November 22

Optimistic Aging

Enjoy this selection from our Goddess Living Community.  A community of women committed to empowering each other, elevating the value of the feminine and diversity in our culture, while building a network of inspiring and powerful sisters of many backgrounds.

Optimistic Aging
By Dr. Margit Henderson

On a recent Goddess Talk, guest speaker Dr. Margit Henderson shared with us some highlights of her award winning book Optimistic Aging: from Midlife to the Good Life.  Margit Henderson, Ph.D. is a psychologist, professional speaker and award-winning author.Her energetic presentation and discussion helped us debunk aging myths and illuminate what we can do now to thrive in the elder or wise woman stage of living. She helped transform our concerns about aging into excitement about the future!

Some highlights are ....

We, by default, see the future as “Over the Hill”. With all the jokes, cards and funny skits, there is a cost … specifically that the idea of aging is only about declining. Declining in mental and physical ability and for women especially, declining attractiveness. All of these messages, while often funny, create an image of aging that makes it hard to be optimistic about. Aging, and the decline that comes with it, seems inevitable, this leads to a kind of passivity and apathy.

What we can do about it … 

The MOST impactful thing you can do, to add years to your life, is to have an optimistic outlook! Dr. Margit cited a few studies that have shown that while many things can improve our aging processes such as taking care of your physical body and mental acuity, the thing that adds the most years is an optimistic outlook … about 7 years worth!! 

Build a supportive community. Maintain connections and activities with supportive friends and family. Dr. Margit identified supportive friends are the ones that celebrate and rejoice (without envy) in your triumphs. Maintaining these connections is vital to our health and wellbeing. 

Move Your Body.  Regularly move your body in whatever ways are fun and accessible to you. While those regular pilates classes and long walks are definitely a good thing, just wiggling your limbs regularly throughout the day works too! 

Exercise your brain. More than just doing crossword puzzles; do and learn about new things.  When we learn new things, we are literally exercising our brain; creating new neural pathways and adding myelin. Both are needed to keep our brains working at optimal levels.  Just like with our physical body, if we don’t use it we lose it! 

Dr Margit Henderson’s Book Optimistic Aging: from Midlife to the Good Life challenges us to look differently at the aging process. 

What most people think of as the inevitable effects of aging are the result of unhealthy lifestyle choices and are preventable. Midlife is the ideal time to build healthy habits that will improve your life now and enable you to be at your best. Use this easy-to-read book as a tool to customize your plan for aging well.

Download a free chapter or to purchase the book directly from Dr. Margit.

Some interesting and important background ...

Did you know, that by 2050, the percentage of the World’s population over 60 is projected to almost double the highest percent ever recorded. 

This has big and far reaching impacts on how society functions and thrives. Because of this the WHO has declared aging as one of the most important issues of our time.  Read on to find out about this declaration and what is being done to elevate the thriving of aging populations. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) approach to healthy aging

“The aging of the global population is the most important medical and social demographic problem worldwide.”  
“The World Health Organization (WHO) has defined healthy aging as a process of maintaining functional ability to enable wellbeing in older age. The WHO, Member States and Partners for Sustainable Development Goals have created a Global Strategy and Action Plan for Aging and Health for 2016–2020 and its continuation with the WHO programme The Decade of Healthy Aging 2020–2030.”

Read the full declaration Here 

The Decade of Healthy Aging

Check out how the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has declared 2021-2030 as the The Decade of Healthy Aging

“Even though individuals are living longer it does not mean that they are living with better health and having their needs met.”
“Understanding the implications of the current demographic shift, as well as the epidemiological transition, is crucial to societies to be prepared to serve an aged population. In the Region of the Americas, it is even more important as the aging of the population happens rapidly with many misconceptions.”

Read all about it Here