You look in the mirror and all you see are frightful wrinkles. New aches and pains pop up daily, causing you to worry. The thought of losing your independence begins to creep into your thoughts more and more often. While growing old can be a scary process, here’s something that should bring comfort: the fear of aging is a product of the mind, something you can control. In fact, with a take-charge attitude and a little common sense, you can turn your anxiety about growing older into a calm, life-changing acceptance. Here’s how:
Fight Fear with Facts
Knowing the truths about growing older can make all the difference in your well-being–and in alleviating your fears. For example, evidence shows that regular exercise later in life has many benefits, including stronger organs and bones, increased cognitive function, lower risk of falls, and greater social engagement. Adopting a routine fitness program is one way to increase the odds of living well as you age, but there are many more. Get educated and put your knowledge to work. The truth is, people are enjoying longer, healthier lives today thanks to research, medical advancements, and the sharing of information. You too can thrive fearlessly with facts.
Look Inward for Calm
Older people tend to have high rates of spirituality, according to numerous reports. And while the reasons why vary, one thing’s for certain: being spiritual brings a deeper sense of meaning and calm to life. When engaging with your spiritual self, anxieties about aging and other concerns quickly dissipate. There are many ways to practice spirituality, too, like reading scripture, spending time in nature, meditating, doing yoga, and journaling on topics that bring joy and fulfillment. Make a point to be intentional with your spirituality. Develop a plan for connecting with your inner self daily and stick to it. The habit will do wonders to keep worries at bay.
Know You’re In Good Company
While growing older may seem like a lonely road, rest assured you’re far from alone. Everyone ages and many people go on to live well into their eighties and nineties. Instead of worrying about growing older, make peace with the natural process despite its limitations. You’re in good company, and not the only one with fears. And guess what? It’s okay to be a little anxious about aging, as long as you don’t let your feelings get out of control. Talking to other older adults can help assuage your fears by promoting a sense of community and camaraderie. Plus, you’ll be able to share thoughts and ideas that can help ease the age-related concerns each of you has.
Cozy Up with the Young
Spending time in the company of today’s youth not only helps distract you from your aging worries; the lively conversation and fun atmosphere might make you feel young again. If you don’t have grandkids to mingle with, consider volunteering at a school or other youth-oriented venue or event. Even being with people who are young at heart can liven your spirit and quiet your fears about aging. A nice side benefit? Young people have their own share of worries and anxieties and can appreciate what you bring to the table, like wisdom and knowledge, mentoring advice, and decades of life experiences they can learn from.
Relax Your Worries Away
If worrying about aging is consuming your mind, you’re probably not devoting much time to physical relaxation, which can be a powerful tool for combating anxiety. One of the most successful relaxation activities is deep breathing. Using the diaphragm to release tension from the body will help lift worries, provide a sense of well-being, and encourage happiness. Try the 4-7-8 option, where you inhale through the nose for a count of 4, hold for 7, and exhale through the mouth for 8. In addition to deep breathing, set aside time to engage in activities or hobbies that promote peace–a warm bath, a restful nap, an afternoon in the garden, or a visit with friends.
An effective way to alleviate your fears of growing old is to face them. But why not take it a step further and meet fear with a response? When it comes to anxiety about aging, reflect on what it is about growing older that bothers you. If you can’t drive anymore, research other transportation options that will give you mobility, like a bus or van service or getting a family member to help out. Answer your age-related worries with proactivity and a plan. Gather support and learn basic techniques to give you access to resources and keep you connected. If your anxiety about aging grows overwhelming, consider treatments, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or medication.
Don’t let anxiety about aging get the best of you. Take a common-sense approach to growing older and see how it can calm your fears and improve your health, happiness, and longevity.
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