“Successful aging” is a term that’s bandied about by many experts in the longevity field, but what does it mean? At Growing Bolder we believe that success looks different to each and every one of us. Whether it’s what makes a successful business, successful marriage or life, we get to decide, we get to choose what that means, and that applies to aging as well.
Maybe you’re ready for a new adventure, like making new friends, taking trips to places you’ve never been, or finding your passion. Making the rest of your life the best of your life, does require action. First you have to know what you want to experience, and then take steps that prepare you to be ready when new opportunities and new experiences present themselves.
Here are 5 Keys to Help You Soar to New Heights in 2023
1. Change your belief system about what’s possible. This is job number one, because we live in an ageist culture that leads us to fear and resent growing older. The damage is quickly passed from our minds into our bodies. We anticipate the perceived negative benchmarks of aging so strongly that we all but guarantee that they’ll come to pass.
What the mind believes, the body embraces.
2. Adapt and accommodate. The single most common denominator shared by those who live active lives into their 90s and 100s is loss. The key is not to mourn what’s lost but to celebrate what remains; to not identify with limitation but rather identify with possibility; to adapt to and accommodate the loss. Grandma Moses had a passion for embroidery. She had to give it up in her late 70s after developing a debilitating case of arthritis. She could have easily lost a creative passion that gave her life purpose. Instead, she took up painting because her arthritic fingers could still hold a big brush. The rest is art history. She remained happily engaged in something she loved until her death at 101.
3. Have purpose in your life.
Purpose fuels the life force. It’s important to have something that gets us out of bed every morning. We need unfinished business. It’s common to hear about people passing away not long after retiring from a lengthy career or following the death of a spouse. That’s largely because the job or the relationship provided purpose. Your purpose doesn’t have to be profound. It must simply move you to action. It could be painting, as it was for Grandma Moses.
4. Be curious and never stop learning.
Curiosity leads directly to lifelong learning: the ongoing, self-motivated pursuit of knowledge. Lifelong learning helps us adapt to change and stay relevant. It promotes brain health, creates social connection, increases happiness, reduces stress, and leads to a multi-dimensional life.
5. Say Yes. Be an Amateur.
As we age, we have to resist the urge to regress into that which is comfortable and familiar. We have to continue to say “Yes!” to life. We have to be willing to risk embarrassment, social unease, and failure. To be afraid to fail is to be afraid to live. Forget perfection. Develop a beginner’s mindset, which is open to new ideas and possibilities and understands that failure is nothing more than important feedback.
Moving forward is easier when you’re feeling your best. Giving our bodies enough sleep and the right fuel are equally as important as our mindset. In fact they actually improve our mental health.
Use these tips to get the rest your body deserves:
→ Relax. Sometimes, relaxing is easier said than done, but there is no better place to start than with your breathing. Focused breathing brings attention to your breathing, allowing you to use it to calm yourself down.
→ Keep a regular sleep cycle. This means going to bed and waking up at the same time. Don’t use the weekend to catch up on sleep.
→ Get your exercise. Exercise has so many benefits, one being that it improves your sleep quality. Exercising most days of the week will boost your sleep health. Talk with your doctor about how you can start.
→ Decrease your caffeine consumption. A good rule of thumb is to avoid any caffeine about six hours before bedtime as it can interrupt your sleep patterns.
→ Avoid alcohol, nicotine and eating before bedtime. Caffeine isn’t the only thing that can lead to a poor night’s sleep. Avoid these three additional triggers before bedtime.
→ Clear your mind. Establishing a relaxing bedtime routine, such as taking a warm bath or dimming the lights, can help you unwind and clear your mind before bed.
→ Turn off your television and computer. Light suppresses melatonin production, and the light from electronics can stimulate your mind instead of relaxing it.
→ If you tend to overthink or worry a lot a night, try writing down what’s on your mind. You can do this by journaling or doing a brain dump, which literally just means dumping everything that’s on your mind onto paper. Sometimes getting thoughts out of our heads and onto paper can ease our minds.
→ Create an ideal sleep environment. Sometimes where we sleep is just as important as how we sleep. And while we can’t always control every sleep scenario we may encounter, there are plenty of ways to set ourselves up for sleep success.
Feeling blah and looking for a boost? You can eat your way to a better mood. Eating nutritious food can not only improve your mood, but also lower your risks for many health conditions, like diabetes, heart disease, and more.
Use these tips to fuel your body and feeling your best.
→ Choose whole foods. Avoid packaged, processed foods. Get your nutrients straight from the source: fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains and lean proteins. For example, eat an apple, not applesauce. And bonus, it comes in its own edible package.
→ Eat the rainbow. One quick way to make sure you are getting needed nutrients is to make sure to eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables. Aim for five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day, too.
→ Eat from all food groups. Make sure you are getting a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy and protein.
→ Watch your portion sizes. Often a lot of us make the mistake of eating portions that are too large.
→ Read food labels. When you’re shopping, check out the nutrition information on your food labels. Avoid foods with large amounts of added sugar. Watch your saturated and trans fats. Pay attention to serving sizes. Look for foods high in fiber. Avoid too much sodium.
Never let an opportunity pass you by, because none of us know what’s around the corner. Don’t sit back. Lean in. Seize the day and soar.
This article is featured in the December 2022 issue of The Growing Bolder Digital Digest.
This post was created in partnership with our friends at Florida Blue Medicare.
Florida Blue and Florida Blue Medicare are Independent Licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. We comply with applicable Federal civil rights laws and do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex. For more information visit floridablue.com/ndnotice. © 2022 Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, Inc., DBA Florida Blue. All rights reserved.