude and a strong sense of humour can often see us through the toughest of times. Life is full of ups and downs and although ageing can be a scary thought, humour is an excellent way of approaching it.

5. People are living a lot longer

According to the Office for National Statistics, by 2045 the percentage of the population aged 65 years or older will be 24.6% (2). We often hear in the media of the rising burden of this sector of the population but surely it should also be something to celebrate? Better life expectancy essentially turns the concept of ageing on its head - so is 60 the new middle age? How long will retirement last? Whilst this could increase financial concerns, living longer enables us to spend more time with our families and friends, enjoy doing the things we love and explore new horizons.

6. You’ve learnt to live in the moment

Younger generations may worry about what the future holds but as time becomes more precious as we get older, we’re often better able to live in the moment. The growing trend of mindfulness seems to be everywhere these days but it’s actually nothing new. By the time we’ve reached our 40s, we’ve figured out that stressing, worrying and getting angry over things is not always the best solution and we’re better at just going with the flow. You may not quite be a zen-meister but you certainly have a greater sense of well-being and appreciation of time.

7. You don’t have to pretend any longer

By now you’ve probably worked out what type of person you are, what you like, dislike and love so when it comes to decisions you know what’s important and you know exactly what you want. From this learned perspective you can focus on what makes you truly happy. So if you say ‘no’ to attending your nosy neighbour’s BBQ at the risk of mind-numbing small talk, you won’t feel guilty about it for the next week.

8. Dare to be bold

With ageing comes a gentle and subtle growth of confidence - an all-round feeling of self-assurance which equates to a bolder, more assertive you. Coupled with your couldn’t-care-less attitude this often makes us more daring and more able to wear that statement necklace or book the adventure holiday we’ve dreamt about for years.

9. Strengthening connections

As we grow older, our families can fan out across generations which may mean grandchildren for some or deeper relationships with our adult children or relatives for others. Similarly we have the opportunity to forge our friendships further and to surround ourselves with people that can uplift and inspire us. It’s not necessarily about making more time for people but about nurturing and cherishing the existing bonds we hold. Similarly making new friends can be a great way to give yourself a pick-me-up and discuss the things you care about.

10. Smile

A true cliché but a smile can go a long way. We’re not saying that smiling will leave you singing the praises of ageing but let’s face it, smiling is contagious and could spread a little positivity at the very least. Just remember, it takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile.

(1) http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165032715314142

(2)https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/populationestimates/articles/overviewoftheukpopulation/mar2017

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Nothing beats a healthy, balanced diet to provide all the nutrients we need. But when this isn’t possible supplements can help. This article isn’t intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying supplements or herbal medicines.

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