Getting older often comes with the stigma that your body, mind and vitality is slowly disintegrating. I personally believe that nothing could be further from the truth. The term “Golden Years” wasn’t coined randomly, it was meant as a title or description for a chapter in one’s life that is meant to be enjoyed in ways that could not be enjoyed as fully in earlier years. There is a lot to be said for wisdom and experience, both of which really do make our life richer as we get older.
Far from the sterotypes and myths of getting older, with each passing decade, we actually become happier, more optimistic, and yes, even smarter. So, instead of fearing getting older, you should be embracing it, and enjoying all the wonderful benefits that come with each passing year.
What Gets Better As We Age?
We Get Smarter
What? Yes, we all think that are brains are slowly disintegrating with each passing decade, year and even day, but you’d be quite surprised at how much our brains actually do the exact opposite. Our brains have the capacity for growth, regardless of age. As long as you continue to lead a stimulating life, brain scans show that our brain cells actually grow and thicken with each passing year. And, we’re not talking about anything outrageous, unless that is what you desire, but rather just be constantly engaged in the game of life. Having an active social life and family life, as well as participating in hobbies and activities that you enjoy regularly, literally does keep you young in body, mind and spirit. Researchers back this up, and state that by the age of 60, an active brain can process information a whopping 10 times faster than when it was younger. And, since the brain grows new connections whenever it learns something new…you know what’s coming next….it’s never too late to learn something new.
Our Relationships Get Stronger
Purdue University researchers found that older, long-term married couples report greater marital satisfaction and more affection. They even say “I love you” more than younger ones. And, it’s not just marriages that get closer and stronger. As we age, our relationships with our adult children improve too, with both the parents and adult children reporting stronger and more positive relationships with each other. And, let’s not forget about friendships. People between the ages of 57 and 85 actually socialize with friends twice as much as younger people do. Once our child-rearing years are past us, and we are retired or semi-retired from our vocations, this frees up plenty of time to do the things we enjoy, and that includes spending time with friends, and that my dear readers is priceless.
We Stress Less
Studies show that emotional well-being increases as we age, so we feel less anger, less stress and less worry. We are much more able to “go with the flow” in our 40’s and up, than in our 20’s and 30’s. Every tough experience you go through makes you more resilient, adaptable and even empathetic. If you find stress is consuming you, try practicing a daily mantra such as “All is good.” or “So what?”. Create one that suits you and your situation, and then say it out-loud or silently…and often. The more you say it, the more it becomes ingrained into your way of thinking, which will be much more carefree and “happy go lucky”.
We Feel Happier
In a study of 28,000 people ages 18 – 88, researchers found overwhelmingly that older folks feel much more optimistic and satisfied in their lives vs. younger folks. In fact, the researchers estimated that our happiness levels increase by 5% for every decade of life. During the study, participants were even given MRI’s immediately after being shown happy, positive images, and found that the older participants showed much greater activity in their brain’s pleasure center compared with younger subjects, after seeing the exact same thing. Unfortunately studies also show that people (of all ages) tend to remember negative experiences 4 times longer than they do positive ones. The good news is, that by consciously focusing on the positives in our life, we can “rewire” our brain to be more optimistic. A simple way to help you get started in remembering more of the positives in your life, is to keep a daily journal of everything that goes right and that you are appreciative for. It doesn’t need to be fancy, just quick notes of everything that made your day. Go back and read through your happiness journal often, and you’ll soon notice yourself having a more optimistic and upbeat look upon the world around you.
We Are More Passionate And Confident
Think that only younger people have all the fun and adventure when it comes to love and romance? Think again. A large nationwide study of over 70,000 men and women, reveals that those ages 45 and up are actually more uninhibited and more adventurous when it comes to romance, than their younger counterparts. The 45 and up crowd become more confident as they get older, and are not afraid to speak up and say what they want (and don’t want) when it comes to romance and relationships.
So, no matter what your current age, remember, just like fine wine, we really do get better with age!
Bon Veggie Appetit!
Gina ‘The Veggie Goddess’ Matthews