Who wants to age happily? Are you with me? Forget about aging gracefully. It’s too much pressure. It’s like you still have to look good but at the same time appear like you don’t care. Like it’s all so effortless…ha!

How about we just do, dress, act the way that makes us feel content, happy, joyful! That feels like way less pressure. You don’t have to impress anyone except yourself.

In other words, live a life of well-being. And did you know that how happy, content, joyful we are in our younger years can help with dementia in our older years? Check out Can Happiness Ward Off Dementia? on the The Happiness Lab podcast with Dr. Laurie Santos.

Emily Willroth, Psychologist and Assistant Professor at Washington University in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, is interested in how we can maintain happiness as we age. She looks at the intersection of long-life happiness and dementia.

Apparently a higher level of well-being has a buffering effect that protects our bodily systems against life stressors. Intuitively, this makes sense. If we eat well, get enough rest, and are socially, physically, and mentally active, then we are less likely to be exposed to severe chronic life stressors. And when exposed, because we all experience stressful times, we have a more resilient physiological response.

Well-being is not only a factor in protecting our physical health but also our cognitive health. She says happier practices can delay the effects of dementia and can also let us live better lives as the disease develops. This becomes so important as the world’s population ages. By 2050 the number of older adults over the age of 65 will double.

Who wants to age happily? by Colleen Kanna, Photo of two older women with white hair exuberantly dressed with the quote, "Your 40s are good. Your 50s are great. Your 60s are fab. And 70 is f*@king awesome." by Helen Mirren.

And it’s not too late to start practicing happiness, no matter what age we are right now.

Sometimes, it’s hard to know what makes us happy, content, or joyful. I know I’ve been stumped by this, other than the obvious…my daughter. But, she’s her own person, all grown up, and doesn’t need me in her everyday life anymore. When we don’t know what makes us happy, I think we have to be curious.

We have to pay attention to how we feel when we do certain activities, spend time with certain people, visit certain places. Which conversations light you up? We often go about our business by habit without giving it much thought. If we pay close attention, we’ll gradually learn what feels good on the inside and out.

And sometimes it’s easier to start with what doesn’t make us feel good because we have an inherent negativity bias. Then by process of elimination, we can weed out the stuff that’s not serving us and focus on what is.

Sounds easy enough in theory but harder to do in practice. But practice will make our happiness practice easier. And the dementia thing is a good incentive to practice.

If you’d like to practice with me some time, let me know in the comments or send me an email at colleen@cokanna.ca and we’ll practice doing something fun together.

In the meantime, if you want to feel happy and comfortable in what you wear, check out what I have left in my Closing Down Sale.

Shop the Closing Down Sale

Until next time,

~ Colleen

Colleen Kanna

I’m a recovered Chartered Accountant and Breast Cancer Champion turned Fashion Designer. My COKANNA Canadian-made bamboo clothing is all about comfort and style. Giving back to the community is important to me so I support local breast cancer organizations who treat the whole person and not just the disease.