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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 January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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