Today.com makes a really good point about people entering their fifties—they’re the people who invented the mosh pit in the 80’s, and Eddie Vedder is one of them!  Today, fifties can be more than beautiful, since the age group includes Sandra Bullock, Brad Pitt, and Michael Jordan.

That means there’s no reason to feel old or to act old in this mid-age decade.  In fact, there is ample evidence that having fun and experiencing more joy and happiness in one’s fifties causes a person to live longer.

For example, a study from researchers at Yale and Miami University showed that senior citizens who had a positive impression of the aging process lived 7.5 years longer than their less positive equivalents.

Attitude is very important in this process.  While staying fit and healthy are absolutely crucial, it’s also important to just feel happy.  With the stresses of saving for retirement and with children being out of the home, one’s fifties can be tough.  Since you’re not retired with all the free time that comes with it, you may have to try hard to keep happy.

One thing that can really help is volunteering.  This can take any form, whether helping to feed the homeless, reading to young children, etc.  A lot of research has shown that having a sense of purpose, a sense that one is contributing to the world, is one of the best avenues to happiness.

As you probably know, exercising plays a big role, too, since good cardio-vascular work is well-known to help with the release of serotonin.

But then there’s fun-fun.  It’s important to not let yourself get into a rut, staying around the house too much, doing the same things and failing to socialize.  While family is important, people in their fifties should be sure to maintain friendships, and if this means new friendships, that’s even better.

The great thing about making new friends as one approaches old age is that it can mean joining clubs or participating in hobbies and activities.

Travel is another key to happiness for people in middle age.  It helps people experience new things, which means personal growth.  This fights against the idea that old age is for just taking it easy and just treading water.  If you’re experiencing new things, you’ll feel young and optimistic, and these things will keep you healthy.

Things that help your health usually help your longevity as well.  But in either case, it’s important for your later years to be as pleasant and enjoyable as possible.

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