We’ve all seen the popular stereotype portrayed of the older generation – the cranky, misanthropic old man – but we’re will to bet there are very few people who actually want to become that person as they age.
Who wants to spend their golden years grumbling about minor inconveniences and being rude to everyone who walks by?
Instead, most of us would like to reap the many benefits that aging can offer: wisdom, tranquility, and perspective gained through experience, for example.
All you have to do to achieve these goals is to consciously work toward them - and to help you do that, try following these 5 tips.
Let go of old resentments.
A clear conscience is one of the best ways to ensure a happier, healthier life. If you have old resentments or unresolved issues with people in your life, make a commitment to clear the air - even if only for your own sake.
Carrying around negative feelings will do nothing for you - except, according to research by Harvard University, give you a greater chance of developing coronary heart disease (and wrinkles, too).
Letting go of those feelings and clearing the air with the people you’ve had conflicts with will lift that weight off of you, allowing you to spend that energy on more important things in your life.
Cultivate a positive attitude.
This goes hand in hand with letting go of negative feelings. It’s been proven that happier, more optimistic people live longer, have a decreased risk for developing everything from the common cold to hypertension, and even maintain healthy mental function longer than people who are chronically unhappy.
While there is such a thing as genetic predisposition to optimism or pessimism, optimism is something that a person can effectively cultivate. Looking for the silver lining in every cloud, increasing and strengthening your social ties, and engaging in activities that make you happy are just a few of the things you can do.
Watch less TV.
Everyone likes a little Netflix binge-watching now and then, but before you press play, think about this: an Australian study, cited in Women’s Day, found that watching TV for six or more hours a day will cut your lifespan short by 5 years.
Instead, indulge in activities that have been proven to increase your health: read a book, do something creative, pick up a hobby, or play a low-impact sport.
Manage your stress.
Yet too many of us refuse to commit to managing our stress in healthy ways. Instead, we may deal with it by overindulging in food or alcohol, compulsively venting our negative feelings, or by ignoring the stress we feel, hoping it will just go away.
The better path is to engage in mindful activities that make you feel fulfilled and relaxed. That could be anything from meditation or yoga to going for a daily walk with a friend.
Manage your finances.
Once we hit retirement, managing our finances starts to look a little different than it did when we had a regular paycheck. There are few things in life more stressful than running out of money, especially when you’re older.
Working with a financial advisor can be especially helpful at this stage in your life. Financial advisors can help you plan for the costs of retirement, healthcare, and long-term care, as well as talk with you about alternative options like life settlements.
We have more control over the way we age than we may think. By making smart decisions about how we spend our time, who we spend it with, and what we focus on, we can all age more gracefully - and live better, happier lives.