Develop a Positive Mindset on Aging

NOT in the slow lane, YET 

The blog is about living life after 70 with joy, resilience, and purpose. NOT in the slow lane, YET is a source of positive, helpful advice encouraging people to set and achieve goals  and find joy in life. The blog will cover personal experiences and thoughts and concerns. Topics of blogs will include health, retirement, fashion, travel, and  living in continuing care retirement communities. The blogs will be short and appear at least once a month on my website or by email if you choose.

How to develop a positive mindset about aging

Jimmy Mercer’s lyrics in the l944 song, “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive and eliminate the negative” give us happiness advice.   If you are my age you may remember hearing that song. That advice from l944 is still good. Accentuating the positive can lead to better health and a happier life. A study of 14,000 adults over age 50, co-authored by experts at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found those who had a good attitude about aging lived longer,  had fewer diseases, slept better, and had a stronger sense of purpose. 

I started posting  happiness quotes  on a lobby bulletin board in a busy area of our retirement  facility. I did not have a behavior change study  in mind. I was not even sure anyone would read them.   I hoped they might bring smiles to residents.

The quotes are cheery. Today I posted a Chinese proverb:

 “If you want happiness for an hour—take a nap.  If you want happiness for a day—go fishing.  If you want happiness for a year—inherit a fortune.  If you want happiness for a lifetime—help someone else.”

Last week, I posted a quote by Henry Ward Beecher.

“The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things.”

The previous week, I posted a quote by Earl Nightingale.

“Learn to enjoy every minute of your life.  Be happy now.  Do not wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future.”

It is not always easy to be happy.   I  have real things that are bothersome.  I have foot problems and arthritis.  Sometimes my sciatic nerves are unhappy.  I have had a bout of cancer.  My thinking is slower, and I forget things.   Sometimes the misery thoughts can make me smile,  “I’m learning  about body parts I didn’t know existed.” 

 Happiness begins in our brain.  It  depends on how we think about our lives.    I have negative stereotypes about aging to deal with, thoughts that old people are  “crotchety,” “ don’t want to learn new things,”  “ forgetful,” and “complain about everything.” We  learn  negative thoughts about aging beginning in childhood from our families, communities, and media.  Recognizing them helps to blunt their damage. 

How can you develop a positive mind-set about aging?

Accentuate the Positive and Eliminate the Negative.  Instead of getting up in the morning with a list of pains and aches, think about the things you are grateful for: a good night’s sleep, a call from a favorite relative, or a warm and sunny day.

Become aware of your negative stereotypes about aging.  Name them. 

Have role models who are doing well at aging.  In old age that might be people who help others, people who maintain a commitment to healthful living including physical fitness, and  people who volunteer for a cause.

Eliminate negatives in your life like non-stop watching of news channels.  

Hang out with happy people.  You build on one another’s happiness.

Practice gratitude.  Let people know how much they mean to you.

Meanwhile, I will keep posting my happy quotes for my neighbors and I will try to live by them.

My efforts may confirm for a few, that I wear rose-colored glasses and  live in make-believe land.  I hope happy quotes I post will strengthen a positive mind set on old age.

Why not start by replacing a misery thought with happy thought?

Do you want to know more?

Mayo Mindfullness: Overcoming Negative Self Talk by Dana Sparks, May 29,  2019