Older adults undeniably face certain challenges from time to time due to their age, life circumstances, and various personal problems. They are sometimes confronted with physical and mental health issues, impending health care costs, financial security, social isolation, and bereavement. It is a burdensome list but by not sweating the small stuff, focusing on the things to be grateful for, and mentally conditioning ourselves to only see what matters most, not only will you live long and happily but more importantly feel alive at the moment. To be happy is the perfect celebration of life. If you need reminders especially when it comes to knowing what can be done to be happy and live in wellness, check these doable ways out:
1. Always smile.
This goes on top of the list because this is the simplest but most effective and indicative of happiness. While it is really difficult to do so when times are tough, you should find a way to turn things around. The mere act of smiling induces hormones in the body associated with happiness. Starting your mornings with a smile can set your entire mood and put everything in perspective for the rest of the day.
2. Stay sociable.
Human beings are naturally sociable creatures. They feel safety, security, and love every time they are listened to, heard, and attended. Especially during these challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic together with the frustrations experienced by seniors towards aging or their medical conditions, depression can hit them. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2019) revealed that depression late in life affects over 7 million people aging 65 and above which is usually aggravated by a certain medical disease, retirement, or losing a spouse. This is why it is important to have a support circle with who you can be open about your sentiments and feelings. It also helps to be in a community where you and other members share a similar interest. Participating in knitting clubs, red hat societies, book forums, and continuing education groups can strongly contribute to your physical and mental wellbeing.
3. Find a new hobby.
It is easy to be a couch potato or read the newspaper the entire day but it will make a huge difference in your well-being if you can do something really worth your time and effort. To be truly happy, you need to look forward to something each day. Only a new hobby can take your eyes off the television screen. A new hobby can certainly reawaken your cognitive and creative abilities. They can also rekindle the spark in you. There are plenty of activities you can try like pottery, painting or even gardening. Activities like such do not require much effort but still demonstrate your progression and improvement.
4. Do some brain workouts.
Cognitive decline is rampant in older adults and this can be avoided by ensuring you reinforce, practice, and somehow apply your knowledge. The reality is that skills do tarnish when you rarely use them. You can do mind exercises, challenges, or puzzles. These activities boost happiness by ensuring your brain is engaged and stimulated in such a way that reduces weariness, boredom, and age-related cognitive decline. Older techie adults can also lean on senior-friendly mobile apps for playing online word games and crossword puzzles. Putting your brain to work practices your learning, remembering, and thinking skills.
5. Do some real workouts.
Simple and safe exercises contribute to happiness by releasing endorphins, the hormones that allow you to feel good about yourself. Regular body movement includes modified yoga, tai chi, or even dancing. It does not have to be strenuous. Even simple bottle lifting exercises or walking from one end to the other can compensate for this. Physical activities lower the risks of developing age-related conditions and keep your joints and muscles stimulated enough to maintain mobility, balance, and endurance so you can relieve yourself from future aches and pains.
6. Bask in the sun.
Our bodies create vitamin D from direct sunlight when we are exposed to it outdoors. From about late March or early April to the end of September, we should be able to get all the Vitamin D we need from the morning sunlight. A few minutes of exposure can do great benefits. Sun is also known to be a great mood booster so when you are feeling a little down, take a walk or simply sit from your porch and let the sun do its wonders.
7. Give back out of kindness.
Doing good deeds for other people or volunteering can reduce any feelings of depression and can increase psychosocial wellbeing in older adults. This is according to a study in PsychCentral (2014) in which seniors mentioned that feeling valued, appreciated, and needed gave their self-esteem a boost. This worked well especially for those with serious medical conditions. It is not so hard to do since seniors are naturally fond of giving and helping others. The happiness experienced from doing so is called the helper’s high, the wave of positivity following a selfless service. Greater health and increased longevity are known to be the effect of such. It always feels good to do good anyway.
Remember, it is not just enough to live, it is also important to feel alive and happy. Regardless of age, feeling satisfied and fulfilled is equally important as seeing your doctor regularly. Having a positive outlook in life can provide you as an, older adult, more energy, better appetite, and improved quality of life.
Aussy Aportadera is pursuing the unhurried life in the beachside town of La Union, Philippines. After a career in communications and publishing for luxury lifestyle, food, and wine, she is now a yoga teacher and co-owner of a ceramics brand.