Happiness and aging can't be related, can they?
It may come as a surprise to you, but yes, they are. Just not in an obvious way.
The picture that many in society have of happy aging is that young people, healthy and beautiful, are the happiest. It's mostly these young people who think it impossible that their elders could be happier than they. They're wrong.
Longtime research clearly found that as you age, your chances at happiness increase.
You may not have experienced much (or as much) happiness throughout the years, but now that you're older than 50 you can - according to the mentioned research - be the happiest you've ever been.
Even though health conditions may not be what they used to be, happiness can be yours if you embrace it.Let's face it…
Are you very happy, happy or not so happy?
Let's get the 'not so happy' dealt with first.
Research shows that if you're stressed or if you're with others that are stressed, your mind – and body – respond negatively.
Even if you simply observe someone else in stressful situations, your senior health can suffer from what's called "emphatic stress."
And, if any of these stressful circumstances continue long-term, your risk of immune system deficiency and depression increases.
This in turn affects others around you unfavorably, as research shows this stressful state to be contagious.
So, how you deal with that stress does matter.
Now on to better news.
If stress is contagious, then happiness must be contagious, too.
In fact, research shows that your positive emotions really are more contagious than negative ones.
The benefits derived from positive emotions, or happiness, reach all the way to your brain's cellular level.
New growth of nerve connections – neuron synapses – improves your mental productivity. An increase in attentiveness, the ability to think and analyze will result.
Even more positive thoughts will make you very happy.
So, as you get older you might want to start practicing "mindfulness."
It means paying attention to the present moment – as this is all we really have anyway – to learn how to reduce inflammation that is stress-induced.
Mindfulness is a practice or technique that in time leads you to staying focused on say, your own breathing, thus calming your mind and opening you to more happy thoughts.
Yes, it is a simple form of meditation. It is uncomplicated and effective.
It may take a little learning and practicing the skill of mindfulness, but what price happiness?
If you have questions about it, feel free to contact me.
You and I, the seniors, clearly have it over the young ones.
With adjusted expectations in life, perhaps less stress over all, and perhaps because we now tend to get more pleasure out of everyday experiences – we older Americans are – according to the researchers – happier than the younger folks.
You and I can now find pleasure in simply
Happy aging in this manner is conducive to optimal health and longevity.
There are of course a few more things you can do to this end such as
Your happiness and your longevity are very much within your own control.
You might as well stay as healthy and happy as possible.
Here's to Happy Aging, my fellow senior!
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