How to Cope with Anxiety About Aging as a Stage of Life
It is normal and expected to feel anxious about aging. As we grow older, it’s only natural to feel stressed when you consider your own mortality. At times, you may worry that people will treat you differently, or even neglect to pay attention to you when you no longer look young.
The thought of aging can bring up all sorts of worries. You might fear losing loved ones as you get older, being unable to do the activities you love, or getting sick.
Yet in the process of aging, we can also experience more beautiful moments. With people living longer than ever, many seniors are challenging negative perceptions about what it means to grow older. If you feel yourself growing anxious over the thought of aging, here are a few things to consider that might shift your perspective.
Remember Aging is a Privilege
Not everyone gets to grow older. When we think about all the problems that can accompany aging, especially in terms of our health, it can be difficult to keep in mind that aging is actually a privilege.
Aging means more time to spend with your loved ones, more opportunities to keep learning about the world, and more chances to discover new activities and hobbies that you can continue doing no matter how old you are. Yes, as our bodies change, we may need to adapt to our activities, but our golden years are ultimately what we make of them.
Finding Things to Look Forward To
When you think about aging, your mind might immediately turn to the negative. You can end up dwelling on aspects of aging that you dread. For example, no one looks forward to slowing down physically, dealing with illness or injury, or thinking about mortality.
These are all simply aspects of life that we all have to contend with at some point or another. However, there are things about aging that you can look forward to as well. Seeing the young people in your life grow up, retiring, trying things you didn’t have the time to do during your working years, and allowing yourself to enjoy the simple things in life are all positive aspects of aging.
Consider Your New Role
As you grow older, you take on new roles. When you were young, you needed role models and mentors to look up to. Now, you can be a mentor for younger people. You never know who might benefit from hearing the wisdom you’ve accumulated over the years.
By helping out the young people in your life, you can pass on your time-tested knowledge. Creating a legacy can be a valuable experience.
Care for Your Health
What if most of your anxieties about aging are rooted in concerns for your physical health? You can start taking steps now to prioritize your health. For example, if you don’t already have a fitness routine, you may want to start gradually incorporating appropriate exercises to your daily life.
If you have a tendency to indulge in sweets or processed foods, gradually shifting towards more mindful eating and reducing the amount of indulgences can help. A lifestyle based on whole foods and home-cooked meals is a good choice. You could also try adopting some hobbies that will benefit your physical and mental health, like yoga.
Adjust Your Priorities
Finally, thinking about what you really prioritize can help you better prepare for aging. If you’re worried about feeling lonely as you get older, this might be a sign that it is time to start strengthening your relationships and connections with your friends and family.
If you worry you won’t have anything to do in retirement, consider picking up some hobbies that keep you busy and maintain your mental and physical dexterity, like reading or crafting. You can embrace your golden years with the right outlook.
Are you struggling with anxiety over aging? Talking to a therapist can help. Reach out to us today to discuss your options for scheduling your first session.