Expert tips to make life brighter after 50
1. Front-load your day. Over your cup of coffee, or as you lie in bed each morning, ask yourself: “What do I want to insert into this day to make it good?” Learning to do this routinely changed her daily life, helping her to prioritize fun: “A lot of people make a to-do list for their chores. If we are over-scheduled and rushing, everything becomes one more chore. But you can sit down for a minute and ask yourself, ‘What do I really feel like doing in this moment?’” From there, she says, the trick is seizing the time to do what you want — ideally, as soon as possible.
2. See the morning light. Th e morning itself can play a critical role in setting us up for a more positive outlook. Specifically, she recommends making a goal of getting out in the early a.m. sun. Sunlight, along with fueling bone growth and strengthening the immune system, improves mood and focus by boosting serotonin levels in the body.
3. Micro-exercise. Speaking of walking, we all know by now that exercise is a certified mood booster. But if getting out there continues to be a tall order for you, start small — really small. “Th e difference between no exercise and a little bit of exercise is gigantic,” Rubin says. Try a five-minute walk, lifting hand weights, or balance on one foot and then the other a few times a day (a great move to maintain balance and prevent falls). And yes, if you can build from there, once exercise feels less overwhelming, all the better.
4. Clear just a drawer. Letting go of excess belongings can bring peace of mind. Organizing just a drawer full of stuff a day to reap the benefits associated with clutter clearing (they include better sleep, improved relationships, even weight loss!). Clearing out a drawer at a time, and working up to a closet or two, ultimately leads to checking off rooms from your list. People feel lighter and less burdened with the weight of years.
5. Reach out. It’s common wisdom now that connecting with others socially can off er a quick hit of happiness. A lack of strong social ties has been found to affect not just happiness but also health and longevity. If you feel short on such connections, sometimes looking back can give you a way forward. Setting a yearly time and place to meet up with friends who live farther away can also help you rekindle existing friendships.
6. Join a group. Signing on to an existing group — perhaps at your church, synagogue or community center — can also off er both connection and the stability that’s sometimes lacking with one-on-one friendships
7. Take a five-minute meditation break. If anxiety or negative thinking threatens your daily happiness, try meditation to literally clear your mind. Just a few minutes of these mental exercises have been shown to have significant benefits for both psychological and physical health. You can fi nd a simple meditation to follow through books, classes, CDs — or a variety of apps.