Billions of dollars coupled with our world’s most brilliant minds have worked tirelessly for hundreds maybe even thousands of years to find the fountain of youth. The concept of the fountain of youth is heavily sought after as it promises to eliminate common aging maladies (loss of friends and family, higher incidence of disease, a decline in physical/cognitive ability, loss of independence and of course vanity issues) that we all fear of. Over the past century, remarkable medical breakthroughs have been made to expand life expectancy as well as mask the above mentioned aging maladies. However, according to a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal perhaps the most effective way to find the fountain of youth is to simply be happy.
The study indicates that the key to healthy aging is to enjoy life. People that enjoy life tend to be healthier and fitter than unhappy individuals. “The study shows that older people who are happier and enjoy life more show slower declines in physical function as they age,” states Dr. Andrew Steptoe of University College London. The study has particularly gained credibility as researchers were able to take into account one’s current health at the time of the study. “This is not because the happier people are in better health, or younger, or richer, or have more healthy lifestyles at the outset, since even when we take these factors into account, the relationship persists.” So, now that we know happiness is the key to slow aging, how can we improve our chances of being happy?
Going to a bookstore or searching on Amazon, you will no doubt find thousands of copies of books on happiness. While, I have not read them all, I was particularly moved by a documentary movie I watched recently called, Happy. The movie shows people from all over the world with varying socio-economic backgrounds. From this, I assumed that the wealthier and more educated people in the film would be happiest and those with the least resources and education would be the least happy. According to the movie, I was thinking in terms of extrinsic goals. The extrinsic goals of money, image and status are NOT what make us happy. Our intrinsic goals or values are what matter most in achieving happiness. For example the movie preaches us to focus on: personal growth, relationships and your ability/desire to help are what truly make us all happy.
Understanding that happiness is linked to healthier aging, it is critical that we build initiatives to help seniors achieve their intrinsic goals. Our society will benefit in unprecedented ways by helping those achieve the fountain of youth in a more organic way. Whether you are a client, spouse, child or friend Seacrest at Home hopes that our Home Care Associates can help you focus your time and energy on the things in life that make you happy.
For more information on the study, please click the link below.