Often as we age, we can lose sight of what makes us happy. Here are eight ways to keep smiling:
1) Accept Change – Life, for the most part, is out of our hands. While we can’t control the lines that creep across our face or other changes in appearance, we can relish in the experiences we have had. For many seniors, these changes are difficult. However, if we accept the changes of life, we are sure to live happier, healthier lives!
2) Have a Purpose – So you’re retired, life is ahead of you my friend! You are your own boss; make a schedule that fits the activities you enjoy. Arrange a weekly lunch with friends, grow the garden you have always dreamed of, but never had time to tend to, or take up a new activity such as painting or playing a musical instrument. Having something to look forward to each day will give you purpose.
3) Find a Community – It’s common to feel lonely as you age. One way to combat these feelings and is to be part of a larger community. Whether you decide to join a book club, a neighborhood group, or establish a weekly coffee meeting with friends, having social connectivity and camaraderie with others will keep you smiling.
4) Have Goals – You have it all. You’ve had kids, watched your children grow up and have children of their own, traveled to exotic places and purchased your dream home, but there’s still more! Consider what you want to accomplish as you age and make a plan to achieve those goals. Having goals will also give you a purpose (Step 2), and keep you engaged in life and those around you.
5) Try Something New – As we age, so does our brain. To keep your brain sharp, try something new. By changing the patterns of your actions and thoughts, the brain stays healthy, which will keep you happy and living well.
6) Laugh – Laughter is proven to be beneficial to the body; it is the ultimate sign of happiness. So how does laughing help your health? Laughter is shown to reduce stress hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine, produce endorphins that can relieve physical pain and boost the number of antibody-producing cells and enhance the effectiveness of T-cells, which leads to a stronger immune system.
7) Sweat a Little – In order to stay happy, we need to stay active. There’s no need to attempt the New York City Marathon, but try joining a local aerobics class. Water aerobics is great for seniors, reducing any stress on the joints. Even taking a walk after a meal will greatly improve digestion and give you a little exercise.
8) Cut the Salt – As we age, we lose bone density. For women, the loss of bone density starts in the early 40s. With exercise and lifting weights, we can help prevent this loss. However, if the gym is not your cup of tea, one lifestyle habit you can change to reduce bone loss is eliminating salt from your diet. Not only does salt have a number of negative effects on the body, but it also eats away at bones and causes them to weaken. Restaurants can easily accommodate a “no salt” request, but the best way to control your salt intake starts in your kitchen.