Getting Older – Part 3

Getting Older – Part 3

by Dr Emma Gray - 17th November, 2014

Parts one and two of this blog introduced some key psychological features that can enable us to embrace the inevitability of getting older; self esteem and regret. This final part looks in details at two further aspects, role and thinking styles.

1. Role

As human being we need a purpose in life, a role. This does not mean that this role should define us, this in fact this is a risky strategy as over a life time roles changes, if one particular role (e.g. being a mother) is inextricably tied to our self esteem as time passes and what is required of us from others changes (e.g. our children grow up) we will be left in a vulnerable position, with no platform for our self esteem.

Instead our role(s) in life should be clearly defined so affording us a sense of purpose, focusing our mind and creating opportunities for goal driven behaviour and the experience of achievement but it should form only a part of how we evaluate of our value. Otherwise we will find that we have put all our eggs in one basket and as time moves on and what is needed from us shifts, we will be left feelings unimportant and unfulfilled with an unbalanced focus on the past and ‘better times’.

2. Thinking

The way that we think about things effects how we feel and what we do. If our thoughts are an accurate representation of the way and offer us a helpful way forward we will find ourselves in a strong position for dealing with challenges and change including ageing. However, if our thoughts are inaccurate and prevent problem solving and coping we will find ourselves struggling with anxiety and depression and behaving in self defeating ways. In this state of mind the challenges that the ageing process presents can seem insurmountable.

For help and advice about dealing with getting older and associated mental health problems contact The British CBT & Counselling Service.

To recap the previous parts of this article, click below to navigate.


Dr Emma Gray

Dr Emma Gray

I am often the first person with whom my patients share significant and intimate thoughts and memories; I never take that privileged position for granted nor the opportunity to help someone to feel better about themselves and discover a more fulfilling life. One of my colleague once described me as natural psychologist; I guess she was alluding to the fact that I feel at ease being a therapist, I can empathise with people’s distress and discomfort but don’t feel overwhelmed by it, I can understand their problem and know how to help, it has always just felt like what I should be doing.


Read more about my approach to counselling here...


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