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How to keep your self esteem high as you age

July 23, 2014

Feeling pretty? According to a recent study from Gallup, 66 percent of Americans over the age of 65 "agreed" or "strongly agreed" that they always feel good about their physical appearance, making them the most confident of all age groups. Only 61 percent of young adults (18- to 34-year-olds) and 54 percent of middle-aged adults (35- to 64-year-olds) shared the same sentiment. While the feelings varied slightly depending on race and gender, older adults still had the highest self-esteem. Here's how to maintain that momentum for happy and healthy aging.

Make an ego list
Take advantage of a day you're feeling good about yourself and put it in writing. Compile all of your great qualities and write them down - set a goal of 10 or 20 to start. Be sure to document everything you notice, ranging from a nice hair day to a moment of kindness you experienced. On the days you're not feeling so confident, reading your list could be all you need to remind yourself of all of your great characteristics and that you're beautiful, both inside and out. 

Make a habit of smiling
According to The Huffington Post, just the act of smiling can trick you into feeling happier. It redirects blood flow to the brain and causes the production of chemical and physical reactions that release feel-good endorphins. Plus, when a stranger smiles back at you, their brain is producing the same chemicals, which starts a chain reaction of positive feeling. Brighten someone's day while boosting your own self esteem.

Exercise more
Not only does exercise promote a healthy lifestyle for seniors, but, like smiling, it's another activity that can make you feel good. Even setting aside just 30 minutes to get your blood flowing every day can make dramatic changes to your mood. As an added bonus, your waistline might shrink, which could add to the good feeling you already initiated. Start small by getting a group together at your community and go for a short walk each day. The results could amaze you.

Keep a list of gratitudes
​Make it a point to search for positive things in each day. Document five different items, people or experiences for which you're grateful every day, and be sure not to repeat the same one the next day. They could range from enjoying the weather to having a great conversation with a loved one. Over time, it will become increasingly easier to identify happy moments, and your self-esteem - and overall mood - will grow even higher.