One of the benefits of being older is that we’re wiser. Our life experiences have made us experts in myriad ways: socially, intellectually, practically, and spiritually.
More frequently, with the upheaval of the last multiple years, we’re getting more beat down and becoming experts in negativity and skepticism about what affects our brighter future. Our social gatherings seem to center, to an increasing degree, on complaining and lamenting all the reasons to experience unhappiness.
It feels to me that more of our social time is spent complaining about the bad weather, the need to wear masks, why everything is crowded, empty, or out of date. It’s really more than that! We’re solidifying the negativity habits that keep us feeling unhappy and scared when we think we’re just mirroring what we see and hear from those in our families and social circles.
A future filled with joy and happiness is not only ‘out there,’ it’s available to you today. We don’t always have control as we age, but we do have choices in how we deal with aging.
Experiencing joy is up to you!
Here are four ways to increase joy right now:
- Change your attitude. We have all heard the famous saying, “Life is 10% what happens and 90% how you react to it.” In life, attitude is everything; it is what shapes our beliefs and our desires. How we survive the difficult times depends entirely on our attitude. What can you do now to improve your attitude? A small shift to consciously move from the negative to the more uplifting can be huge.
- Take action to fight melancholy. Pain can toughen us up and can cause us to go deep into our emotions to find ways to cope. When you feel despair, don’t give up and give in. Find something, preferably something healthy, to help you cope with emotional or physical pain. Moving outside yourself to give to others (volunteering, taking care of grandkids, etc.) can go a long way to dilute feelings of gloom.
- Forgive yourself. It does no good to continue to beat yourself up about poor decisions made earlier in life (or even those choices made yesterday!). Learn from your mistakes and move on, especially now that your later years can be more productive by letting go and focusing on other ways to be authentic in the world.
- Stop with the stories. So many of us either know people who tell the same old stories of hardship or are one of those individuals ourselves. Sometimes we have “social contests” with friends about who has suffered the most. While these stories are true happenings, it’s best to train ourselves and encourage others to train themselves in stories of resilience and growth. You are what you say you are.
Everything you need to be happy is in front of you right now. Why not turn unhappiness around and experience a greater sense of joy and fulfillment? Today.