Monday, March 23, 2009

What You Think About Aging is Crucial

Fact is, what you think about anything is of great importance, because to a significant degree, what you think largely determines your life experience. The idea that you are what you think has been around for millennia. Almost two thousand years ago, Marcus Aurelius wrote, “A man’s life is what his thoughts make of it.” Much more recently, Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “A man is what he thinks about all day long.” Seems obvious, yet how often do you really think about what you think?

It’s an important question, because the difference between seeing various aspects of aging in a positive versus a negative light can be like the difference between heaven and hell. Of course, there are certainly lots of very potentially troubling things that can come with aging, from physical to psychosocial challenges. That’s why reframing negative perceptions in a constructive way is a key ingredient in
Positive Aging. Reframing teaches you that you can control how you think about reality—that you can see negatives more positively or eliminate them altogether.

Of course, reframing doesn’t happen by accident. It takes consistent effort, but it’s worth it when you consider the enhanced quality of life it can bring. If you’re unconvinced, compare your models for positive and negative aging. Do they seem happy and fulfilled or cranky and frustrated? What is it about their lives that makes them that way? Does it have anything to do with the way they perceive reality?

The bottom line question is: What will you choose for yourself? Will you actively embrace the ways of
Positive Aging or drift into a negative way of life? One thing is certain: The choices you make about what you think will color your days, no matter what your age.

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