Ageing is a fact of life and it happens to everyone, so why not take a new approach and embrace the ageing process? Once that first Gray hair appears or we notice that first wrinkle, we start the war on ageing. Perhaps it is time to try a new approach. Rather than fight a war, partnering with our bodies and minds and working with them to keep them healthy and happy long into our older years can lead to greater happiness, satisfaction, and longer life. As we grow old, it is vital that we understand, embrace and accept the ageing process.
What happens to our bodies as we age?
Ageing is a subtle, quiet process that first shows up with a little weight gain, awakening in the middle of the night or feeling a little stiff when we arise in the morning. WebMD notes that we are at our peak function in our 30s but quotes Dr. Kenneth Minnaker, Chief of Geriatric Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, as saying "Aging is a life-saving process. It is a process of lifelong adaptation to prevent us from developing cancers that would kill us." There are changes that occur gradually and are nothing to worry about, while some other sudden changes should prompt a visit to your physician. Most aging people notice changes in their vision, hearing, strength and stamina first. We may find that we develop high blood pressure, anaemia and even memory loss as we age. Discuss any of these changes with your physician and once you have learned that the changes you experience are normal, embrace the process and age with grace.
Are there positive things that happen as we age?
The answer is YES! This article from Slow Aging gives us ten positive reasons to embrace aging.
- Insecurities fall aside and we become more open to trying new things which means we can make new friends, have new adventures and enjoy sharing new experiences.
- We throw unrealistic expectations out the door and realise that we do not have to be perfect. Near enough becomes good enough.
- We discover we want to live the best life possible with the time we have left, so we start to think more positively.
- Positive memories start to take on more importance and become more prevalent in our minds while the negative memories take a back seat.
- We appreciate the little things. Little changes make big impacts on our lives making them easier and better.
- We trust more as we experience new things and make new friends. Our rose-coloured-glasses of experience help us see that we are all in this thing together.
- We become more emotionally intelligent. This means we are better able to release our negative emotions, regulate our reactions and deal with our feelings in more productive ways.
- Our health takes centre stage. We have no choice but to realise that we must eat better and exercise. As we start to see friends and family succumb to illness and disease, we know that taking better care of ourselves is hugely important.
- We start to understand how important our work and social networks are to our well-being. These relationships support us and encourage us as we move through our life stages.
- As we begin to realise our years and days are numbered, we start to reflect on our lives, our accomplishments and consider how we are perceived and how we will be remembered.
All of these little things work together to help us remember how really wonderful our lives have been and how very important it is to make changes that allow us to continue to have an impact and enjoy the time we have!
What can I do to help myself embrace ageing?
As we have discovered what happens to us physically and emotionally, there are steps we can take to age with more grace as we embrace the process. At this point in our lives, it is most important to change our focus to be happier mentally, emotionally and physically. Studies have shown that older people are happier for the reasons listed above, but you can take steps to improve your happiness and your life.
Most important of all, continue to stay active!
• Exercise - take walks, practise yoga, take a class, or just do something to get your blood flowing. Endorphins are released and you will feel a natural high as a result. Keep your mind active too.
• Take up a craft - start a home business, take classes or just follow your passion and do something with your mind. Look for ways to improve your positive outlook.
• Try volunteering - adopt a pet and surround yourself with people who make you feel good. Laugh a lot and realise that humour is often the best medicine for what ails us.
• Take care of your body - including your skin so that you look and feel healthier. Follow this with rest. Everyone needs to sleep a minimum of 7 to 8 hours nightly. Set aside this time for your body to relax, regenerate and heal.
Learning to live in a way that embraces the ageing process can make us healthier, stronger and happier. For more information and to learn more about ageing and how to help others and yourself embrace it, contact us.