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5 Mindset Shifts That Will Revolutionize How You Approach Aging

There are mindset shifts that will revolutionize how you approach aging. The benefits of adopting these mindset shifts for yourself are significant.

In particular, integrating these five mindset shifts into your daily experience will make you happier and healthier as you get older.

1. Shift Your Mindset from Lifespan to Healthspan

A fundamental shift in thinking about how you age will occur when you start to differentiate between lifespan and healthspan.

We all want to live a long and healthy life, but how many of us do? For many people, their health deteriorates dramatically as they get older. This is the exact opposite of what you want for yourself or your aging loved ones.

Lifespan means the total number of years you will live during this lifetime. Healthspan, however, means the total number of healthy years within which you can experience at least some degree of physical mobility and contentment. Lifespan is about quantity. Healthspan is about quality.

In a perfect aging scenario, you will be healthy right up until the end of your lifespan and then expire relatively quickly. Thinking in this new way will begin to impact the lifestyle choices you make along the way and can contribute to healthier habits.

2. Release the Illusion of Control

Excessive stress, experienced consistently, causes poorer health.

You will exhaust yourself if you try to control absolutely everything within your life.

Why?

Because not everything can be controlled. Your stress levels will immediately lessen when you are able to recognize those aspects of life that are within your nexus of control, and those aspects that are outside your nexus of control.

fit mature couple outdoors experiencing positive mindset shifts toward aging

Within the recovery community, millions of people have benefitted from the serenity affirmation, “grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Do you find yourself worrying about what could happen?

Do you constantly try to change things and make them better for fear of what might happen if you don’t?

Letting go of the illusion of control means giving up the idea that there is only one right way to do things or that things must always go according to plan. It also means allowing yourself to take risks and make mistakes – because those are a part of being human.

3. Begin Each Day with a Firmly Established Positive Thought

Every morning when you awaken, one of your first, clear thoughts of the day can be one of your choosing.

You can make it a habit to start your day with a firmly established positive thought.

 
 

You can choose something about your life – big or small – that you are deciding is a good thing.

Repeat the positive thought in your mind. Next, switch from thinking to feeling.

Feel gratitude for that aspect of your life that is good. Let it feel light and delicious – like a floating, giddy feeling that expands your chest and causes your spine to grow taller.

You can even stand in front of the mirror in the superman pose with an open, confident body language – feet firmly planted, hands on hips, and excellent posture – as you experience the physical sensation of gratitude.

When you start each day with gratitude in this way, you begin to fundamentally realize that even though you can’t have complete control over everything going on in your life, you still have plenty of competencies – and things for which you can feel thankful.

Negativity is a sort of mental prison. The more repetitive your negative thoughts, the more negative circumstances you will unconsciously manifest.

It’s positivity that will, ultimately, give you the greatest sense of freedom.

4. Live to Inspire, Not to Impress

Comparing yourself to others is often an unproductive use of your time and energy.

Live to inspire others, not to impress others or to compare yourself to others. This distinction is an important one. Abraham-Hicks has said, “offering an example of thriving is of tremendous value to those who have the benefit of observing you.”

We are all guilty of wanting to impress people. We want to be liked and we want to be known as the person who has it all together. But in reality, this is usually not a healthy way of living. It’s natural to want to look good in other people’s eyes. But if you’re constantly trying to impress others, you will rarely be happy with yourself.

Here are some tips on how you can do just that:

  • When something bad happens, find the lesson from the situation instead of complaining about it.
  • Instead of comparing yourself with others who are “better off” than you are, compare yourself with yourself from last year or even last month.
  • Avoid waiting until tomorrow to do a secret good deed, because tomorrow may never come.
  • Worry less about what other people think about you because, after all, they’re not perfect either.
  • Understand that you don’t need anyone else’s approval for your life to be fulfilled.

Be wary of any distractions that prevent you from living your best life. You don’t have to worry about things like how many Instagram followers you have, if your hair looks perfect in every selfie, or how many wrinkles your skin has acquired. You’re too busy living your best life and helping others do the same.

5. Shift Your Mindset from Codependence to Interdependence

Each person experiences love slightly differently, and therefore each person has different relational needs. That makes relationships between fellow humans sometimes complicated.

Further complicating human relationships is the fact that – since no childhood or family of origin is completely perfect – many of us grow up developing relationship styles that have less-than-healthy behavior patterns.

It’s simply part of the human experience to sometimes have difficulty in getting our relational needs met in a way that helps us to thrive.

Similarly, it’s sometimes challenging to meet others’ relational needs in a way that helps them to thrive.

In a perfect scenario – whether it’s within a romantic relationship, a friendship, or among colleagues – each person is winning.

Winning in human relationships means that each person is contributing something healthy, and, receiving something healthy.

When it comes to thriving over the age of 50, it’s helpful to understand the mindset of interdependence versus the mindset of codependence:

  • Interdependence is the state of functioning that exists when two or more people have a cooperative relationship and share a common interest or goal.
  • Codependence occurs when an individual relies on a dysfunctional relationship with another person to help fulfill his or her own needs.

The Mindset of Codependence

Codependent people tend to, seemingly, put others’ needs ahead of their own. They might feel that they are responsible for other people’s happiness or that they need to take care of someone else because they don’t think anyone else will do it.

They also might feel like their life is out of balance because they spend so much time taking care of others and not enough time taking care of themselves.

The irony is, though a person behaving codependently thinks of themselves as an “over-giver,” in reality, it’s the behavior pattern of a “taker.”

Why?

Because the emotional pay-off of convincing themselves that they’re a giver is more important than anything else, which is ultimately a selfish position of unconscious victimhood. It’s exhausting for everyone involved, either directly or indirectly.

A codependent person might have low self-esteem and be more concerned with taking care of others than with taking care of themselves.

They might try to solve other people’s problems instead of listening when those people talk about their own concerns or feelings.

It’s as if, by focusing on other people, they can avoid doing the difficult work of their own personal growth.

Codependence is a psychological condition in which one person’s well-being is believed to depend on how another person feels about them and their actions.

Codependence can be found in romantic relationships, but it can also occur between friends or family members. It is when one person loses their sense of self and instead focuses on the needs of another to feel worthwhile.

Codependent individuals often feel helpless and frustrated that they cannot seem to help themselves or others get better. They tend to have difficulty knowing when it’s time for action versus when it’s time for listening.

The Mindset of Interdependence

Interdependence refers to a state in which two or more people or things are connected or dependent on each other in a healthy way.

For example, a single person cannot live without other people and resources, so they are interdependent on the rest of humanity and the planet.

When one person provides support for somebody else’s needs, and another person is not in a position to reciprocate with the same degree of support, there is a dependency relationship, but this is dependent interdependence (not codependence). This dependent-interdependence is also healthy in the sense that it’s a natural part of life. Children, for example, require caretaking and so often do the elderly.

healthy senior couple experience mindset shifts that improve aging

Some people believe that there is no such thing as true independence; all actions have consequences that affect others.

We need each other to survive, whether we are talking about our families or our communities, or even just ourselves. If one part of a system fails, it might still function for a while if another part is working well enough to compensate for what’s missing. But eventually, everything will fail because things are more complicated than they appear on their own.

Interdependence is also important because it helps us understand how interconnected systems work together to create bigger wholes; like how all parts of an ecosystem support each other so all species can thrive; how water flows through streams and lakes into oceans and back again; or how two people’s stories can be told together in one narrative without losing anything from either one.

Say Goodbye to Codependency

Codependency is not a relationship. It’s a behavior.

And it can happen in any relationship. Even ones that seem healthy, even ones where both people are committed to one another.

Codependents are people who often have trouble setting firm boundaries with other people. They have a difficult time understanding that healthy relationships have boundaries. In fact, codependents mistakingly believe that boundaries are the opposite of love.

They also find themselves doing things for others that they wouldn’t do for themselves; like giving money or spending time on someone else’s hobbies or interests instead of focusing on their own passions; and neglecting their own physical and emotional needs in favor of pleasing a partner or family member.

Sometimes codependency looks like selflessness at first glance because it involves putting others first; but in reality, it’s actually selfish because it prevents you from getting what you need out of life and prevents your loved ones from getting what they need out of life too.

Interdependence is about being able to rely on your partner for support and emotional intimacy.

You need to be able to count on them when you’re feeling down, or when you need help with something. But it’s also important that your partner be able to depend on you for things.

It’s not that relationships have to be exactly equal, tit-for-tat; however, from a higher altitude vantage point, a healthy relationship is, overall, equitable.

Codependence is about giving up some of your own needs and wants in favor of pleasing your partner. This can be really nice sometimes. But if it happens too much, it can make you feel like you don’t have any individuality anymore.

The trick here is finding balance: how much independence do we allow ourselves outside our relationship? And how much interdependence do we need inside our relationship? As we age, our relationships change, so it’s important to define the difference between interdependence and codependency.

With Age Comes Wisdom and Mindset Shifts

Making these mindset shifts will help you to approach aging in a more positive and empowered way. No matter how old you are, it’s never too late to make a constructive change within your life.

The reality is that our perception of aging and the way we experience it are all mental constructs.

We can choose to see aging as a burden or as an opportunity for growth, renewal, and learning.

You are the only person who can make you happy. You are the only one who can make your life what you want it to be.

You don’t have to wait for others to validate your choices about life; you can make mindset shifts and accomplish your goals on your own terms, not theirs.

Resources:

Healthspan VS Lifespan – https://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2018/12/07/its-quality-not-quantity-of-life-that-matters/

Layers of Meaning within Life – https://www.theschooloflife.com/article/the-meaning-of-life-2/

Control as an Illusion – https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-the-illusion-of-control-5198406

Science of Gratitude – How it Changes People, Relationships (and Brains!) and How to Make it Work For You – https://www.heysigmund.com/the-science-of-gratitude/

Relationships Based on Interdependence – https://www.verywellmind.com/how-to-build-a-relationship-based-on-interdependence-4161249

Relationship Mindsets – https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/codependency-vs-interdependency/

Facts about Codependent Relationships – https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319873#