How Our Attitude Ages Us by Mariel Witmond
How can our attitude age us?
Our inner reality reflects our outer experiences. The way we think affects our health and happiness, and studies show that our mindset can impact how fast or slow we age, and as a result how long we live. Aging isn’t just a thing of the body, it’s how we choose to live.
There’s no doubt that as time passes, we feel the impacts of aging. Things don’t move quite like they used to. Our skin begins to show signs of thinning and wrinkles. Our memory may start to wane. But it’s our mindset that determines our outlook and attitude. If you buy into the idea that old people are a certain way (less able or mobile, forgetful, etc) then it creates a sort of self fulfilling prophecy for how you yourself will age. The limits we set for ourselves can be truly detrimental to our wellbeing.
Why do some of us develop an ‘older’ mindset as we age?
There are age stereotypes that, if we buy into, become our truths. When we resign ourselves to “getting old”, we might stop focussing on the things that could help keep us “young”. Whereas if we were to challenge the status quo, we might work harder – not just to remain younger – but to live healthier longer. There is something to be said for aging gracefully, but when we just settle for what is, in a way we start to give up. It can slow us down, create limiting beliefs and even make us sick.
Additionally, when we lose someone close to us, their age can become a marker for us subconsciously of what we consider to be “old”. As we approach a similar age, we buy into the narrative we have created that we are reaching the end of the line, even though that may not be true for us. Again, we may give in to our assumed fate.
How can an ‘older’ attitude impact our wellbeing?
Where the mind goes, action follows and if we have an “older” attitude, that drive to action may subside. It’s not what happens to us but how we respond to what happens and an older attitude can keep us stuck longing for the past, resigned to the future, and unable to embrace a youthful mindset in the present.
An older attitude may create more stress and studies show that stress floods the body with inflammatory chemicals that age our bodies and cause us to get sick.
What we believe, we can manifest into reality. If we think age looks and feels a certain way, we will create that reality for ourselves.
How can a younger attitude make us appear more youthful, no matter how our outward appearance has aged?
A simple shift in our mindset can alter the course of our lives and how much of that life we have left to live. We can improve the quality of our lives as we age by improving our mindset. We have a conscious choice in how we choose to perceive time. Our bodies can influence our minds, but the same can be said for the other way around. What we believe we achieve, and if you believe you can continue to do things despite your age, you will – which is what keeps us appearing more youthful regardless of age.
Everything is energy, and if the energy we are giving out is one of youthfulness, then that is how it will be received by those around us. People who are young at heart exude a youthfulness that defies age.
How can we age-proof our attitude? (please provide 6 ways and for each around 100 words on how it works with suggested ways on how to adopt this practice into your life)
- Learn new things – The more we can be encouraged to learn new things, the more active we keep our mind and the more we cultivate a sense of purpose – which keeps us wanting to learn and contribute more to society. This in turn prompts us into regular action that defies age. It is never too late to try or start something new. Read new books, try new hobbies, take new classes – anything that keeps you wanting more of what life has to offer.
- Stay active – staying physically active not only positively impacts our body, but the act of being active releases endorphins that can help us maintain a positive outlook on life and relieve stresses that age us. You can stay active by taking daily walks that help to also clear the mind of overwhelming thoughts, or practicing yoga, which is not only beneficial to the body but also encourages us to cultivate healthy practices for the mind. Whatever activities you choose to do, try to make them into regular, healthy habits.
- Stay connected – We are social beings. Staying connected has many mental and physical health benefits. Studies show that our social relationships can help us to live longer. Isolation can cause us increased stress, which keeps us in states of fight or flight, overwhelming our bodies with hormones that cause inflammation and increase the risk of things like high blood pressure, heart disease, dementia and more. Being a part of a collective makes us feel like we are a part of something larger than ourselves and helps to give us a sense of identity. Strengthen relationships with your family and friends by regularly staying in touch, planning activities together, exploring new hobbies, traveling and even embracing social media.
- Be grateful – When we are able to acknowledge and embrace the fact that we are aging and this is a part of life, we can look at the life we have lived and what we have with gratitude. There is abundance in gratitude and always more to be found when we are grateful, and that’s what we create for our future – a mindset of abundance. By seeing all the good in our lives, we can remove ourselves from the endless need to strive for or seek more, and instead understand that everything we need already exists within us. This in turn will help us worry less and think positively more. Try using a gratitude journal to get into the habit of writing out all of the things you are grateful for and in time your mind will start to do this on its own.
- Practice mindfulness & meditation – Meditation has been shown to slow down the age-related decline of gray matter in our brains. It can reduce cortisol and age-accelerating biochemicals, quite literally keeping our brain younger. It not only helps us to feel younger from the inside out, but it has also been known to increase collagen – making us look younger too! Mindfulness and meditation help us to pay attention to our thoughts, our inner realities that inform our outer experiences. By being calmer, more aware and centered, we can learn to become happier and remain in more youthful states of being. Start paying attention to your thoughts and carving out moments in your day for a meditation practice. It doesn’t even have to be anything excessive to be beneficial. Start with 5-10 minutes a day and gradually increase.
- Keep a positive mindset – Studies show that people with more positive mindsets do in fact live several years longer. Our minds are malleable. If we can learn to drop the stereotypes we have around aging, we can adopt more positive ways of how we view growing older and develop better resilience skills that enable us to maintain a youthful mindset. Surround yourself with positive people, who uplift and support you. Mind how you speak of yourself and of aging. Listen to positive podcasts. Remember that you become what you focus on.