Do You Need an Attitude Change?
A lot of research has been done on how our culture feels about aging, but some of the newest research is looking more specifically at how our individual attitudes about aging can impact our personal health. For instance, you can easily go online and find articles such as: “Older People Become What They Think” (Stanford Center on Longevity) or “To Age Well, Change How You Feel About Aging” (Wall Street Journal, Oct. 2015).
In this last article by WSJ reporter, Anne Tergesen, she reports, “In test after test, researchers are finding that if we think about getting older in terms of decline or disability, our health likely will suffer. If, on the other hand, we see aging in terms of opportunity and growth, our bodies respond in kind.”
In a Gallup telephone survey of more than 85,000 adults it was discovered that in terms of: 1.) having supportive relationships and love, 2.) liking where they lived, feeling safe, and taking pride in their community, 3.) managing finances to reduce stress and increase security, and 4.) having good health and enough energy to get things done daily, older adults reported a better quality of life than younger adults.
In research across 26 different cultures, while there was consensus that healthy aging includes predictable physical changes, there was also “perceived increases in wisdom, knowledge, and received respect, and perceived stability in family authority and life satisfaction”. (National Institute of Health)
So what does all this research have to do with how we live as aging Christians? It challenges you and me to look at how our attitudes about aging might be impacting the quality of our lives. Are we wasting any aspect of our lives; our time, our energy, our relationships, or even our capacity to serve God? Are we hiding or shirking responsibility for what we could be accomplishing? Are we living with fear or anger that is an unnecessary reaction to a natural biological process? Are we living fully and embracing the benefits of aging?
I pray that you and I may recognize and celebrate the gifts of aging and that those of us that have been fortunate enough to live beyond middle-age (whatever that is) may be good stewards of all of our days.
In His Love, Vicki