I firmly believe that each day we are either growing older or growing younger. Our direction is determined by our mindset, our habits, and our attitude. If you fear that you’re headed in the wrong direction, I hope you’ll let this be your wake-up call. There are things you can do to stay young – physically and mentally. Below are 14 of my favorite age busters.
You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair. – Douglas MacArthur
- First and foremost, realize that age is just a number. There are young 75 year olds and old 25 year olds. What’s more, they say today’s 50 is yesterday’s 40. Don’t get caught up in a number, get caught up in living.
- Never let a bad mood linger. Everyone has bad days. It’s called life. Here’s the trick: Shake it off and move on. Bitterness and regret are huge agers. Huge.
- KEEP LEARNING. So important! You’re familiar with the saying, “A body in motion stays in motion,” right? Well the same is most definitely true about the brain. Keep it active, keep it young. See how many new things you can learn each day. Learn about the computer, birds, the Civil War, gardening, ancient China, baseball… anything and everything. Bonus points if you choose a subject you, literally, know next to nothing about. Throw your brain a curve ball by serving up information about a particularly random subject. Your brain loves curve balls and it’ll reward you long term with youthful mental fitness.
- Laugh daily. In fact, laugh as often during the day as you possibly can! Laughing feels good, sounds good, and looks good. What’s more, it keeps you young. It truly is the best medicine and one that should be taken, not just daily, but throughout the day.
- My family knows that I’m all about the phrase “Live, Love, Laugh.” To me, that just about sums it all up. The living part may be obvious, and laughter was #4. But what about love? Do you, honestly, look for as many things and people to love as you possibly can? Or do you tend to look for people to judge and things to criticize? If this is the case, you’re on a slippery slope to becoming a old curmudgeon! That’s sad, in and of itself, but it’s doubly sad when you realize this: People avoid grouches and laugh about them behind their back. What part of that sounds appealing? Be kind, friendly, and as positive as often as you possibly can. While you should tell the people you love that you love them as often as possible, you should show them even more frequently.
- Fill your life and fill your home with things that make you smile. Birds and squirrels make me smile – my yard (thanks to many squirrel and bird feeders) is filled with them. Each glance out a window is a smile waiting to happen. Smiles are good. Smiles will keep you young.
- Your health is a gift. Eat right, exercise, and have regular checkups. This goes for optometrists and dentists, as well as family doctors. If you’re capable of using a computer, you’re certainly capable of knowing what foods and activities are healthy and which ones are not. Get rid of the bad habits once and for all. Eating right and getting plenty of activity make you feel better, give you more energy.
- Ladies, paint those nails whether you’re 18 or 81. Go bright, go bold.
- Stop being so hard on yourself and stop stressing over little things. So you go to bed with dishes in the sink. Big deal!
- Believe. I’d rather spend my life with someone who believes in just about everything than to spend one hour with someone who doesn’t believe in anything. The believer is always looking forward with expectation and excitement. The believer has hope and a positive force that surrounds them – so much so that you can feel it. The doubter lives in hopelessness, surrounded by a negative force that you, unfortunately, can also feel.
- Don’t focus on the negative. Focusing our attention on anything gives it more power. Have you ever watched Dual Survival? On just about every show, the guys use a piece of glass to “focus” the sun’s rays on something flammable. The “focal point” is so intense that, more times than not, sparks appear and a fire grows. There’s a great deal of power in focusing, so doesn’t it make sense to focus on things that are positive and constructive? When you look in the mirror, do you focus on the negative or the positive? When you pull up in your driveway, do you see the bad or the good when you look at your home? As glass affects flammable material, the way we view the world affects our lives. I’m sure you have seen this play out in the lives of people around you. Don’t positive people seem to be healthier, more youthful, and happier while their negative (sometimes to the point of being excessively bitter) counterparts seem older, sickly and miserable?
- Instead of judging or ridiculing kids, enjoy them! Pick up on their youthful vibes and let them see that you’re one very cool adult. I get a huge kick out of young people and hope I never, ever get so old that I don’t enjoy their company.
- Loneliness is a cruel ager. If you feel lonely a great deal of time, do something about it. As we harped on in #11, whatever you do, don’t dwell on it. That’s just opening the door and inviting bitterness and misery to come in and stay. If loneliness is a real problem for you, please make today the day you find your solution. If you have family and friends near, invite them over for dinner. Even if it’s just dessert, bait your hook with chocolate and extend the invitation. Just DO NOT go on and on to them about how lonely you are. People avoid guilt trips even more than they avoid grouches. Be upbeat and positive – the sort of person others are drawn to. If the people in your life are seemingly just too busy to “be there for you,” PLEASE go to your local shelter and adopt a dog or cat. Trust me, they’ll never be too busy for you! What’s more, your loneliness will hightail it out of town. A lot of pet stores actually get their dogs and cats from local shelters, so you can check them as well. My daughter got a beautiful little black kitten from PetSmart in Owensboro – she was a shelter baby. Today, she’s someone’s baby.
- They say you’re only as young as you feel. I believe that 100 percent. I also believe that you’re only as old as you keep telling yourself. Stop using the words “old” or “getting old” – don’t use them in with yourself and don’t use them with your spouse. I heard a man tell his wife the other day, “You’re getting old.” I thought (first of all), “You’re at least her age, buddy boy.” Then, I thought, “Keep telling her that and you’ll hasten her trip.” Throw the word out of your vocabulary and out of your life.
In the central place of every heart there is a recording chamber. So long as it receives a message of beauty, hope, cheer, and courage – so long are you young. When the wires are all down and our heart is covered with the snow of pessimism and the ice of cynicism, then, and only then, are you grown old. – Douglas MacArthur