Listen to “5 Essential Tips for Aging Consciously”.
Doctors warn that some people are in fact so obsessed with achieving eternal youth that they are becoming psychologically damaged as a result.
What if we, instead, learn to embrace aging as a part of life’s journey? Could there be such a thing as aging gracefully and consciously? What if we could switch from challenging dominant cultural norms and entrenched anti-aging messages, to feeling comfortable in our own skin as the decades pass.
Conscious ageing is about realising the potential of your later years by finding your purpose in life, growing as a person, and serving your community.
The third phase of life is a great opportunity for spiritual, emotional, and psychological growth. It’s a time to celebrate your life’s journey and harvest the wisdom of your experiences by sharing the meaningful aspects with others.
In our youth-obsessed culture, there is a lot of fear and anxiety about growing older. Until very recently, most of the attention has been focused on retirement options, health care challenges, medical ethics, and research on the biology of ageing and the issues of prolonging life. However, ageing is an unavoidable part of the human condition and there are a variety of things we can expect to happen to us as we age physically.
Rather than feeling like it’s all downhill, we could switch our mindsets to say “there is no time left to waste.” The new journey for us can become, “how do I age consciously, mindfully, and with intent?”
Clinical psychologist Rick Hanson noted that, when we reflect on our lives, we can see them as an opportunity to experience the fullness of who we are. In his words:
‘‘If you know the movie is going to come to an end, it really motivates you to make it as good a movie as possible and to enjoy it as much as you can’’ (Hanson, 2011).
In the move towards conscious ageing, life itself becomes the primary practice; whether or not a formal practice remains a part of the process. Rethinking the ageing process starts with awareness, slowing down and taking stock.
Want to enjoy a longer, healthier and more vibrant life? Try implementing some of the following practices into your daily routine:
- Love yourself: Ageing well begins and ends with love. Practice giving and receiving love; it will change your life! Embracing and sharing love is the key to living well and maintaining a youthful spirit.
- Laugh: Laughter really is the best medicine as it naturally reduces stress. Laughing releases chemicals in our bodies that can drive away pain and fear, two emotions usually associated with ageing, so laugh often!
- Exercise: Stay mobile! Impaired mobility and balance are major ageing concerns for a reason. The benefits of regular exercise include less depression, increased alertness, clearer thinking, improved ability to handle stress, and the enjoyment of being positive. Remember to track your activity though, to help yourself to stay motivated.
- Eat well and healthily:
Prepare, or buy, savoury food for yourself to enjoy. Make mealtimes a pleasure and avoid eating in front of the TV while watching stressful news programs.
- Meditate: Live in a state of gratitude and appreciation. Gratitude isn’t just in our heads. It takes root in our hearts and our senses, from one beautiful moment to the next.
‘Live as if you were to die tomorrow,
Learn as if you were to live forever.’
— Mahatma Gandhi