4 Tips for Living Your Best Life at Any Age
American essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson believed the secret to life was “everyday conquering some fear.” African author Lailah Gifty Akita said it was “knowing what you want and asking for it.” So maybe there is not a single secret to life, but instead several keys to leading your best life whether young or old. With that in mind, here are four tips to living a happy and healthy life at any age.
1. Make Yourself Uncomfortable
It’s said that those who are young lack confidence and those who are older lack energy — whatever the reason, if we stop taking risks and allow ourselves to get too comfortable, we stop growing. Continuing on with the same routine, the same methods, and the same beliefs that we have always held is a recipe for stagnation. Some of life’s best experiences begin with being a little uncomfortable.
For example, speaking in public for the first time is frightening, but you might find you enjoy it and want to do it again. Auditioning for a play, scaling a mountain, quitting your day job to pursue a dream, learning a new skill, even making new friends — all of these experiences are uncomfortable in the beginning but following through with them can mean learning more about yourself and enriching your life. Summoning the confidence and energy to take even a little risk can keep you feeling young and loving life.
2. Take (Preventative) Care of Your Health
If your best life has taken you into your 50s and 60s, you already know that a little prevention goes a long way. For those in their 20s and 30s, you are never too young to start a preventative care regime. Commit to keeping up with health care and screenings suggested for your age. For youths, this means vaccinations and for advanced age this means screenings for certain diseases. Develop a plan with your doctor and stick to it. This may not sound like a particularly fun secret to life, but if you want to enjoy the life you have, taking care of your health has to be a priority. Make a game out of preventative care by rewarding yourself for keeping your doctor’s appointments and celebrating clean screenings. If you give yourself something to look forward to, you’ll be more willing to keep those appointments.
Preventative care can only do so much, though, so it’s also especially important for those 65 and older to have proper medical and dental coverage in order to maintain a happy and healthy lifestyle. In 2018 alone, there were more than 300,000 hip replacement surgeries completed in the U.S., according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. So where prevention ends, insurance comes in.
3. Practice Gratitude
Most people understand the importance of being grateful; it’s just difficult to remember to do so in the hubbub of the daily grind. For that reason, practicing gratitude begins with practicing mindfulness.
As a daily ritual, sit down and focus on at least five things you are truly grateful for. Maybe it’s your family, your job, your friends, future opportunities, or past experiences that bring you gratitude. It’s the sitting that is key here — your body needs to experience the feeling of gratitude as your mind visualizes that which makes you grateful. Completing this activity every day can actually train your brain to be more grateful naturally. The truth is you already have a stellar life; the key is to remember that.
4. Have Safe, Consensual Sex
Sex is a natural and important fact of life. A sound and healthy adult sex life has been linked to improved self confidence and even prolonged life for seniors. The Concord Health and Ageing in Men Project conducted a study that found a lack of sexual activity in men aged 70 and older actually predicted a faster mortality rate.
But just because you live longer doesn’t mean that you are suddenly immune to sexually transmitted diseases. Use protection at any age, receive testing for STDs, and discuss your personal risk factors with your physician.
Despite what Emerson and Akita say, there’s likely not a single secret to life, but sex, gratitude, preventative health care and taking risks that make you uncomfortable can certainly go a long way in helping you live your best life.