This motivational speaker is less than excited about the aging process. Don’t get me wrong, I love the wisdom that comes with age, but I could do without the wrinkles, wild eyebrow hairs and brain pain from that extra glass of wine. Here’s the good news: Turns out growing older increases levels of overall happiness in most individuals.
In fact, recent studies have shown that positive emotional experiences peak in our mid-60’s to late 70’s, depending on the research. (In a similar vein, one study showed that globally, 46 was the average age when humans are the most unhappy.) Apparently, along with the wrinkles and gray hair comes a perspective on life that brings greater contentment. “When we begin to recognize that our years are limited, we fundamentally change our perspective about life,” according to social psychologist and author Dr. Sonya Lyubomirsky. “The shorter time-horizon motivates us to become more present-oriented and to invest our (relatively limited) time and effort into the things in life that really matter.”
Why wait until your 60’s to reclaim your joy? Shift your perspective now. How?
1. Daily doses of gratitude. Take time to notice and be grateful for all the functions your body automatically does without any effort on your part. For example, when I shift my focus and give appreciation to my eyes allowing me to see the gorgeous sunrise, I’m no longer seeing the fine lines around those same eyes.
2. Daily dose of YOU. Whether it’s 10 minutes tinkling the ivories on a piano, journaling, reading a book chapter, taking a walk or soaking in a tub, be certain to include you in your day. Rather than talk yourself out of YOU time, recognize that YOU time brings more of YOU to all you do for others.
3. Focus on what “got done” rather than what is “undone.” I’ve yet to meet someone who has realistic expectations about what can truly be accomplished in a 24-hour period. Rather than feel dissatisfied and frustrated, why not end the day with a quick review of tasks completed? Please don’t forget to list the mindful conversation you had with a co-worker, the walk with your cherished pet or the dinner created for your family to enjoy together.
After all, I have a sneaking suspicion that in the end, my joy will be remembering the simple, everyday moments that brought a sense of connection with others. Again, why wait?