A large part of one’s lifestyle includes attitudes, habits and beliefs. Most of us have the idea that aging and getting older means being limited in ability, activity and passion for life. As a result of holding those ideas as true, for many people the aging process essentially becomes one of preparing to die.
We propose the idea that “old” is a state of mind. One way to counteract the limiting beliefs & attitudes about the aging process and to feel younger is to not hold yourself as old. When we are young, the newness of the world and the first experiences we have with life are exciting and fresh. As we age, we absorb ideas such as turning 50 means you are “over the hill” and that being a responsible adult doesn’t include expressions of boisterous enthusiasm for life that we let ourselves experience in our youth. However, when you are simply living your life and not judging yourself for the way you are, you are not defined by your age, or anything else.
In our award-winning book, “Working On Yourself Doesn’t Work: The 3 Simple Ideas that will Instantaneously Transform Your Life,” we elaborate on our approach, which is based in awareness. We define awareness as a non-judgmental seeing of what is. So rather than judging ourselves through the framework of age and how we ‘should’ be at a certain age, we suggest taking an anthropological approach, where you observe your thoughts, actions and feelings neutrally, without judgment, as if you are studying a culture of one: yourself. In this framework, you discover the being that you are, rather than the age. You discover that you are not your story or your thoughts.
Another way that lifestyle can affect our aging process – and that will maintain your enthusiasm and vitality regardless of your age – is having fun! As people are living longer these days (in a recent study, the life expectancy for babies born in the United States in 2006 hit a new record of 78 years), the ability to actually enjoy your life is key. In these complex times it’s easy to forget to have fun in your life and many people may even feel it’s irresponsible to have fun in such times. However, humor and laughter not only relieve stress and worry, they are anti-aging facilitators that support physical, mental and spiritual well-being.