Ever look in a mirror and wonder who is that person staring back at you with wrinkles and gray hair? Aging is as real as it gets! The Black elderly population represents the largest minority group among the aged. So, if you have a fear of getting old, then you are certainly not by yourself!
Gerascophobia or the fear of aging can stem from a laundry list of concerns from vanity to health to the fear of being alone and forgotten. According to clinicians, aging fears are a common anxiety that tends to come on when seasoned folks are bombarded with youth-centered ads. It can also come on when you feel you are not keeping up with the changing times or those wrinkle creams somehow stop working.
There are a few things you can do to accept aging gracefully, calmly.
Take self-loving action. Loving yourself should be unconditional. Taking self-loving action is essential for loving yourself. The action can be physical, like eating healthier or exercising. The action might be opening yourself up to learning, stepping away from someone’s negativity, changing jobs, getting more training, or even retiring. Helping others is also a self-loving action that can lead to plenty of self-gratification and fulfillment.
Live in the present. Don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself! If you want to start living in the present moment, you need to let go of how you think things should be and accept them for what they are. You cannot control everything that happens around you; sometimes, life is going to be different than how you want it to be. Practicing acceptance will help you let go of the things in your life that are out of your control.
Surround yourself with positive folks. Hang with people who create good in the world. Positive people will influence your mood, worldview, and expectations. Positive, inspirational people will inspire you to be the best version of yourself. Those who are negative and narrow-minded will only encourage you to be negative. The world is full of brilliant plans and successful people. These people will motivate you to act on your dreams. They will encourage you to set goals and work hard to reach them. They will inspire you to create your own happiness. So, surround yourself with people who will make you happy. By doing so, you’ll have a more enjoyable and rewarding life.
Live with gratitude. Living your life with gratitude helps you notice the little daily wins—like experiencing a random act of kindness by a stranger, getting a loving hug from your grand, or seeing the sunshine through your window when you wake up in the morning. These moments string together to create a web of well-being that, over time, strengthens your ability to be grateful and to notice the good. According to Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founding father of mindfulness-based stress reduction, “The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little.” Saying thank you, holding the door for someone, telling folks to have a great day, these little moments can change your daily tone. One of the most powerful ways to rewire your brain for more joy and less stress is to focus on gratitude.
Make every moment count. Too many of us are guilty of spinning our wheels constantly trying to be better, work harder, and take on more projects. And in doing that, we often allow special, quiet moments to slip right by us, unnoticed. Making sure you take time for yourself means: slowing down long enough to plant a flower garden, creating a piece of artwork, indulging in a Netflix binge, or even just walking through a local park. When you set aside moments to slow down and spend time with yourself, you’re making moments count. You’re acknowledging that personal moments can fuel you with energy, creativity, and a desire to reflect.
Accept your aging process. Aging does not mean your life has ended. There’s beauty to be found at every stage of life. Everyone has a different way of defining beauty and finding vibrancy at any age. But beyond physical beauty, there’s beauty in living. Living your life in a way that brings you contentment and fulfillment tends to get better as you get older. With age comes the understanding of who you are and what you stand for.
Realize that aging is liberating. When you can accept the natural order of our life cycle, you can become more at ease with the aging process. Living a life well-lived helps you accept the next phase in your life at whatever age you may be.