If you were to make a list of the top goals or hopes most people have for their senior years, what would you include? Have you ever thought about it?
Financial security would likely rank rather high. And time with family would certainly be on the list. But, the number one subject on the minds of most senior citizens would be good health, and living a long and interesting life.
Typically, if you attend a seminar on good health for seniors, you’ll hear a lot about diet and exercise. But recently, research has shown that the seniors are who are most content and consistently live the longest and have the lowest prevalence of health problems are not necessarily those who put the most effort into following a strict diet or exercise program. Put simply, the senior citizens who are the most successful at being healthy and active, and live the longest, are the ones who obsess the least about being successful.
Much is made of “the power of positive thinking”. Whether you fully buy into this or not, research on the effect of mental perspective and how it relates to how well senior citizens do psychologically and physically does give it some credibility. A senior citizen’s outlook on life appears to have a great deal to do not only with their quality of life, but also with physical health and longevity.
Part of the reason why has to do with expectations. If you enter your senior years expecting to have low energy, anticipating that you’ll be ill more frequently and will decline rapidly over the years, it’s likely that’s exactly what’s going to occur.
This isn’t because the ideas themselves have any power. But if each day you wake up expecting lack of stamina and poor health, you will not be as active during the day. You won’t socialize with others as much, and you won’t pursue targets, interests and dreams. And these are the types of things that keep individuals of any age going. By “giving up” to the beginning of old age, you send a subconscious signal to your mind and body that the end is near. Depression, loss of energy, and poor health result.
Some call this the “self fulfilling prophecy” syndrome. Senior citizens who believe they’ll do well, have an energetic lifestyle and consider themselves to be in good health generally find it to be true. However, their counterparts with a more negative outlook appear to “believe themselves sick”.
There are any number of reasons why viewing your daily life with confidence and optimism will benefit you. It’s no secret that senior citizens who are lively, who continue to work or volunteer in the community, spend time with others, and pursue interests and hobbies are the ones that remain happy and healthy and have a better quality of life throughout their retirement years.
Another example of the value of perspective in the daily life of a senior citizen has to do with thinking of others more than yourself. Senior citizens who do volunteer work appear to be more joyful and more successful members of the senior community. A lifetime of experience and acquired skills gives seniors the ability to relate to people in a helpful, compassionate way. The opportunity to share knowledge and exchange ideas keeps you mentally sharp, and most people find helping others to be very rewarding.
Spending time with family gives you the chance to pass on meaningful stories and family history to the younger generation that they might otherwise never know. People are fascinated by the triumphs and tragedies of their own family tree, and want to know details of life in a time they never experienced. Don’t let the stories you were told as a child or young adult of heritage and tradition be forgotten!
The simplest way to turn a negative perspective into a positive one is to seek out uplifting companions. The old saying “misery loves company” is fairly accurate. To improve your own mental attitude, surround yourself with individuals who have great perspectives. A creative and favorable outlook on life is infectious. And it is worth the attempt to shift how you see your retirement years because a negative state of mind is simply not going to help you. If your approach says you’ll get the best from life, you’ll experience that and become the greatest senior citizen ever.