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Tips for Staying Healthy and Happy In Your Golden Years

Tips for Staying Healthy and Happy In Your Golden Years

There are a number of myths regarding aging.  Some people may mistakenly believe that aging inevitably involves getting sick or disabled, while others may think that all adults face memory loss in their later years.  Even more people may think that once you reach a certain age, there is less that you can contribute to society and that you are done learning.  All of these beliefs are absolutely false.  In fact, many people find that the years following retirement are filled with health, vitality, and meaning.  Since we are all going to get to those golden years eventually, here are a few tips to consider that may help to make that stage of life some of the best years you’ll ever have.

1- Keep your mind sharp

Your mind is like any muscle in your body; the more you exercise it, the stronger it will be.  In earlier years, it may have been easy to keep your mind active while problem-solving at work or at home, but as you age, though, you may need to plan specific activities to engage the mind.  Some of the best ways to exercise the mind is by learning a new skill or hobby.  Consider learning a foreign language.  If you’ve always regretted never learning to play the piano, take a class.  Reading is also a great way to keep the mind growing and learning, so either join or form a book club in your area to allow yourself the opportunity to discuss ideas and thoughts regarding the books you are reading.

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2- Volunteer

Volunteering is one of the best ways to give your life meaning and purpose.  As you help others, you can feel a greater gratitude for the things that you have and a greater connection to the people around you.  No matter where you live, there are sure to be boundless volunteer opportunities.  Visit a local elementary school for opportunities to reach out to the children in your community and help them to learn and succeed.  Local government and nonprofit agencies are also often in great need of help.  Contact hospitals in your area for more ideas on how you can serve.

3- Eat well

A body needs proper fuel to remain strong and active.  As you age, your digestive system tends to slow down, and as a result, foods that are high in fiber are of special importance.  At the same time, older adults are more susceptible to dehydration, so it is important that you drink a lot of water every day.  In addition, don’t let meal times become boring or lonely—make an effort to make your food look and taste good even if you are only cooking for one or two.  Seek out other adults to spend meal time with so that you can enjoy social interaction while you are enjoying your food.

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4- Stay in touch with loved ones and friends

For some, aging equals loneliness and isolation.  As children leave home and move away, you leave the workforce and the relationships you built there, and friends and loved ones pass away, it may become easy to feel lost or forgotten.  It is vital that you continue to stay in touch with those you care about—your role in their lives may be different, but it can be equally important.  Learn to use technology to stay connected.  Spend time emailing friends, children, and grandchildren.  Resurrect the lost art of letter-writing by regularly writing to loved ones who have moved away.

5-Exercise

Even if you have never participated in regular exercise, it’s never too late to start.  Before beginning a new exercise program, however, it is important that you get your doctor’s permission.  After visiting with your doctor, find some form of activity that interests you and that you like to participate in.  Look for health clubs that have classes especially for older adults.  Exercising does not have to be overly strenuous either; going for a brisk walk every day could be a great way to stay healthy and active.

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6- Stay Positive

So much of how we feel is dependent upon our thoughts.  Sometimes the best way to fight discouragement and loneliness is by reminding yourself of all of the things that you have to be grateful for every day.  Moreover, try to find something to laugh about as you go about your day.  If you find yourself facing severe discouragement or depression, seek out professional help right away to assess whether or not you may be facing senior depression.

The possibilities and adventures that await as you enter your golden years are endless.  Seek out new experiences and enjoy the opportunities that you never had time to pursue before.  By doing so, you can make the later years of your life some of the most exciting, meaningful years of you have ever experienced.

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

1. Understand Yourself Better

Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

2. Keep Track of Small Changes

I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

3. Become Aware of What Matters

As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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4. Boost Creativity

The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

6. Process Life Experiences

When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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7. Stress Relief

In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

8. Provide Direction

Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

9. Solve Problems

Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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10. Find Relief From Fighting

Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

11. Find Meaning in Life

Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

12. Allow Yourself to Focus

Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

14. Let the Past Go

I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

15. Allow Freedom

Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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16. Enhance Your Career

Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

18. Catalog Your Life for Others

No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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