The Attitude Is The Difference Maker

June 17, 2009

By Dr. Carolyn Anderson

Happy Seniors Month! We celebrate June by embracing the wisdom and experience of being an older adult.

I recently read that years wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. I guess this means we must never stop doing that which we love no matter how many candles are on our birthday cakes.

Age is only but a number. How old you feel can be so different from how old you really are. When do we become old? I suppose chronological age is an objective concept, but that biological age is far more subjective. You are only as old as you feel. Attitude, flexibility and openness are instrumental in separating those who are elderly in spirit from those who are young at heart. There is no question in my mind that incredible and significant contributions can be made by people far beyond the age of 65. There are so many examples of the value of this living history.

Longevity is linked to positive thinking and pursuing dreams and passions. Never lose the desire to do the things you truly love, because it is saying no to life that ages us. There is evidence to support the notion that we can think ourselves sick. Conversely, research shows that the more you look forward to aging, the longer you will live. According to a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, those with more positive perceptions of their own aging lived on average 7.5 years longer. This effect remained after other factors such as age, gender, income loneliness and health status were controlled. The study compared death rates of 660 study participants to their answers to a survey 23 years ago. So it appears it is never too early to think yourself to a longer and happier life.

No matter what your current chronological age, you have the potential to craft a brand new reality starting today. Your thoughts are the controller of your destiny: think positively and live positively. Thinking that as you get older your physical and mental well being will diminish can unfortunately be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

To have excellent health and slow the aging process, it is critical that you do not let the old person move into your body. Stop yourself from talking about how you are old and acting old. One of the keys of longevity is growing younger by approaching life with passion, zeal and enthusiasm. According to motivational speaker and author of “Create Your Greatest Life”, Les Brown, “You are never too old to set a new goal or dream a new dream”, so go ahead and set some goals and follow your dreams: there is no time like the present.

More people are living longer and we should be living better. Today, 37 million North Americans are over the age of 65. By 2030, that number will grow to 70 million. Today 5.3 million Americans are over the age of 85. By 2030, that number will grow to 20 million. These numbers increase and accelerate faster after 2030. Strategies to live healthier and more fulfilled lives will become even more important as there is no question we are all living longer. It’s time to ask ourselves why age gracefully, when we can age powerfully? Get that age busting attitude in check, get reacquainted with those set of wings and soar to new heights!

About the Author: Dr. Carolyn Anderson is the founder of Impowerage. Her mission in life is to empower older adults with the information they need to continue living healthy active lifestyles.

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