(Live more powerfully and joyfully, and change your life for the better with Live Well, Die Happy
.)Instead of fearing the realities of aging, accept them.
Growing older comes with some unpleasant truths. “People you love will die, and you will die someday, too,” says Brandt. “No amount of ruminating will change that.” Yet fear of the unknown and of death often keeps people from aging mindfully. “If you’re preoccupied with what comes next, you can’t enjoy the present moment,” she says. Instead of obsessing about something you can’t control (like being mortal), make peace with it and shift your focus to what is controllable—specifically, what to do with your remaining time on this planet. (Grief can overtake your life. Here are 3 alternative therapies that can help heal your grief.)
If your anxious mind is racing so much that you can only concentrate on the downsides of aging, try an app like Calm. It features breathing exercises, as well as seven-day “meditation journeys,” which may help you get a handle on your nerves.
Learn to let go.
We all cling to things—bad memories, frenemies we really don’t benefit from having in our lives, even too much stuff lying around the house. “To make room for new experiences, you have to let go of the emotional weight of old ones that don’t help you anymore,” says Brandt.
Whether you desperately need to declutter or are feeling guilty about ditching an old friend who no longer brings you joy, start the letting go process by acknowledging that at one time the person, place, or thing in question did serve you, but now it’s time to move on. Better yet, write that all down: Research finds that expressive writing—and coming to terms with your emotions via pen and paper—can be therapeutic.
Create a vision for the rest of your life.
Taking full advantage of your time starts with knowing yourself well enough to figure out how to spend the remainder of your life, says Brandt. To find out what you truly love, think about what your perfect life would look like if you didn’t have obstacles such as financial constraints or work or family obligations in your way. Would you travel (like to these ultimate bucket list locations), finally perfect your cooking skills, or pick up and relocate?