Whether we choose to accept it or not, every year we get a little older. Our bodies don’t seem to bounce back from our adventures as easily as they used to. Our reflection in the mirror isn’t quite the same as it once was. But don’t fret… there are ways to take care of our bodies and minds so we grow younger and more joyful.
- Grow Young with Yoga
Practicing yoga is an incredible way to age with grace. The gentle movements improve joint mobility, while building strength and toning our muscles. Balancing poses ensure we remain light on our feet to avoid falls. Stretching our muscles allows us to continue bending over and moving our bodies with ease. Did I mention it’s also a great way to alleviate and avoid pain? The ancient yogis say that doing inversions (going upside down) actually make us grow younger by reversing the effects of gravity on our organs. Sounds pretty good to me!
- Never stop moving
One thing that I’ve learned from my grandparents is how essential it is to never stop moving and exercising. It’s far too easy to get lazy and inactive, which leads to injury and painful joints, weight gain, etc. If we build good habits now, it’s much easier to keep them up later. I’ve seen how 2 of my grandparents continue working out to this day – and they are 90 and 96 years old!! And I’ve also seen how my other grandmother never believed in exercise and now has tremendous difficulty and pain moving around. The choice is obvious… let’s start moving now and never stop!
- Choose to become more joyful
We choose our mood in much the same way we choose what clothes to wear each day. We can’t control all the situations we face in life, but we CAN control our reaction to them. I decided a long time ago that I was going to go through life with a smile on my face instead of a frown… and I do! I purposefully look for things to make me happy. A warm sunny day instantly lifts me up. I savor every bite of the delicious food I prepare for myself at each meal. I look for the good in every situation, and choose to see the difficult times as learning experiences. We only have one life and it’s short, so we should spend it being happy.
- Follow your bliss
This one is easy. Do more of whatever makes you happy. Go outside, paint, spend time with your kids/grandkids, catch up with an old friend, take a bubble bath, enjoy a glass of wine with dinner, bake some cookies, plan a vacation, read a good book, put your toes in the sand, visit a friend, play some ball, practice yoga, go fishing, golf, eat some delicious food… just do it!
- Remove negative people from your life
This can be tricky, but one of the greatest things you can ever do for yourself is to remove negative people and situations from your life. Some people just drag us down and sap our energy. They never feel happy for us, and quite possibly make us feel guilty for having good fortune. Who needs that? As hard as it is, when you let go of relationships that aren’t serving you, it frees you to live a life full of joy and meaning. When we hang out with encouraging people and focus on positive situations, life gets much better.
- Connect to your deepest desires
Deepak Chopra taught me that one of the most important questions we should ask ourselves everyday is “what do I want?” It seems so easy, yet we hardly ever take the time to really ask ourselves this essential question. If you could be truly happy in your life, what does that look like? What do you want? You don’t have to have the answers right now, but if you ask the question with a desire to know, the answers will slowly start coming to you in moments of inspiration. Once you know what you want, it’s easy to start pointing yourself in that direction. This one practice will change your life.
- Change your situation for the better
If there’s an area in your life that you are not happy about, change it. Use the happiness meter to figure out what needs to change in your life. Ask yourself if you feel happy in your relationship, career, living situation, financial situation, etc. If the answer is no, that’s just a sign that it’s time to change something up. A wise man once told me “if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’re only going to get what you’ve already got.” Make the choice to do something different. Something better will be waiting for you.
- Laugh more, stress less
Don’t take yourself so seriously all the time. Let go of that stress and give yourself permission to live a little. Find things to make you laugh and smile each day. Laughing releases endorphins in your body that make you feel good.
- Write down a bucket list and have adventures
What are all the things you want to accomplish during this lifetime? You only have one life, so go out and live it! If there’s a place you’ve always wanted to visit, plan a trip! If you have always wanted to run a marathon, start training. If you want to write a book, start writing. My 89 year old neighbor shared the following amazing wisdom with me that changed the course of my life. He said “If there’s something you want to do, do it now. Don’t wait. Opportunities won’t last forever. One day you’ll be standing here like an old man, looking back at your life, thinking of the things you did do and the things you didn’t do. So if there’s something you want to do, don’t wait. Do it now.” What are you waiting for?