Genesh: Thoughts at the dawn of a new year

2019 is almost here, ushering in new dreams, hopes, and aspirations. Albertans are getting ready to celebrate the arrival of the new year, putting aside albeit momentarily, the economic downturn, job losses and other misfortunes of the previous year. Everyone has started talking about New Year resolutions and goal-setting.

Are you wondering why you should have New Year resolutions? Then understand that resolutions provide us with a direction and purpose in life, regardless of where we are in our lifecourse.

As older adults, you are privileged to focus on really substantial goals such as having a fuller, more meaningful life, accomplishing items from your bucket list, and so on.

Great philosophers and thinkers say that we are our thoughts, and that positive thoughts attract a positive life. So it is a good time to stop worrying about what challenges 2019 will bring and start thinking positively about how we can pack more life into the New Year.

What can we do to ensure that we are living a full life, while we are here?

Here are some positive thoughts to attract a rewarding and fulfilling 2019.

• Find a purpose in life. Throughout our life we are driven by a sense of purpose. But some of us lose that sense of purpose as we age. Research shows that people who continue to lead a purposeful life enjoy better physical and mental health and have a sense of fulfilment.

• Take ownership of your health, because it is your greatest asset. If you are currently dealing with some age-related health conditions, gather information from reliable sources, work with your healthcare team, and take appropriate action to enable you to live well.

• Strive to keep your brain healthy, by exercising regularly, following a healthy diet, engaging in lifelong learning, socializing with friends, thinking positively, and ensuring that your blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, and body weight are in the normal range.

• Engage fully in life. In some cultures, older individuals completely withdraw from social life after retirement. This voluntary isolation affects physical and mental health.

On the contrary, those who actively engage in life, retaining interest in societal and political events, and entertaining a child-like curiosity are able to ward off depression and dementia and have a positive perception of their health.

• Accept things over which you have no control. Wise elders unanimously say that one of their main regrets in life was that they wasted time worrying about things beyond their control. The majority of seniors have good coping skills, accepting things they cannot change, and are generally content with life.

• Spend some time every day to engage in activities that you really enjoy. Though it sounds clichéd, try to live every day as if it is your last day, finding time to do things that give you joy. Nurture the child within you to make each day vivacious and enjoyable.

• Help others in whatever way you can. Nothing gives you more happiness than the happy smiles of those you have helped.

• The greatest regret in life comes from unfulfilled desires. If there is something that you have always wanted to do, but have been putting away for a later day, such as travelling to different places, now is the time to do it.

• Finally, keep a gratitude journal, and spend a few minutes at the end of the day to note down the persons and situations that have made that day wonderful for you.

Now that you have these positive thoughts for 2019, make a list, and display it in a spot where you can see it every day. Share it with your partner or friend so that they can help you stay focused. Even when situations create negative thoughts in your mind, deliberately replace them with positive thoughts and move on.

I wish you all a very fulfilling and meaningful New Year!

Padmaja Genesh, who holds a bachelor degree in medicine and surgery as well as a bachelor degree in Gerontology, has spent several years teaching and working with health care agencies. A past resident of Red Deer, and a past board member of Red Deer Golden Circle, she is now a Learning Specialist at the Alzheimer Society of Calgary. Please send your comments to padmajaganeshy@yahoo.ca

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