Some of us quietly dislike the idea of getting older. A lot of us downright dread it, to the point that we loathe our birthdays, lie about how old we are, and spend thousands of dollars on plastic surgery to make us look young.“Growing old is no more than a bad habit, which a busy man has no time to form.”
--French author André Maurois
Often, just the idea of getting older is enough to cause a deep depression.
“We live in a society that worships youth instead of age and wisdom,” says Hale Dwoskin, CEO and director of training of Sedona Training Associates. “We also fear both death and the aging process – and try to deny and avoid them. Because of this, instead of celebrating their birthdays each year people tend to dread them more and more.”
Fear of aging is, indeed, common, particularly among 20-somethings and mid-lifers (ages 35-49), according to a UK study published by Datamonitor. In terms of aging, the study found that people are most afraid of:
• Financial insecurity
• Physical deterioration
• Loss of attractiveness
• Being unable to cope with new situations
Interestingly, our fears are the greatest not when we get older, but right before we hit a major aging milestone, say a 30th or a 65th birthday. It’s during this point of vulnerability that marketers are told to “target” consumers with age-driven marketing: anti-aging pills, creams, surgeries, you name it.
In 2007, these so-called “fear of aging purchases” are expected to reach over $41 billion in the UK.
Aging and Depression: Why Worrying Gets Us Nowhere
The worst part about aging, it turns out, is thinking about it and waiting for that dreaded day to come. It’s during this time that we may become depressed just thinking about the negative things that might happen as we age.
After we actually become older, it turns out that we fare better; we are forced to deal with the dreaded older age and therefore worry less, the Datamonitor study found.
Further, while some studies have pointed to a heightened risk of depression among the elderly, particularly those facing chronic medical problems or who are socially isolated, a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience found just the opposite.
The study of 242 healthy people ages 12 to 79 found that older people are actually less neurotic, more able to control fear and more emotionally stable than younger people.
The findings suggest that aging "puts the brakes on" negative emotions, while "releasing the brakes" on positive emotions, said Lea Williams, a neuroscientist at the University of Sydney in Australia and lead author of the study in a Los Angeles Times article.
In reality, then, the only thing we have to “fear” about aging are the negative thoughts that we cook up in our own minds. The more you worry about your age, the more you are likely to feel depressed about it.
If you let go of your worry, your fear and your depressed feelings about aging, you will become free to enjoy your life at any age. Letting go is something that we can all do, but many of us don’t know how.
The Sedona Method is a simple tool that will teach you how to release negative emotions about aging so you can have a lasting positive attitude and experience emotional wellness.
Meanwhile, remember that on the inside, you are always ageless.
“The best way to embrace your age is to look inside and notice that at your core what you are is ageless,” Dwoskin says. “This presence of awareness that you are has never changed even from your earliest memories.”
“As you let go with The Sedona Method the more you will feel this presence that you are, and the younger you will feel,” he says.