Photo by Oren Atias on Unsplash

Opinion

By Linda Williams

As our hair grays, faces wrinkle, and our bodies morph into their newest forms, it can be difficult to stand in front of the mirror and feel satisfied with what you see. Teenage outsiders assume that body image issues only impact younger generations, but this preconceived notion couldn’t be further from the truth. Body image, mental health, and self-esteem issues appear in demographics of all ages.

Transitioning into the golden years can wreak havoc on a senior citizen’s body image. As we grow older, life events like divorce and losing a loved one are likely to happen, impacting our body image and aging our faces tremendously. Health issues like diabetes, dementia, and other chronic conditions are also expected to crop up in our golden years, affecting how older generations perceive their physical bodies.

Besides unhealthy body image, other factors can cause senior citizen’s self-esteem to spiral. For example, fewer educational opportunities, lower-income status, and poor physical health can impact individuals’ self-esteem as they age. People with higher incomes tend to maintain elevated self-esteem in their golden years. Not surprisingly, there’s a link between better health and bolstered self-esteem.

The later-life decline in self-esteem isn’t cast in stone. Despite the above challenges mentioned, seniors can still boost their self-esteem and enjoy these benefits:

  • reduced stress levels,
  • the ability to influence others,
  • reduced negative energy and a sturdier positive attitude,
  • boosted leadership presence,
  • increased sense of being valued, and
  • deterred social anxiety.

As you can see, improving your self-confidence is a worthwhile pursuit, regardless of your age. You derive loads of benefits that boost your chances of success in later life. But how can you give your self-confidence a much-needed boost in your golden years?

If you are a senior citizen, keep in mind the following factors that can help you achieve high confidence levels.

Maintain self-sufficiency

Being self-reliant in our old age helps us lead a fulfilling life. An increased sense of independence also allows senior citizens to derive several benefits, including

  • an established sense of purpose,
  • improved memory,
  • a better understanding of self, and
  • enhanced balance and physical strength.

While the reality is that being independent becomes increasingly difficult as we age, active support systems,  home wellness solutions,  and medical alert systems for seniors can help elderly communities maintain a sense of self-sufficiency in their homes.

Other strategies that can help seniors maintain independence well into their golden years include focusing on fitness, attending medical appointments, taking advantage of technological innovations, involving oneself in community work, and building a network of peers. You could also purchase a confidence-boosting mobility aid like this. Unlike with traditional mobility aids, you can stand up straight and maintain eye contact during conversations.

Seeking out social connections

There’s power in belonging to a community. In the pursuit of increased confidence, the right support group will exude positive energy and won’t discriminate based on your age. As you strive to boost your confidence, associate with communities that uplift you, those that re-energize you in your lowest moments. Surround yourself with people that make you feel valued, and step away from groups that adversely affect your self-esteem.

Cultivate a culture of gratitude

When we fail to show gratitude, we focus on things that we lack instead of appreciating the things we have. Ingratitude often points us to blame ourselves, thus diminishing our self-confidence.

Developing a spirit of gratitude starts with a new mindset. Redirect your thoughts and try to focus on abundance instead of perceived lack. Take time to write down your blessings, and be grateful for what you already have, i.e., loved ones, hobbies, financial stability, etc.

Avoid self-limiting talk

While you no longer have the glowing skin and slim figure that you once enjoyed in your youth, beating yourself up for your physical flaws will only add more wrinkles to your complexion.  Negative self-talk is likely to make an appearance when you fail or when you compare yourself with friends. Whatever the trigger, challenge the negative thoughts through logic or reasoning.

Find a senior group

Humans are social beings. We connect every day by sharing experiences, thereby building up one another. Your family is an essential aspect of your network, but finding peers who are going through similar experiences is invaluable. In your journey of boosting self-worth, try to find friends in your age group with which you share common interests. Ultimately, maintaining connections with people you relate to offers priceless emotional benefits.

Wear what feels good

What we wear can affect our physical appearance, which can impact our self-esteem. Aging comes with weight changes, wrinkles, and mobility changes. However, you can overcome these challenges by donning visual-appealing (and age-appropriate) clothing and accessories, which will accentuate your radiant inner beauty

Final word

As we grow older, it’s best to realize that we are valuable regardless of our body image. Don’t put yourself under pressure by placing unrealistic standards of beauty on your shoulders. Take a step back and appreciate your looks. Once you’ve completed that step, take the time to see value in the things you have achieved thus far. Let yourself value yourself.

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