5 Life Skills That Help You Age Well

Written by Angela Atkinson

Researchers at University College London identified 5 life skills that work together to promote wellbeing as we age.

Before looking at the actual list, there are 3 major points to keep in mind:

1. These skills act in concert. You need each of them to be successful and happy.

2. These skills can be cultivated. Adopt a growth mindset instead of believing that you’re stuck with a fixed supply that can’t be changed.

3. These skills can be developed at any stage in life. If you’re already in your golden years, there’s still time to make positive changes. If you’re younger, you can benefit from having an early start.

By now, you’re probably wondering what skills made the list. Take a look at these science-backed recommendations for the ingredients you need to build a brighter future, and learn how you can cultivate these life skills.

1. Conscientiousness

* Pursue goals. Set goals that are challenging and feasible. Break big projects down into smaller steps and evaluate your progress. Enjoy the journey and celebrate each success so you keep your morale and motivation high.

* Get organized. Eliminate clutter, simplify your routines, and approach your work systematically. You’ll reduce stress and accomplish more.

* Fulfill promises. Earn a reputation for living up to your word. Your relationships and self-esteem will grow stronger.

2. Emotional Stability

* Accept your feelings. The first step in managing your emotions is to embrace them. Be compassionate with yourself so you can acknowledge what you’re feeling and make rational choices about how to respond constructively.

* Care for yourself. Keep yourself in top shape. Eat a nutritious diet, exercise regularly, and sleep well.

* Be mindful. Focus on the present moment. Engage fully with whatever you’re doing right now.

3. Determination

* Avoid distractions. Turn off the TV and limit the hours you spend browsing online. Stay focused on your priorities and how you can make your dreams come true.

* Overcome obstacles. Evaluate self-limiting beliefs and replace them with more encouraging self-talk. Learn from setbacks and delays.

4. Control

* Leverage your strengths. Understanding your strengths and how to apply them makes you more powerful and resilient. Figure out what you’re good at and what you like to do.

* Slow down. When you’re planning your schedule, give yourself adequate time to complete each task, and take a breather in between. If you’re feeling rushed, pause and reconsider your options.

* Manage impulses. Consider the long-term consequences of your actions. Be willing to set aside immediate gratification in favor of more substantial gains. If you’re about to give in to temptation, shift your attention elsewhere. It may be easier to resist eating a cookie or making an unkind remark 5 minutes from now.

5. Optimism

* Count your blessings. Be thankful for what you have and express your gratitude. Keep a journal for recording happy events and kind actions you might otherwise forget about. Let others know about the positive difference they make in your life.

* Seek support. It’s easier to have confidence in yourself and your future when you know that you have your loved ones on your side. Put aside time to nurture family bonds and close friendships. Ask for help when you need it and be ready to return the favor.

* Deepen your faith. Spiritual beliefs offer strength and comfort even during difficult times. Adversity teaches you to have greater compassion for yourself and others. Connecting with the divine helps you to put events into perspective and remain hopeful.

Increase your share of conscientiousness, emotional stability, determination, control, and optimism. You’ll soon enjoy greater health and well-being, and sustain those gains for the rest of your life.

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