In recent decades, the world has developed an obsession with our physical health. Scientists research diseases and come up with various treatments to cure people. While we still have a lot to discover, these advances in science and medicine mean that average life expectancy has increased quite a bit in the last year. However, in all these improvements we have forgotten something very important: the well-being of older adults. Given that we live longer, isn’t it a good thing to make sure that this extra time is of high quality? Read on to learn how to optimize your mental health at this stage of life.
The role of self-acceptance and autonomy in the well-being of older adults
A fundamental factor in the well-being of older adults is self-acceptance. But what exactly does that mean? Self-acceptance is the knowledge and acceptance of your positive and negative sides. It is important to maintain a positive attitude towards yourself. Seeing yourself in a positive light means better, more stable mental well-being.
Older adults with low levels of self-acceptance are often unhappy with themselves. They don’t want to be themselves. They also often see their past in a negative way and often worry about what could have been. But older adults who accept themselves as who they are also accept their past.
Autonomy also plays an important role in the health and happiness of older adults. When we use the word ‘autonomy’ we are talking about the ability to act according to one’s own standards and values. Through autonomy, older people can withstand social pressure and are less dependent on others when making decisions.
Set your sights on the future
Your goals give direction to your life. When you reach a certain age, the search for that which gives your life meaning serves as your motivation to keep going. It also helps you deal with life commitments and more difficult times that may result.
When it comes to life goals, there is another factor that influences the well-being of older adults: personal growth. This includes being open to new experiences and developing your positive qualities. In other words, it is the ability to grow and continue to evolve. We do this by challenging ourselves and constantly setting new goals.
This desire to grow also means that you are thinking about the future. This also motivates you to develop new attitudes and skills. Another positive side effect of this desire is that it keeps the skills you already possess sharp. You may even feel motivated to refine it even further.
Relationships and being in control of your life
Finally, we mention a few other factors that play a role in the well-being of older adults. They are both — there are two of them — related to your personal environment. The first relates to relationships with others and the second involves having control over your environment.
Having stable, intimate and fulfilling relationships at this stage of life is crucial to developing a social network — with all its benefits. In fact, people who have a lot of support are often very empathetic. They show that they care about the well-being of others. They also often trust people fairly easily and are seen as warm and open-hearted people. This already makes it a lot easier to build strong, long-lasting relationships.
Finally, we would like to point out that older adults should exercise a certain amount of control over their environments. Being in control of what your life looks like is important. People who feel they have a positive influence on their environment will feel safer and happier than those who don’t .
The above photos are owned by Nick Karvounis, Fabrizio Verrecchia and Roya Ann Miller.