January 24

WTF is Aging Well? Change the Narrative and Thrive!



WTF is aging well?

After all, aging is easy to understand: time goes by and you get older. But what’t the “well” part all about?

Does it require running marathons? Does it require plastic surgery? Does it require perfect health?

In this article I’m going to share with you my perspective on how to make the most of whatever the reality of aging you happen to be experiencing.

Because in the end, aging well is about living well, not about living perfectly.

Of all the self-fulfilling prophecies in our culture the assumption that aging means decline and poor health is probably the deadliest.” ~ Marilyn Ferguson

We know that the number of people living longer is increasing dramatically.

But are they living well?

The archaic views of old age that this is a time when we are going to be on a downward spiral is no longer valid. Now we need to replace this way of with a positive mindset that focuses instead on what is possible.

“A human being would certainly not grow to be 70 or 80 years old if this longevity had no meaning for the species to which he belongs. The afternoon of human life must also have a significance of its own and cannot be merely a pitiful appendage to life’s morning.”  ~Carl Jung

Aging well or successful aging has been defined as “the ability to maintain low risk of disease-related disability, high mental and physical function, and active engagement with life” (Rowe and Kahn 1998, p. xii).

This is so true.

We all know people who look young for 70 and old for 50. My ex-husband is 76 years old, and I swear he looks 90! 😉

My good friend’s husband is in his early 80’s and lives like a man of 60.

Why this disparity of realities?

I believe it’s their mind set. They both look at their lives differently. My ex stopped working in his 50’s and didn’t take good care of himself. My friend’s husband still works and is very active.

For myself, I started going down a path of giving in to what I believed aging was meant to be.

I just accepted that the deterioration of my mind and body and social life was inevitable until I died. I was depressed for several years until I realized it was all in my head.

This didn’t need to be my reality.

It dawned on me that I could actually change my thoughts from, “my life is on a downward spiral” to “I can actually live my best life now.”

“Age is no barrier. It’s a limitation you put on your mind.” ~Jackie Joyner-Kersee

I want you to see what’s possible for you, and how this time can absolutely be the best time of your life.

Getting older is inevitable (and certainly better than the alternative).

We know you can’t control your age. Nor can you control all the health and life challenges you face along the way. However, studies have shown you can slow the decline of aging with smart choices made as time goes by.

From choosing a healthy lifestyle, to your relationships, to your work, and engagement in life— it all has an effect on how fast or slow your body ages and your general sense of well being.

Keep reading for simple ways to keep your body fit, your mind sharp. and live your life to its fullest.

The good news is that it’s never too late to get started.

No matter what age you are right now, whether 50 or 80, you can be your best self at that age.

“Aging is inevitable, but getting “old” is entirely optional!” ― Lisa Levine

There are three areas related to successful aging that we need to concentrate on:

  1. Maintaining your health and your ability to function well.
  2. Brain health or cognitive function such as memory, and decision-making.
  3. Emotional health, being in control of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Being active and engaged.

So here we go.

Here are my 10 tips to age gracefully:

  1. Keep a positive mindset. See the beauty in your life and not just your challenges. I have Parkinson and I choose not to concentrate on that but rather on improving my health daily. I focus on growth as a person. When you always seek to improve you really never get old.
  2. Prioritize both mental and physical health. If you do nothing else in your day at the very least do the things that are good for you.
  3. Get regular exercise. This can not be overstated. Getting exercise not only improves your physical health but your mental health as well. Make sure to do a combination of aerobic, weight training, and some form of stretching like yoga. I find starting out your day with exercise is a good way to get out of the way so you don’t spend the day talking yourself out of it. But do it at the time that works for you and keep that time sacred.
  4. Be current with your doctor and dentist appointments. By doing this, it will help you detect health issues before they become a problem. This way you can make sure that your health remains as optimum as possible.
  5. Get a good, qualitative night’s sleep. I know it gets harder for some people as they age but practicing sleep hygiene will help with that.
  6. Eat a balanced, healthy diet. The saying you are what you eat is very true. Eating good quality, unprocessed food from the various food groups will aid you in achieving good health.
  7. Stay connected to your loved ones and friends. Being active and engaged will keep your life vibrant and happy. It also has a direct impact on your physical and cognitive health.
  8. Learn something new everyday. This is important to cognitive health and will help keep your mind nimble. Doing different puzzles daily also helps.
  9. Do things that bring you joy. This is when you have more time for fun. Laughing is important to our well being.
  10. Enjoy the moment. Stop regretting the past and worrying about the future. Be here now and fully engaged in what you are doing.

Remember this can be a wonderful time in your life.

Expect it to be good, and live your life to the fullest. And remember, aging well can mean whatever you decide for it to mean for you.

You can’t wish away problems, sicknesses or lost loved ones. However, you can face the inevitable obstacles with dignity, aplomb and the best attitude possible. Life was not always easy when you were young either.

Focus on creating the life you desire and believe that it is possible.

The worst that can happen is that you’ll die with a smile on your face!

About the author 

Maria Pesin

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