7 ways to stay happy as we age
As people get older, they sometimes get unhappy as they feel they are no longer the same person they were when younger. Make a change – find how you can be happy.
BY: Zaibun Siraj
Happiness does not just come to you, it is a quality at which you have to work on. You can adopt ways to keep yourself happy, however, it is essential to apply and practice these ways constantly until they become part of your life.
Here are some suggestions on how we can stay happy as we age:
1) Focus on your achievements
Instead of focusing on what we lose as we age, we should focus on what we have achieved and experienced as we get older. There are many reasons for us to stay happy as we age. For example, we can look back on a successful and meaningful career and on what we have achieved in life. We can feel proud of our families, our children and grandchildren. Throughout our lives too, we have acquired many skills and much knowledge. We have developed greater self-esteem and confidence in ourselves. We should feel good at having achieved all this.
Feeling confident will make us feel more comfortable being ourselves. It helps too, that as we get older, we place less pressure on ourselves to excel professionally and in our personal lives. We can relax and just be ourselves. I find that when I do not feel stressed about achieving, I seem to do better. Also, I am able to take on tasks and cope with all the challenges that come with these tasks.
3) Recall the positives
Another way to stay happy is to recall more positive events and ignore the negative ones. By doing so we can control our emotions and we can look forward to life. We view life with great enthusiasm. We feel good and our well-being is great! So when something negative comes to mind, just push it out! I find that it helps to recall happy events often as it helps me to feel good about myself. As someone once said, “Happiness is the art of never holding in your mind the memory of any unpleasant thing that has passed.”
4) Be with others
To stay happy we should be with other people as often as possible. We need to spend more time with family and friends. Use the phone, the computer and see each other in person. Have lunch with a friend, join a centre for seniors, and be active in church or at social clubs. When I am happy and enjoying myself, I do not feel stressed and worried. Tell yourself to meet three new people each month and work at doing this.
Also, try to be with happy people most of the time as happy people will influence you to stay happy. Surround yourself with positive people so that you too can stay positive as positive people are the kind of people who will help you to boost your self-esteem.
Connect with others and focus on your relationships. This will bring you happiness. Being with others, especially the ones you love will make you feel good. Your sense of well-being will be enhanced if you are with others who are good to you, who enjoy being with you and who love you.
Do voluntary work and help others who are less fortunate. This will make you feel good about yourself. Keep busy and keep happy. Form a group of friends and meet often. You can even plan outings and social events for the group.
Another way to stay happy is to de-stress. Many older people spend a lot of time worrying about their health and they seek medical advice often. We should really stay positive about our health. The best that we can do for ourselves is to keep active, laugh and eat well. It is essential to maintain a good mood and have a positive outlook on life. Do some regular exercise as that always helps.
6) Abandon possessions
To stay happy there is no need to surround yourself with possessions, and worry about your status and looks. If you place greater importance on these things than cultural, social and spiritual values, you will remain unhappy. Ask yourself what you really value and list the experiences that are important to you. Then work on these everyday. Many people I know decide to have a minimalist lifestyle when they age. They keep with them just a few items and they do not worry about their status and lifestyle.
7) Develop skills
Find something to do with your skills and your time. Perhaps you wish to learn a language, play a musical instrument or develop some craft work. I have found an interest in making cards and wrapping gifts. I find this relaxing and most creative. I never had the time for this before but I do now. I try to think of different ways to wrap a gift and to make it as attractive as possible for the receiver.
When I finish with the wrapping, I usually feel so good about it. I urge you to find an interest and to develop it. US president Franklin D Roosevelt once said, “Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.”
Research has revealed that when older people stay happy, their thinking skills improve. They are better able to make decisions, particularly about the way they live. Hence it is valuable to stay happy as we age to prevent our thinking skills from deteriorating. We are responsible for our own happiness. We can be as happy as we wish.
I leave you with this quote from the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antonius: “Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”
Zaibun Siraj, 68, is a trainer, motivational speaker and author on books on management and happiness.