Dixie recently wrote a post about positive aging being a state of mind. Well, yes, and a new study out of the University of California suggests that she’s right and that resilience may be the key to positive aging.
- Older adults with health problems but high resilience – the ability to bounce back from negative events – rated their degree of successful aging just as highly as those without health problems.
- Even those who had struggled with cancer, heart disease, and a range of other problems, but didn’t suffer from depression, rated their degree of successful aging quite highly.
This new information confirms earlier studies that show seniors with very positive outlooks about aging. Happiness tends to dip during middle age but rises again by about the age of 60. That’s good news for those of us in this time of life.
“Perfect physical health is neither necessary not sufficient,” said the study’s lead investigator Dilip V. Jeste, geriatric psychiatrist, “There is potential for enhancing successful aging by fostering resilience and treating depression.”
How to build resilience
A wonderful article from the American Psychological Association offers ten great ways to increase resilience. Click here for the full text of that article.
- Make connections with others. Mind your relationships with family and friends. Helping others helps you. Go to church or join a civic organization. They provide social support.
- Re-frame the way you see problems. You can’t keep bad things from happening. They happen to everybody, but you can change the way you look at them.
- Accept change. The old saying, “Nothing stays the same except change” is really true. Alter what we can and let the rest go. I’ve got a plan for when I can no longer play tennis. I’m going to take up bocce ball!
- Keep making and moving toward your goals. They might be different goals than we had when we were 25, but we still have them and we can work at them every day.
- Take action. Don’t just wish your problems would go away. Do something decisive to make your life be the way you want.
- Keep discovering yourself. Sometimes what we learn from problems and loss serves to make us stronger and more appreciative of life.
- Think positively about yourself and trust that you can solve problems.
- Keep things in perspective. Try to take the long view.
- Take care of yourself. Participate in activities you enjoy. Be kind to yourself.
- Seek spirituality. There are many ways to do it. Meditate. Journal. Search for that something larger than we are.
How are you building your own resilience? We’d love to share your experience with our readers. Please leave a comment.