Life Lessons

Life Lessons: 10 smartest decisions after 40

Life Lessons: turning 40

For most women, 40 and beyond brings lots of changes.

Maybe the kids are gone, maybe you want to change careers, or maybe you just want to live for you.

Psychotherapist Tina Tessina says there are 10 smart decisions a woman can make after the age of 40.

"That's, for most women, a really changeable time of life," says Tessina.

First, make your life your own and second, change your life roles.

"It's a good time to reevaluate, but it's also a time when women feel empowered to start living for themselves instead of everybody else," Dr. Tessina explains

Decision number three is to revitalize your career or start a new one.

People aged 55 to 64 start about 23 percent of all new businesses in the U.S.

"I've done a lot of reinventing," Tessina says. "I do it every chance I get."

Decision four: focus on friendships.

Women with extensive social networks have lower blood pressure, less diabetes, less heart disease, and half as many strokes.

Also, get healthy!

Regular exercise may lower the risk of breast cancer by 37 percent, osteoporosis by 45 percent and heart disease by 14 percent.

Decision six: Secure your financial position.

Nine out of 10 women will be solely responsible for their finances at some point in their lives.

Next, decide to be who you might have been.

"I think everything you've learned up until now is useful and you might want to tweak it a little," Tessina explains

Decision eight: Have fun!

People who have regular fun are 20-times more likely to feel happy.

Number nine: Create joy and meaning in your life.

One study found people who reported a sense of direction and meaning had stronger immune systems than those who were just "happy."

The last decision: Give back.

"At 40 or after, you've got a lot of wisdom and a whole lot of experience," Tessina says.

"It's time for you to mentor somebody, to give something back."

Women over 40 should also remember to get regular health checks.

Among other tests, they should get an eye exam every two to four years, a pap smear every one to three years, a mole check every year, and a mammogram every one to two years.

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