Transforming your life by changing your outlook.

“Age is just a number.” You’ve likely heard—and perhaps scoffed at—this saying dozens of times over the years. Despite what your joints might be telling you, there’s actually truth to it; you can’t stop the aging process, but much of aging is related to your mindset. Improving your outlook on life can impact every area of your life, from your attitude and relationships to the health of your mind and body. Changing your outlook does take work, but it can help you feel younger and live a happier, healthier, and even longer life. Here are practical ways you can improve your outlook on life.

Get plenty of sleep.

Start each day right by getting between seven and nine hours of sleep every night. This may sound like a small action, but how much sleep you’re getting impacts your body on very real physical and mental levels. When you don’t get enough sleep, you’re more likely to be on edge, grumpy, and even depressed while struggling to feel empathetic, friendly, or happy. In contrast, getting enough sleep can help get your day off to a positive start, framing your interactions with people in a better light and helping you feel friendlier. So it’s worth it to shuffle your schedule around a little bit to ensure you’re getting enough sleep.

Maintain positive social connections.

Staying connected to other people has a surprisingly massive impact on your physical and emotional health—and never more so than now. Feeling socially isolated can cause feelings of anxiety and depression; one study even found that it’s more dangerous to your health than high blood pressure, obesity, and smoking. People who feel connected and supported by a healthy social group, however, benefit from a positive sense of well-being and a 50% increased chance of longevity.

Do your best to build and stay connected to a social group. This keeps you actively engaged in life instead of feeling like it’s passing you by. No matter how old or experienced you are, you still need a support system you can laugh with, confide in, and go to for help or advice. If your loved ones live far away, and while social distancing is in place, plan regular video chats with them so you can see their faces.

Take good care of your body.

Do your best to take good care of your body by eating a healthy diet, practicing good oral hygiene to care for your natural teeth and implants, and exercising for about 30 minutes every day. These positive lifestyle choices will keep you healthy, preventing the negativity that health issues can cause, and will actively help you feel more positive. For example, exercising lowers the levels of stress hormones in your blood and triggers the release of endorphins, which leaves you feeling relaxed and happy. Regular exercise also helps you sleep better and feel more energetic, all of which will boost your positivity levels. If you struggle with issues like joint pain, you can practice gentle forms of exercise like swimming, yoga, or even simply walking through one of the beautiful parks Philadelphia has to offer.

Replace negativity with gratitude.

It’s natural to complain every once in a while, but do your best to limit how often you do. Complaining frequently can be a sign of a negative outlook, but it can also worsen that outlook because it centers your attention on the negative aspects of your life. Instead, be intentional about focusing on the positive and practicing gratitude. One way you can do this is to start a gratitude journal, where you write a few things you’re grateful for at the end of every day. This doubles as a great way for you to look back on each year and remember acts of kindness that you may have otherwise forgotten. While this might feel difficult or strange at first, being intentional about positivity and gratitude can actually retrain your brain to think positively first, improving your overall outlook on life.

Find a purpose and give back to others.

Whether you’re still working or retired, finding a purpose is essential to improving your outlook on life—your purpose is what gets you out of bed in the morning, ready and excited for a new day. It can be a desire to travel, caring for your grandchildren, increasing your skill in a hobby, or volunteering; whatever it is, it should make you feel happy and fulfilled. Giving back to others through volunteer work is a common purpose, especially once people have retired. While it doesn’t need to be your purpose, it’s still worth doing. When you give back to others, you’re not just helping other people—you’re also improving your own outlook on life. Studies have repeatedly shown that serving others gives you a surge of happiness, lowers your stress levels, increases your satisfaction with your life, and even improves your physical health.

Let loose and have some fun.

Have you ever noticed that having a good laugh leaves you feeling content and relaxed? That’s because laughing activates and relieves your stress response, helping to replace feelings of anxiety and depression with happiness. So letting loose and having fun is good for you—physically and mentally! While everyone’s movements are restricted at the moment, you can still organise a group Zoom call with family, play a remote group board game like scribble.io, or even sync your Netflix so you can watch movies with friends.

It’s easy to slip into a negative mindset. Putting in the work to rebuild your positivity and care for your body and mind alike can make a huge difference in your daily life. Since the health of your body and mind are so connected, forming these habits can help you live a longer, happier, and healthier life.