“Grumpy old men” might not be an accurate way to describe seniors as many people become happier as they age according to research that was recently referenced in The Wall Street Journal. Just like our bodies, our emotions change with aging, often resulting in greater happiness. In general, older people have fewer negative feelings than younger people; including feelings of stress and worry. Elderly people are able to separate themselves from negative feelings and focus on their present situation as opposed to dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. Additionally, seniors tend to process negative information less deeply than positive information which helps to experience feelings of happiness throughout the aging process.
Depression and Aging
However, there are some seniors who are depressed. In older individuals who are depressed, this mechanism of processing information doesn’t work the same as in the general older adult population. Dr. Brassen and colleagues are looking at a possible new treatment approach to depression in the senior population which involves developing a new training program which will help seniors to better adapt to situations that they experience with aging. In addition to this new treatment approach that Dr. Brassen is developing, there are a number of anti-aging tips that seniors can try to help get them through the aging process more smoothly.
1. Ditch the bad habits – if you’re a smoker, quit. If you drink, decrease the amount of alcohol you consume. By ditching bad habits, you will experience good health benefits and help to prevent pre-mature aging.
2. Spend less time dwelling on the past – you can’t change the past, so live in the present and focus on what is good in your life, right now.
3. Exercise – there are many health benefits to physical exercise. Your cardiovascular health will improve, your sleep will improve and you’ll be happier. These good health benefits will help to keep you looking and feeling healthy and young.
4. Get outside and enjoy the sun – exposure to sunlight and fresh air helps to improve your mood.
5. Laugh a little – associate with funny people or go see a comedy. Laughter can be some of the best medicine. Laughter can help deal with some of the health problems that are seen with aging including decreasing stress, lowering blood pressure, improving memory, decreasing heart disease and protecting against infection.
6. Be social – maintain relationships with friends and family. Keeping social will help to keep your memory sharp and will help to keep you happy throughout the aging process.
7. Take up a new hobby – learning something new will help to stimulate brain cells which will keep your memory sharp, it will also boost your self- confidence and help maintain your happiness.
8. Eat right – ensuring that you’re eating a healthy diet consisting of lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, proteins and whole grain will help to fend off some of the problems associated with aging. By consuming all the vitamins and minerals necessary for healthy living, you will help to defend against many health concerns associated with aging.
9. Get a good night’s sleep – getting enough sleep, 7-8 hours, is essential for good health, especially with aging.
As you get older, try to implementing some of these anti-aging tips to experience good health benefits including increased happiness!