ANOTHER revolution around the sun is usually cause for celebration – and lots of gifts.
But according to a report by the Royal Society for Public Health, for 57 percent of young adults who have developed a fear of aging known as gerascophobia, it is an occasion of anxiety.
Millennials, in particular, cite precipitous decline in health and loneliness as inevitable symptoms of aging, wary of the sands of time.
Three in five say they are doing everything they can to fight the mental (62 percent) and physical signs (60 percent) of aging, compared to just half of Generation X (ages 40-51).
While aging is often viewed as a privilege, it is hardly surprising that the negative stigma of the past few years has left a taint on the biological process, particularly in women.
Men are dubbed “silver foxes” and can age like fine wine, but it’s considered rude to even raise the issue of age with women who are trying to fight against the clock with an arsenal of beauty products.
The global anti-aging market is expected to be worth £306 billion by 2030.
And not just in our bathroom.
Professor Lynda Gratton explains that age discrimination in the workplace begins at 40 for women (45 for men) when employers stop considering older workers for promotions and pay rises.
In fact, a study by Polygraph found that actresses over 40 spoke just 20 percent of dialogue in films, compared to 38 percent of their peers below them.
So is it any wonder that the younger generation is chasing eternal youth?
“Gerascophobia comes from the Greek word tha geraso, meaning ‘I’m getting old,'” explains Dr. Elena Touroni, Counseling Psychologist and Co-Founder of My Online Therapy.
“The fear of aging is nothing new and to some extent natural, but there is a growing anxiety around the issue.
“Someone with gerascophobia will have persistent thoughts and worries about getting older and the effects of aging on your physical appearance, and will generally try to avoid talking about it.”
One person not shying away from the topic is Tik Toker and anti-age activist Kate Beavis.
With over 55,000 followers, the 50-year-old is on a one-woman mission to break the stigma of getting older.
“Society has always fed the narrative that aging is something to fear,” she says.
“Beauty campaigns advise us on how to ‘fight’ wrinkles and aging, not to gray, not to gain weight or not to stand out – something men aren’t told.
“I’m here to celebrate getting older and to help women feel more confident without telling them to change who they are or how they look.”
Lucy Sheridan, aka The Comparison Coach, says it’s easy to feel like time is ticking when we’re constantly reminded of it through social media tools like Timehop and Instagram Archives.
Lucy said: “It constantly reminds us of what other people are doing, being, experiencing and achieving and we set that against ourselves.
“Features like Timehop or even scrolling back a few months can inspire harsh self-criticism as we become aware of the passage of time and how it shows in our appearance and sense of inner vitality.
“The perception of aging goes well beyond the appearance of our skin, it also extends to what milestones we have and have not yet reached and how ‘ready’ we feel about our lives.”
The pressure to comply is one we can feel strongly as we race against time to travel, pursue a career, be single, but also experience meaningful relationships and consider a home and pension .
But you also need to make sure you’re having enough fun at the same time.
BLAME THE RATRACE
While this is a big factor, Dr. Elena suggests that age-related anxiety may have started long before our digital news feed.
“Childhood experiences and self-esteem can also play an important role in whether someone is vulnerable to feelings of inadequacy,” she says.
“A lot of us have been socialized that way – getting good grades to get into the right school, go to a good university, etc.
“This is about reaching milestones by a certain age. In this way, we may define ourselves – and our self-esteem – in terms of what we have achieved at any point in our lives.
“This can become a race when we’re up against our peers who are under the same pressures as we are.”
So how can we get to a more accepted place when it comes to aging?
“Cognitive behavioral therapy can really help. And also be really clear about what life you want to live,” says Lucy.
“What do you want to achieve? What do you see in your work progress? Where do you want to travel? Who do you want to spend time with?
“Then make plans to align, connect, and live those experiences—the more you feel fluid and aligned with the life you’re living, the more you’ll enjoy the process and be comfortable with yourself.” feel.
“And surround yourself with people who build you up, challenge you, and inspire you to reach your potential—that builds confidence, satisfaction, and a sense of momentum.”
dr Elena encourages us to focus on the benefits of wisdom and practice gratitude. She said: “When we’re younger there can be more excitement and novelty as everything is new.
“But as we get older, we find more value in the depth of our relationships/friendships, more satisfaction at work, as we advance in our chosen field, in family life and with children, etc.
“It’s about connecting to your overarching goals and values in life, and then figuring out what gives you purpose in each stage of life.
“Take stock of everything you’ve already accomplished and limit or even delete social media when it triggers – it’s about acknowledging that something is hurting you and taking action.”
7 ways to embrace aging
Kate outlines her top tips for stopping watch watching:
- Remember that aging is a gift that many do not have. Celebrate your birthdays with passion instead of hiding your real age or not wanting to talk about it.
- Understand that when our hormones drop, our bodies change. Find out about the symptoms and get help. Don’t take no for an answer.
- Dress how you want, not how society tells you to. If you want to wear bright colors and red lips, then go for it.
- Take care of oneself. Eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of water to feel better inside and out. But enjoy yourself too – life is for living so eat the cake if you will!
- Surround yourself with the people you want to spend the next 30 years with and stop putting up with people who make you feel bad. Life is too short!
- They will wrinkle, but that’s okay. Aging does not have to be fought, it has to be celebrated.
- Take the pressure off. You don’t have to do everything before your next birthday. You have time and don’t want to miss the here and now.
https://www.the-sun.com/health/7082266/plagued-gerascophobia-tips-overcome-fear/ Are you plagued by the gerascophobia? 7 simple tips to overcome common fear