Did you experience stormy weather in 2023 that tossed you around emotionally or made you feel unmoored?
If yes, join the club.
The second half of life is a unique chapter filled with wisdom, experience, and the potential for tremendous personal growth. Yet, it comes with its own set of challenges.
It could be relationship struggles, divorce, kids leaving home, the death of a loved one, or caring for elderly parents.
It might be your changing body — the rocky road to menopause with its physical, mental, and emotional symptoms.
Maybe, like many women these days, you're thinking about shifting from retirement to reinvention but don't know where to start. Or perhaps you have retired, but your "life of leisure" isn't as enjoyable or satisfying as you thought it would be.
It could be any combination of life transitions.
Plus, it's all taking place against a backdrop of growing older as a woman in an anti-aging culture. Which is no walk in the park.
You may feel adrift, purposeless, like you don't know who you are anymore, worried about money, invisible, worn out from caregiving, or just plain bored.
As we navigate this stage of life, a resilient spirit is a valuable asset, empowering us to weather life's storms and thrive. So, I've been researching ways to cultivate resilience and embrace the second half of life with grace, joy, and ever-deepening purpose.
Here are five proven ways to thrive amidst life's challenges:
Acknowledge that perfection is unattainable and be kind to yourself in times of struggle. Researcher Kristin Neff, Ph.D.'s latest book shows women how to balance tender self-acceptance with fierce action to claim our power.
Assess yourself: The Self-Compassion Test | Dr. Neff's Website
Embrace Lifelong Learning
Foster adaptability, curiosity, and a growth mindset. Learn new skills, explore diverse interests, and stay intellectually engaged. Psychologist Carol Dweck, Ph.D.'s famous research on growth mindset emphasizes the importance of continuous learning.
Read: Mindset: The New Psychology of Success (Updated Edition) | Bookshop
Listen: The Power of Believing That You Can Improve | Dr. Dweck's TED Talk
Build a Supportive Network
Surround yourself with a diverse, supportive network of friends, family, and mentors. A robust support system provides emotional sustenance during difficult times and promotes personal empowerment.
Research professor and multiple New York Times best-selling author Brené Brown, Ph.D., wrote, "If we want to fully experience love and belonging, we must believe that we are worthy of love and belonging."
Read: The Gifts of Imperfection, 10th Anniversary Edition | Bookshop
Listen: Brené Brown on the 10th anniversary of "The Gifts of Imperfection" | CBS Mornings
Science shows platonic friendships are crucial to shaping who we are and becoming our happiest selves. In her recent book, psychologist Marisa Franco, Ph.D., provides a clear and actionable blueprint for forging solid and lasting connections with others using the insights of attachment theory.
Listen: The Secret to Making New Friends as an Adult | Dr. Franco's TED Talk
Nurture Holistic Wellbeing
The path to wellbeing is not one-size-fits-all. We all have unique journeys, experiences, and challenges that shape our lives. Our biology, personality, and environment determine what wellbeing means to us individually.
A holistic approach includes physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health and is essential for resilience. Hormone management, exercise, nutrition for brain health, sleep, and mindset contribute to a solid foundation for facing challenges in the second half of life.
New York Times bestselling author of The Female Brain and neuropsychiatrist Louann Brizendine, MD, is always on the cutting edge of scientific research into the female experience.
In her most recent book, she writes about how in menopause, women's brains are reshaped for the better in a way that creates new power, a bracing clarity, and a laser-like sense of purpose if you know how to seize it.
Listen: How Women's Brains Get Stronger and Better With Age | Magnificent Midlife Podcast
Cultivate Emotional Fitness
We experience emotions our entire lives, but emotional fitness is not something we are born with. Our parents and caretakers are the first guides who show us how our emotions work and what to do with them. When we find it difficult to deal with our emotions once we've reached adulthood, it may be because we've never actually been taught how.
Read: The Case for Emotional Fitness | Nick Wignall
Read: Why Can't I Control My Emotions? | Calm: Adventures in Mindfulness
Psychiatrist and bestselling author Judith Orloff, MD, synthesizes neuroscience, intuitive medicine, psychology, and subtle energy techniques to map the elegant relationships between our minds, bodies, spirits, and environments. With humor and compassion, she shows us how to identify the most powerful negative emotions and transform them into hope, kindness, and courage.
Read: The Empath's Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People | Bookshop
Listen: The Empath's Survival Guide | Talks at Google
We all know by now that navigating the second half of life comes with unique challenges for women. But with resilience as a guiding light, your journey can be an opportunity for self-discovery, renewed purpose, and growth.
In the next issue, I'll share five more ways to thrive in stormy weather. Until then, please remember that no matter what you're going through, you are worthy of every good thing life has to offer.
Aging With Optimism
There is still so much negative talk and pessimism around aging. But research with older people shows that there is much to look forward to.
We now have 20 to 30 more years to live, which is a gift. The question is what are you going to do with this gift?
Designing the Long Life You Love | Next Avenue
Invisible Woman Syndrome
Studies show that nearly 7 out of 10 women experience a sense of becoming invisible as they grow older.
This is no surprise, of course, in a society that blatantly values youth and beauty over ripened wisdom. But there is a power available in elderhood that rivals or surpasses the power of youth.
How to Turn Invisible Woman Syndrome Into Your Superpower | Spirituality & Health
How Old Are You in Your Head?
Research shows that adults over 40 perceive themselves to be, on average, about 20 percent younger than their actual age. Why we’re possessed of this urge to subtract is another matter.
The Puzzling Gap Between How Old You Are and How Old You Think You Are | The Atlantic (Gift Article)
Little Bits of Light
Words to open your heart and SOOTHE YOUR SOUL
Photos by: Alex Stemmer (#1) & Linda Wattier (#2)