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4 ways we get better with age

Older, yes. Wiser, you bet. How about happier too?

Do you tend to think of getting older as a to-be-expected decline? Well, there's plenty of reason to look up. In fact, here's something to keep in mind:

For many people, midlife and beyond may be some of their best years yet. Here are four good reasons why:

1. Optimism helps light the way Research shows that as people grow older they're more likely to have optimistic attitudes than those in younger age groups. They also tend to experience fewer emotional storms — and enjoy greater inner peace.

A tip for the ages: Focus on the positives in your life. One simple way to do this is with gratitude. For example, create a journal to note things you're grateful for — both big and small.

2. Mixing and mingling come easier By midlife, many people feel more confident in social situations — and more comfortable with who they are. And that's a big plus for building relationships, a key to healthy aging. When you have people you can turn to for support and companionship, it can be a buffer against feeling lonely or depressed.

A tip for the ages: Reach out to family and friends regularly. And make an effort to make new pals. Volunteering in your community is a great way to meet people. And you can feel good about what you're doing too.

3. Wisdom grows with time After decades of experience, many people find they're better at:

  • Adapting to career and life changes
  • Coping with a crisis
  • Making good financial decisions

A tip for the ages: Let your years boost your confidence. When faced with challenges, remind yourself of all you've managed in the past. And consider sharing your experience by being a mentor.

4. Curiosity is ageless Learning new things can be revitalizing — and help keep your brain and memory sharp. Maybe that's building furniture, starting a blog, studying a new language or taking up salsa dancing.* And if you have kids, they may be more independent now. That may mean you have more free time for new pursuits too.

A tip for the ages: You may find that your interests and preferences change over time. So be open to new endeavors that may be worth a try.

What to do next

Set your sights on brighter days ahead. Envision the future you want with these 7 strategies for setting and working toward goalsOpens a new window.

*Talk with your doctor before significantly increasing your activity level. 

Taking charge of your health

To truly enjoy the years ahead, you want to be in the best health possible. So working with your doctor is more important than ever. He or she can help you with:

  • Healthy habits. Your doctor is your best resource for advice about your diet, exercise routine and other ways to stay well. 
  • Immunizations. For most everyone, a yearly flu vaccine is a must. Also ask what other vaccines you may need.
  • Screenings. Make sure you’re up to date on the tests your doctor recommends for you. Screenings can help you prevent problems or catch them sooner, when they may be easier to treat.

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