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Why aging isn't all doom and gloom - Aging on Nautilus

We get wiser with age

Studies have shown that older people are better able to control their emotions; they know themselves better, make better decisions that require experience, and have more compassion and empathy toward other people.

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Why aging isn't all doom and gloom - Aging on Nautilus

Why aging isn't all doom and gloom - Aging on Nautilus

http://aging.nautil.us/feature/260/yes-you-get-wiser-with-age

aging.nautil.us

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Key Ideas

Three domains of aging

  • Physical: Most people think of aging only as physical aging.
  • Cognitive: After middle age, around 60, memory and other abilities decline.
  • Psychosocial: It includes things like well-being, happiness, quality of life, control of emotions, socialization.

Successful aging refers to better well-being and greater happiness, even thriving and flourishing.

Aging and stress

In older age, there is more stress caused by problems like physical illness, the deaths of dear ones, financial problems, retirement, and loss of a sense of purpose.

What matters is how you respond to that stress. With age, although there is a decline in physical health and cognitive function, psychosocial functioning progressively improves. Older people handle stress much better than someone in their 20s and 30s.

We get wiser with age

Studies have shown that older people are better able to control their emotions; they know themselves better, make better decisions that require experience, and have more compassion and empathy toward other people.

Strategies for successful aging

There are strategies for successful physical, cognitive, and psychosocial aging that will make you happier. They include:

  • Calorie restriction
  • Physical activity
  • Keeping your brain active by doing something that is reasonably challenging.
  • Socializing
  • Attitude and behavior
  • Optimism
  • Compassion
  • Volunteering activities

Focus on prevention

Keeping a healthy diet, doing regular physical activity, keeping your brain active, and social engagement all need to happen from early childhood. If we focus on these things from early on, the prevalence of many diseases will go down.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Getting wiser with age

Some things do get better with age: the ability to make decisions, control emotions, and have compassion for others.

The challenge to aging well is to be an optimist, resilient and pro...

3 Components of Aging
  • Physical;
  • Cognitive - when memory and other abilities decline;
  • Psycho-social:  includes things like well-being, happiness, quality of life, control of emotions, socialization.

Successful aging mainly refers to better well-being, greater happiness, and not just arriving at old age, but thriving and even flourishing.

Strategies for successful aging
  • Calorie restriction
  • Physical activity
  • Keeping your brain active: do something that is somewhat challenging. Not too stressful, but somewhat challenging. 
  • An appropriate degree of socializing
  • Attitude and behavior: resilience, optimism, compassion, doing things for others, volunteering activities.
  • Other strategies like meditation for reducing stress.  

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Learning Slows Down with Age
Learning Slows Down with Age

Most aspects of mental processing slow down as we age. While we continue to accumulate knowledge of the world at a slower rate, we gain more experience that increases our wisdom.

Our minds tend to grow worse

Researchers disagree in their hypotheses about how our minds tend to get worse with age. What can be observed is the following:

  • Older individuals do struggle more with Stroop tasks, where an automatic habit needs to be overridden by instructions.
  • Older individuals have a harder time with multitasking.
  • Older people find it difficult to bind information that occurs in a combined context. It impacts their ability to remember life events.

However, older people seem to be better at emotional regulation.

Cognitive Reserve

Some people seem to age mostly with minds intact and others notice dramatic slowdowns. The brain appears to have a lot of redundancy built-in - known as cognitive reserve.

Education seems to have a protective effect on aging, possibly because education contributes to cognitive reserve.

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Lifestyle choices influence how you age

Adopting specific lifestyle behaviors can have a tangible effect on how well you age: activities like learning a new language, playing a musical instrument, taking part in aerobic exercise, and dev...

Aging process and cognitive decline

As time passes, there is a build-up of toxins in the brain that correlate to the aging process of cognitive decline. Although this is a natural part of growing older, many factors can exacerbate it. Stress, neurotoxins such as alcohol and lack of (quality and quantity) sleep can speed up the process.

Neuroplasticity

The key to resilient aging is improving neurogenesis, the birth of new neurons. 

This activity occurs in the hippocampus, the part of the brain that lays down memories. And we respond to and store new experiences every day, and cement them during sleep. The more we can experience new activities, people, places, and emotions, the more likely we are to encourage neurogenesis.

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