Many people are struggling to find happiness in life after 50. On the surface, you might think that our inability to be happy comes from our complex lives. After all, many of us have experienced divorces and deaths in the family. Some have lost parents and watched their children grow up and move away. Others have experienced health challenges of one kind of another.
But, despite the fact that we share similar challenges, some of us are much happier than others. The question is, why?
After talking with hundreds of women in the Sixty and Me community, I have come to the conclusion that many of us are held back from happiness by our persistent negative thoughts.
I have also realized that it is indeed possible to be happier than we've ever been -- not by living in the past or being in denial, but by embracing the full potential, joy and abundance of this exact moment of life.
Here are a few negative thoughts that you need to remove from your mental playlist in order to find happiness after 50.
"I am not good enough"
Think of all the good you have done for the people in your life. Think back on the generosity you've shown, the ingenuity you've developed in solving problems and the unique personal touch you've brought to your relationships. You are good enough. More importantly, while you can't change the past, you can build a better future.
Action: Imagine that you are talking with yourself one year in the future. What is the one thing that you want to accomplish between now and then that you would be proud to talk to your future self? Now, write down one small action that you can take today to move yourself closer to this goal. Don't wait. Take action.
"I am not strong enough"
You are much stronger than you imagine. Think of the difficulties you've encountered in life -- whether it was learning to cope with divorce or caring for ailing parents or experiencing disappointment in your career -- didn't you come through them all? Every challenge in life has made you stronger and has shaped the person that you are today.
Action 1: Think about a difficult time in your life. What did you learn from the experience? Close your eyes and try to imagine your wounds as battle scars. Wear them with pride. They are badges of honor not signs of weakness.
Action 2: It may seem strange to say this, but, mental strength and physical strength are connected. When our bodies are tired, we find it hard to be resilient. One of the best things that you can do to get through hard times is to move more. Get out into nature. Join a dance class. Give yourself reasons to believe in your inner and outer strength.
"I am not brave enough"
Is there something new that you'd love to try, but you can't quite bring yourself to make the leap? Whether it's taking an adventurous vacation or going on a date, many people over 50 are testing their boundaries and getting outside their comfort zones.
Action: If you're thinking of making some big changes in your life and want to develop enough bravery to feel confident, start with small steps first. Join a new club, take a class or try a new hobby. Bravery isn't about jumping out of planes or talking with strangers. Bravery is found in the small steps that you take every day to be the best person you can be.
"I am not rich enough"
Many older adults worry about money. Financial challenges can be very real, but even at our age, money doesn't have to define us or limit our happiness in life. The trick is to take control.
This is true for two reasons. On a practical level, taking responsibility for, and control of, your finances is the only way to create a more secure future. On an emotional level, it is not always our financial realities that drag us down, but the fears that go along with them. When you have a plan, your fears become manageable.
Action 1: Check out this article on managing money in retirement for some ideas and insights on how you can face your fears about money, change your attitude toward material things, and live a more abundant life on a budget.
Action 2: Browse this collection of articles for ideas on how to supplement your income in retirement, start a new business or make extra money as a freelancer.
"I am not smart enough"
In the movies, older adults are often presented as being too set in their ways to learn new things or adapt to new technologies. What nonsense! Many people are going back to school to finish degrees or pursue new career paths, start new businesses. We are still just as curious and engaged as we were 30 years ago -- maybe even more!
Action: Write down one new skill that you are interested in learning. Don't worry if it sounds silly -- these are often the best skills to learn! Set aside 15 minutes a day to learn more or practice. Time yourself if you have to, but, whatever you do, don't ever believe that you aren't smart enough to learn new things after 50. Your mind has brought you this far and there are no limits to where it can take you in the future.
It's Time to Build Your Dream Life After 50
Getting rid of these negative thoughts and limiting beliefs is essential if you want to have the life you deserve. The key is to take action. Rationalization and willpower won't make your negative beliefs disappear.
If anything, the more you think about them, the more powerful your fears become. It's time to get out into the world and do the things you love. You deserve happiness, health and financial security. Are you ready to give it a try?
What is the one negative thought that holds you back the most? What one action are you going to take today to eliminate it and move on with your life? Please leave a comment below, let's have a conversation!
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