Are you Trapped in Age Obsession?
Did you know that if you’re a woman over 40, you might disappear? I recently read this article from Beauty Redefined, a non-profit dedicated to promoting positive body images to women. Among the many eye-opening statistics was this one: “A whopping 62 percent of the female population of the U.S. is over 40. But get this: Older men appear as much as 10 times more frequently than older women in media.”
With fewer role models, it’s no wonder that many women over 40 feel that the world revolves around the young. How can we, as older women, nurture a positive mindset that refuses to allow us to be defined by our age? Here’s how to identify age obsession, and 10 things you can do to counter the negative and bring on the positive.
First, identify the core of your obsession.
Examine your triggers. Your fear of aging may be defined by the changes in your mirror’s reflection. It may become more profound after you go shopping, or spend a couple of hours on social media. Maybe you’re listening to “tapes” in your head, where someone else’s negative script becomes yours. Once you identify the triggers, you can find the tools that help you shake your age obsession from the core.
Love yourself and stay healthy
Practice self-care: exercise and healthy eating will nurture your body, which will fuel a positive mindset. Do a deep examination of what makes you feel healthy. If dying your hair is an expression of your self-love, do it, and don’t let someone else’s opinion slow your feel-good roll.
Join a group of women your age and get involved in shared experiences. It can be a yoga class, book club, Bunco group, or whatever activity you enjoy. Create a support system that will love you back and keep you from feeling isolated.
Connect with your spirituality
Tap into your faith. Meditate, pray, chant, or sing: do whatever makes you feel connected to your higher power. It will help you stay centered and serene.
Spend time in nature
Sit outside and take some deep breaths. Walk barefoot in the grass to feel grounded. Reconnecting with nature can bring you back to your elemental self.
Prepare your legacy
You can’t control the future, but pre-planning may make you feel more secure. Recent research suggests that clearing your home of clutter can do the same thing for your mind, so tackle your home one drawer at a time. If it helps, make lists of what you need to do to plan for the future, but don’t hold yourself hostage to your “to-do” list.
Find your outlet. Write, dance, or sing! Learning is growth, so take that class or go on that trip. Your mind will become more agile as you learn how to do new things.
Stop using age as a deadline
Stop using the phrase, “By the time I’m 50 I’m going to…” It’s good to set goals, but life throws us variables. If 50 comes and goes and you haven’t accomplished your goal—that’s okay. Deal with what’s in front of you, and keep working on your goal.
See each day as a gift and an opportunity
Speaking of life’s variables, you may have days where you feel like you “just don’t get as many things done as I did when I was younger.” Start the day thinking of the next 24 hours as an opportunity for growth and learning, which is a more positive and healthy mindset.
Do what makes you happy
Sometimes life feels like a duty march. Stop and identify what you want to do versus what you have to do, and make sure that you have a healthy balance between what’s necessary to live and what is simply pleasurable.
Set time limits on your social media browsing. Odds are good that the images you see on Instagram and Facebook have been edited (hello, Photoshop!) Don’t let a youth-centered marketing strategy dictate your self-image.