Medical evidence has shown the mind is powerful and your moods and emotions impact the overall quality of your life. Additionally, if you fear aging and "getting old and not being useful" any longer, that is a mindset that can be addressed and perhaps changed. While aging may be a fact of life, the way we approach the inevitable will determine how gracefully we age.
If you As caregivers, it's important to take care of yourself physically and mentally. It's also easy to look at our parents' and their failing health and subconsciously take on those characteristics and "grow old before your time."
Your perception of how you age will influence the way in which you age. What does that mean? If you feel "old and tired" chances are you will begin to feel that way. However, if you feel like a Spring Chicken and you have that mindset you may be able to live your life in a more positive manner.
What are some of the benefits of a great mindset and what can positive thinking do for you? Here are a few things:
You might live longer! The Ohio Longitudinal Study of Aging and Retirement found if you face aging gracefully you may increase your life expectancy by close to eight years. Feeling "useful and happy" are key.
Accept what you can't change. We cannot stop the clock and rather than worrying about aging, we need to accept it. Accepting that we will age doesn't mean that we have to spend our lives in a rocking chair in front of a television. Aging and aging well means staying active and remaining involved with friends, family and community events.
Staying active as you age will allow you to age better and could even allow you to age in place for a longer period of time. Individuals who self-isolate and who are not active age more quickly than an individual who is active and working to remain viable and involved.
Your positive attitude can boost your brain power and enhance your memory. It's been shown that individuals who have negative thoughts about aging suffered a 30 percent greater decline in cognitive performance than those who embrace the changes that the Golden Years bring.
Stress can damage your heart and raise your blood pressure and this is an important reason to embrace positivity. Again, it was shown that negative thoughts about aging put significant stress on the cardiovascular system.
What can you do, today, to enhance your attitude? Realize that the way your parents have aged, or are aging, doesn't necessarily have to be the way you are going to age. Take steps today to remain active and realize that making positive changes today can help you age more gracefully and could, as Eastern prophecies say, "help you celebrate and embrace each year's triumphs and even the hardships."
It is important for caregivers to understand the importance of adopting a positive mindset especially if they're in the midst of caring for their parents and aging loved ones.