A positive mindset can make all the difference to our experiences of life, and this also applies to adopting an optimistic mindset to getting older, with a 2019 PNAS study showing that positive thinking can result in a 11-15% longer lifespan and a stronger likelihood of living to age 85 or older. It also discovered a link between positive thinking and resilience to illness; positivity reduces stress, thereby cutting the chances of developing chronic diseases or disorders.
So, optimism is a potent tool. But, in our ‘anti-age’ society, how can we harness its power to feel better about getting older?
It’s not all downhill from here: Shift your perception
When we are young we spend a lot of time excitedly anticipating our futures. We daydream and plan about how we want our lives to look as we get older. The world is our oyster. But do we do the same after midlife? Or is there often an unspoken expectation that nothing much really happens once the years build up?
Let yourself dream big dreams for the second half of your life. Look forward to it. You may decide to change career, or take a trip, or move country, or dye your hair pink. Ask yourself where you want to be and what you need to do to keep life interesting, stimulating, evolving.
Age is not the enemy
The PNAS study also found that those who had a positive outlook on ageing when they were younger and didn’t dread the ageing process had a greater chance of living longer. Across the world, cultures tend to fall into two camps on ageing: those who revere their elders for their wisdom and experience and those cultures who worship youth above all.
Not surprisingly, people living in a culture that respects their elders have a more positive attitude towards ageing. For the second group, ageing is treated as something to try to reverse, a disease that needs curing. For those of us living in the second group, it’s no wonder we struggle with the idea of getting older when the attitude that it’s undesirable is hardwired into our psyche.
We need to retrain ourselves to see the great things that ageing brings such as experience, knowing yourself… and longer to spend life living.
Age Without Apology
Here at Willowberry we want you to be able to Age Without Apology. We don’t tell you to be ‘anti-age’, we don’t tell you that you need to halt or hide the signs of age on your faces. There is absolutely nothing wrong with getting older. It is normal. Everyone in the world is getting older every day!
Society has long ingrained in our minds that getting older is a bad thing and we are working to change that with our Age Without Apology Pledge. Our latest beauty shoot featured women aged 37-76, our regular Age Without Apology Instagram Live Interviews are a series of life-affirming conversations with women of all ages, and our Willowberry skincare products help you to have your best skin, whatever your age.
Age = Liberation
Many of the women we’ve spoken to on our Instagram Live interviews feel that one of the greatest benefits of getting older is not caring so much what other people think. No longer saddled with having to conform to be accepted by your peer group means you can embrace your true self. Living life on your own terms is a huge part of nurturing your positive mindset because following your own path will always take you in the right direction for you, even if it doesn’t always go to plan.
Pay it forward
Think about how you talk about age and what effect that might have on those around you, especially younger people. Making small changes in how you project your feelings about age into the world can have a ripple effect, changing the mindset on age for future generations.
Think too about ways in which you can help others, maybe by volunteering or teaching, passing on your skills, wisdom and experience. Illuminating the world around you by sharing lessons learnt helps spread portray a better representation of age.
Invite positivity in
At the end of each day, think of something good that has happened and something you are looking forward to. You don’t need to write it down, although journaling is a process that many people find helps them to gain perspective. Even just lying in bed thinking it can help. And as a general rule, don’t focus on what you can’t do, get excited about what you can do.
Find your role models
A recent cover line on The Sunday Times Style magazine proclaimed: “Big Earrings! Feather Boas! What To Wear When You’re 100”. The article showcased the collaboration between high street retailer H&M and 100-year-old style icon Iris Apfel. We love Iris Apfel and there are many more fabulous older women out there to inspire you! Surround yourself with positive role models of older women to help you super-charge your journey. We have gathered some of our favourites together here, here and here.
Yes, youth is amazing but if you’ve graduated from that life stage then get busy enjoying the anticipation of brighter, bigger, better futures powered by positivity.
Willowberry is nutritious natural skincare for grown-ups, for your best skin.
A favourite with top make-up artists, Willowberry's luxurious award-winning products protect skin’s natural barrier function, to nourish and revive grown-up skin without telling women to be 'anti-ageing'.
As seen in Vogue, Independent, The Telegraph, This Morning and more.