Age Gracefully

How do you feel about someday turning sixty, seventy, or eighty? Perhaps you struggle to imagine yourself growing older. Maybe you're not looking forward to your golden years. Aging, for many, includes becoming inactive and experiencing failing health. However, you can retain your vigor and enjoy a positive existence, if you wish.

Apply These Strategies:

1. Have something to look forward to. Being involved in hobbies and activities alone and with others can bring joyful anticipation into your life. When you have something to dream about, your mind is actively thinking and looking ahead.

2. Allow yourself to experience excitement and awe. One of the things that hamper us is the idea that we're not supposed to experience excitement as we did when we were kids. However, you can choose to notice things that make you feel that special "Wow" feeling. And when you find them, let yourself feel those wonderful feelings.

3. Be as physically active as possible. Whether you're twenty-five, forty-five, or sixty-five, recognize the importance of moving your body. As you age, the best way to ensure your body will keep working for you is to be as active as you can each day.

4. Stay curious. Strive to learn something new each day. Exposing yourself to new knowledge has been shown to deter the development of various cognitive dysfunctions associated with aging.

   * Learning ensures you put on your thinking cap and stretch your mind. In essence, make it a point to consistently learn new information.   

5. Consistently have things to do. When you remain busy, you'll feel more actively involved. And having connections with others to talk to, spend time with, and explore new things with will keep you young.

6. Strive to eliminate (or minimize) stress from your life. The deleterious effects of stress are well-known. You'll be stronger cognitively and you'll likely live longer when you learn to manage your stress effectively. Make alterations to your schedule. Choose to hang out with positive individuals. Live a life of integrity and truth. Take care of your body and soul.

   * When you're aging gracefully, there's little room for stress.

7. Have gratitude. Each year that you celebrate means you're alive. Others may not have been so blessed. Take a moment each day to be thankful for whatever you have.

8. Surround yourself with family and good friends. As you age, you'll recognize that connections with those you love and who love you are the most important treasures you'll ever have. Your job, money, or fancy possessions won't replace them. Keep your connections with close and extended family members and friends as strong as possible

9. Share kindness and understanding. Rather than becoming cranky or demanding as you age, emphasize the good inside you by being caring towards others. Showing a compassionate side keeps you young. Others will be drawn to you and your kind nature.

10. Remind yourself of your options. You determine the direction you're heading in life. Revel in the idea that you have the power to navigate however and wherever you see fit. 

   * Own your choices. If you're living in the city and working sixty hours a week now, is that what you want to do? As you age, you'll become more aware of how you're spending your time. Make choices that are best for you.

11. Discover and maintain a healthy lifestyle. When you come to terms with the idea that you want to live as long as possible, you'll begin to clean up your lifestyle in certain areas.

   * Exercise consistently.

   * Allow yourself "down" time to relax. 

   * Follow healthy nutritional guidelines to build a strong body.

Aging gracefully will pay off in spades. Start now by applying these strategies in your life. Here's to living long and prospering!

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