by Sophia Smith: Once you reach your silver years, wrap up your career, and see your offspring enjoying their lives, accomplished and safe, you know that your life has meaning and substance…
However, those meaning-filled silver years meant for enjoying life and deepening our wisdom are also often riddled with various health struggles. It can be something benign and harmless, such as your eyesight giving out, or you might face a severe illness or a chronic health issue that can add more difficult challenges into your life.
When you struggle with the simplest daily tasks or you need to worry about medication and you fear for your life, it’s difficult to give in to any form of joy or relaxation. Sometimes, however, that’s precisely what you need in order to heal your mind, take better care of your spiritual self, and find the peace you need to spend your days in happiness, despite the challenge. Illness, in a sense, can become your gateway to personal transformation, even in your silver years, when you’ve al ready accumulated ample life wisdom and knowledge. Here’s how you can cultivate that growth through illness, and find your path to self-fulfillment.
Let your rivers of emotion flow freely
Fear, anxiety, helplessness, anger, and denial are just some of many emotions that you’ll discover troubling your mind once you realize you have to cope with an illness of any sort. Whether it’s something as dangerous as cancer or as prevalent as osteoporosis, you need to go beyond searching for treatment for your physical health.
You also need peace of mind and emotional stability to not just handle the diagnosis, but also to enjoy your life to its fullest. For you to fully embrace the beautiful aspects of your life, you need to allow yourself to feel all those negative emotions, not bottle them up. Whether you talk to a professional therapist or find a creative way to express those emotions through art, journaling, and yoga, it’s crucial that you recognize your emotional state. Growth can only occur when awareness and acceptance set in.
Find support in your community
Upon getting diagnosed with a life-altering illness such as cancer or dementia, it’s vital to accept that you cannot and shouldn’t do this on your own. In fact, the more support you build up around yourself, the easier it will be for you to accept the new state of being, your life’s new course, and the challenges that come with it.
After all, there are so many other people in a similar situation in need of guidance, so you can find a local cancer fund to join a support group and ask for advice on how to manage your illness. Such organizations ensure ongoing psychological and emotional support as well as practical advice for people struggling with illness to recognize different strategies to help themselves, but also to provide a database of trustworthy professionals they can turn to for help.
Embrace a meditative practice
Unleashing your emotions, the positive and the negative ones, is a necessary step in the healing process. Meditation, on the other hand, grants you a new dimension in handling and processing those emotions through increased mindfulness, self-awareness, and gratefulness for the present moment.
To reap the rewards of such a mindset, you should try to incorporate meditation into your daily schedule. It will allow you new insights into your emotional state, and you’ll learn so much about controlling your breath and letting go of your thoughts.
Look for a creative outlet
Depending on your mobility levels and your creative preferences, you can introduce healing activities that allow you to awaken your inner child, to become playful once more. Expressing your creative self through fun activities, simple arts and crafts, and learning can all be extremely beneficial for your mindset. Why? Because you’ll get to enrich your life with new meaning and playful purpose to prevent overwhelming worry over things you cannot change at the moment.
Creative activities can be therapeutic for people in all stages of their lives, but especially when you no longer have too many responsibilities on your plate. The illness itself will no longer take center stage of your existence, and you’ll continue to imbue your life with more meaning every day.
Take control to relinquish control
One of our major life’s pursuits consists of finding ways to take control over the course of our life. More often than not, different circumstances teach us that it’s not possible, but rather to learn to accept the natural flow of life. However, once you embrace the inevitable, including the diagnosis you’ve received, you can find aspects of your life that leave room for adjustment. Making smaller changes in your lifestyle can help you lead a more comfortable life and not focus every atom of your being on the illness itself.
So, instead of struggling with what you cannot do, you can make an effort to strengthen your immune system and your mind through a better diet, to grow stronger physically and mentally through regular exercise, and to overcome obstacles by mastering new skills. Doing more in these aspects of your life will give you more energy and passion to face these new health challenges.
After decades of ups and downs, you already understand that life is a blend of the good and the bad. It’s how we cope with the bad and how much we appreciate the good that will make the difference in the final stages of our life. Even when our energy wanes and we don’t have the same youthful zeal, it’s perfectly possible to retain the same levels of appreciation and love, and learn new, valuable life lessons, even through illness. This can be your helpful guide in achieving such a goal, should you ever face a health challenge in your silver years.