The Art of Aging Gracefully: Capturing the Power of Body, Mind, and Spirit | 55+
Putting your Body, Mind, and Spirit to work in unison can help you live your best life as you age. The physical, mental, and spiritual health and wellness of seniors can play a significant role in quality of life. In a recent interview with AARP, musician Cyndi Lauper, age 64, was asked, “How do you own your age?”. In her response, she voiced her opinion that aging stereotypes should not be a factor in how we perceive ourselves. Instead, we should listen to our “inner selves”. She shared that “You don’t ever have to stop being artistic or developing who you are”, despite your age. Instead, we can view ourselves differently and create new stories of our lives. By changing our mindsets about aging, we can focus on enjoying the process of aging gracefully.
Below are some suggestions for seizing the power of Body, Mind, and Spirit.
- Enjoy balanced, healthy meals- preparing home cooked healthy meals allows you to know exactly what you are putting into your body. Experiment with new flavors using spices and herbs. Be mindful when you are eating. Eat slowly and savor the taste of your food.
- Get enough rest for your body- limit alcohol and caffeine which can disrupt your sleep.
- Exercise- we were born to move. Today’s lifestyle makes it easy to stay stationary. However, healthy movement helps all of your body systems to function properly. Take a walk or hike outdoors, try golf, or take a class such as yoga or senior fitness classes offered by local gyms.
- Relax- Take time to enjoy things that may relax you such as massages and baths. Pets can also help their owners relax, in addition to alleviating depression and loneliness.
- Exposure to natural light- research shows that the benefits of natural light help us in many ways, such as relief from depression as well as getting a better night’s sleep.
- Regular health care visits- have your health care provider review your current medications to ensure that they are not interfering with your body system responses. Stay on top of eye care, hearing, and dental appointments.
- Make healthy choices that will help you avoid diseases- say goodbye to bad habits such as smoking, drinking alcohol, and eating too much sugar.
- Appreciate your body for the things it can do.
- Eat foods that are known to enhance brain health- foods such as avocados, blueberries, salmon, walnuts, and yes, even chocolate are recognized for improving your cognitive health.
- Take a class- you are never too old to learn something new!
- Play games- besides being fun, games can help seniors develop and maintain cognitive functions. Playing games can help build relationships as well.
- Sense of purpose- everyone needs a reason for being engaged in meaningful ways, and seniors are no exception. Many of us choose a career path in life and find that perhaps it didn’t fulfill our sense of purpose. Now is the time to find meaning, purpose, and personal satisfaction in the world around you.
- Limit screen time- too much screen time leads to being sedentary as well as limiting your imagination and takes time away from other activities.
- Limit day sleeping- taking naps can affect the quality of sleep you get at night.
- Hobbies- take up a new hobby, or enjoy the ones you are passionate about and didn’t have time for in the past such as art, music, and engaging in creative outlets.
- Manage stress- Seek professional help if needed. A professional can help you manage the stressors in your life and ultimately reduce anxiety.
- Meditation can help improve the mind’s ability to pay attention. Having faith in something greater than ourselves, gives us assurance that we aren’t alone.
- Enjoy nature- watch the sunrise or sunset, enjoy time on or near the water, go to the mountains. Nature can rejuvenate the spirit, improve memory, and restore energy.
- Volunteering can help fulfill a sense of purpose, help you gain confidence, learn new skills, and become part of a community.
- Forgiveness-forgiving others can offer health benefits such as reducing anxiety, and lowering blood pressure. Life is too short to harbor resentment. It is you who suffers when you can’t forgive others.
- Be thankful- gratitude improves both physical and psychological health. Being thankful can increase mental capacity, improve self-esteem, and even help you sleep better!
- Travel- there are many personal benefits to travel and you don’t have to go far to go somewhere you’ve never been. Travel helps you view the world through a new lens, provides opportunities to meet new people, and can engage all of your senses, allowing you to come home with a new sense of appreciation.
- Learn something new- learning something new can help you maintain a growth mindset. No matter your age, everyone is capable of learning something new. It need not be difficult or complicated. For example, it can be as simple as improving your vocabulary by learning a new word of the day.
- Companionship and friendships help you stay connected instead of isolated and lonely. Staying socially active can help slow cognitive decline.
- Simplify- clearing clutter from your home can help reduce stressors in your life. It can also help you save money when you “need less” in your life. By having less, you can create more time to enjoy life to the fullest.
- Positive affirmations can help you keep a positive outlook. Some studies have shown that optimistic people are happy and healthy people.
Author C.S. Lewis said, “You are never too old to set another goal, or to dream a new dream. Do something you enjoy.” To help balance the trials and tribulations of life, even the smallest of changes in your mindset about aging gracefully can ultimately make a big difference in your quality of life, helping you feel happier and more in control of your world.
Written By: Susan O'Leary
Kensington Gardens Estate Living Retirement Community
Published on Aug 7, 2017.