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How to avoid the Ageism Trap

You may be practicing ageism and not even realize it. Ageism (also spelled “agism”), is the stereotyping and discriminating against img_1018individuals or groups on the basis of their age, either consciously or unconsciously.  This article, 44 Shocking Ageism Statistics, points out that discrimination against the elderly is accepted and normal in our society, reinforced by social media and the news media.  So don’t beat yourself up if you realize that you do it too …it’s normal.

But, there’s a real risk to your own health and well-being as you yourself age.
When you make negative generalizations about an older age group (they’re not as quick, they’re bad drivers, they’re sick all the time, etc.), aren’t you setting yourself up to expect the same thing for you when you reach their age?  That’s exactly what the statistics show.

“Along with race and gender, people commonly use age to categorize — and form stereotypes about — others. Of the three categories, age is the only one in which the members of the in-group (the young) will eventually join the out-group (the old). Although ageism is found cross-culturally, it is especially prevalent in the United States, where most people regard growing older with depression, fear, and anxiety. Older people in the United States are stigmatized and marginalized, with often devastating consequences.”
Research Paper – Ageism: Prejudice Against Our Feared Future Self  Todd D. Nelson
California State University-Stanislaus

Victoria and I do a pretty good job of “flipping” the negative effects of ageism, and you can too:

  • Don’t waste time and energy trying to combat ageism.  There’s not much chance you’ll change anyone else’s negative attitudes.  Your attitudes are the only ones that are important.
  • Check yourself out in the mirror frequently, focusing on the features that you like.  If there’s anything that really bothers you, get it fixed …or embrace it as uniquely you and totally lovable.  It’s vital that you love yourself in order to live the life you want.  Insights from Cindy Joseph.
  • Appreciate the gifts of of aging: like wisdom, self acceptance, and deep appreciation for your relationships. Do this frequently.
  • When you observe an older person behaving in a stereotyped negative way, remember a person of about the same age whom you admire for their vitality and confidence.  That’s your inspiration.  That’s what you want for yourself.

As always, I hope to hear how this information lands with you, my friend.  Is it valuable?  Let me know.

Donald Trafton  480-341 7850

Published inbetter health now

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