Aging is a beautiful side effect of living
I have been pondering age a whole lot recently. Personally, I have always admired the wisdom and calm of the elderly and as a result have been drawn to, and had the chance to spend a lot of time with the older generation. One of my favorite, and slightly perplexing sayings from when I was a child was “Youth is wasted on the young”. I used to think the message was rather biased and unfair towards the young but I totally understand it now. When we are young, we take certain things for granted and often fail to see the ‘bigger’ picture when it comes to the decisions and choices we make, many of which will impact us as we start aging.
What does being OLD actually mean?
Does age in years necessarily correspond to how we FEEL or what we are capable of?
Is it ever TOO late to turn back time?
Can we keep our YOUTH as we age, or is it inevitable that we lose it?
Does aging mean the same as old?
I believe the answer is whatever you make it.
It is all about your AGITUDE.
If we are lucky, we have the privilege of growing older. Aging is a beautiful thing! Unfortunately, we live in a time and culture where perceptions of aging aren’t very positive and our cultural climate is very youth focused. Youth is considered beautiful whereas aging has a bit of a bad rep. Aging in our society is associated with a loss in health and status. We become a ‘burden’. This is not the case in many parts of the world, where aging is revered. With age comes wisdom and experience that is so beautiful but often disregarded. All this can have a negative impact on how we FEEL about aging, which can influence HOW we age.
Despite this, some people stay young their whole lives. They are young in their attitudes to life, they keep their physical health and mental agility as well as having that ‘zest’ for what life has to offer. Others are old from a young age. Some people accept ‘defeat’ when it comes to their health and lifestyle while they are still young, whereas others live life to the full right till the end of their worldly existence. What do the ‘forever young’ DO that is different to the rest?
I am still young, in my mid-forties. However, I remember FEELING older when I was in my mid-thirties. I had less energy, was overweight, and for a while, felt like the ‘best’ was surely over, the peak had been reached and all was destined to go downhill from that point. Sounds ridiculous to me now! So, if we are able to FEEL younger when we are indeed older, what does that tell us about aging? What it tells us is that there are things we can DO to change how we feel as we age. And it doesn’t matter where you are at, you can implement these action steps at any age and experience improvement in our health and attitude. Remember it is all about YOUR progress so the starting point is irrelevant. It is never too late and it is ALWAYS worth striving to be the best you can be.
ACTION STEPS TO A GREAT AGITUDE:
1) Reduce your STRESS. Stress causes changes in your body that can result in premature aging and chronic illness so give yourself a break!
2) Practice MINDFULNESS in everything you do. Learn to live in the moment.
3) Do YOGA. You are never too old to start. Yoga will help you in more ways than you can imagine and you DO NOT have to be flexible to start. Over time, yoga will make you more flexible and emerging research shows that flexibility is immensely important to your health, in particular your cardiovascular health (1). In addition, yoga goes way beyond the physical and will help your overall health and wellbeing immensely.
4) MOVE! Every day, aim to get your heart rate up. Whether you go for a brisk walk, a swim or a Zumba class, just do it.
5) LOVE others and love yourself. Spend time with people (and/or animals) you care about and treat yourself as you would a loved one – it has to begin and end with YOU.
6) BE KIND to yourself – positive self-image helps a great deal when it comes to your attitude in general. Don’t use negative self-talk. Imagine you are speaking to your child or best friend when you speak to yourself. You wouldn’t say hurtful or negative things to your child or best friend would you?
7) Eat more GOOD FATS – Eating plenty healthy fats helps reduce inflammation which is a major cause (if not THE underlying cause) of most chronic illness. Good fats help your brain function and all the cells of your body stay young and keep your skin looking and feeling healthy as you age (2).
8) Be GRATEFUL for and focus on the good things in your life. This creates a positive feedback loop that feeds into everything you do.
9) LAUGH. Laughter is great medicine. Literally. Research shows that laughter can reduce stress hormones and enhance immune function (3) both of which are important if you want to age well.
10) Learn to EMBRACE change. Life is full of changes and learning to not only endure changes, but to actually embrace them will help you stay positive about the aging process and all that comes with it. Here is a great resource that will help you with this aspect of aging and life in general.
Yours in peace, love and HEALTH
1) Khalsa, Dr. Soram. "The Flexibility of Your Body Correlates With the Flexibility of Your Arteries." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 17 Nov. 2011. Web. 18 Nov. 2016. Link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-soram-khalsa/yoga-health-the-flexibili_b_570848.html
2) Www.SuperChargedFood.com. "Good Fats For Successful Aging." FOOD MATTERS®. N.p., 12 Jan. 2014. Web. 18 Nov. 2016. Link: http://www.foodmatters.com/article/good-fats-for-successful-aging
3) "The Laughing Cure." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2016. Link: http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/laughing-cure?page=2
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