Why just survive as you age when you can thrive?

The human body is a beautiful, intricate system that functions at its best when we consciously care for each part of the whole: our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual self. If we neglect even just one seemingly small part of our body’s system, our whole body tends to not function at its highest potential. So, to enjoy a long, healthy and vibrant life, I suggest you develop and maintain those four key areas by incorporating these 10 tips.

  1. Love yourself – Aging well begins and ends with love. Practice giving and receiving love; it will change your life. Embracing and sharing love is the key to living well and maintaining a youthful spirit.
  2. Keep learning – Stay informed about current issues, technology and health trends. Be open and willing to meet new people. Travel to unknown destinations. Read and learn something new each day. Learning keeps your brain active and sharp.
  3. Laugh – Laughter really is great medicine because it’s a natural stress reducer. Laughing releases chemicals in our bodies that can drive away pain and fear, two emotions usually associated with aging, so laugh often. If you have to, buy a laugh: Rent a movie.
  4. Exercise – Keep your feet moving daily. Impaired mobility and balance are top aging concerns, for good reason. Daily exercise and foot care are extremely important because your feet make movement possible. Benefits of regular exercise include less depression, increased alertness, clearer thinking, improved ability to handle stress, and enjoyment of a positive mood. Start now, get moving, dance and kick up your heels.
  5. Eat well and healthy – Learn about antioxidants, phytonutrients and essential fatty acids; consume them every day. Prepare or buy savory food for yourself, and enjoy. Make mealtime a pleasure. Avoid eating in front of the TV while you watch stressful news.
  6. Sleep more – Rest has been shown to be vital to our bodies’ recuperative powers. Sleep seven or eight hours at night, in a dark room. Studies have shown that our bodies create melatonin, a sleep hormone, which is triggered by darkness. Be kind to yourself: Get more rest.
  7. Floss your teeth – Dental health and heart disease have been scientifically related to one another. The American Heart Association recommends flossing to help prevent heart disease. Dentists agree that after each meal is the best time to floss, but if choosing just one time daily, commit to flossing before bedtime.
  8. Treat and heal depression – Depression is a true and treatable medical condition, not a normal part of aging. It’s the number one illness we suffer as we age. Loss is very prevalent in the aging process. Fight back. Seek grief resources. Stay connected to other people who benefit from and enjoy your company. It will be a toss-up as to who will benefit the most.
  9. De-mess to de-stress – Reduce stress by filling your space with beauty. Beauty comes from passion. Find your passion and practice it. Organize possessions, papers and parameters to make room for peace and patience in your life. If your clutter and mess overwhelms you, hire a professional organizer to help you.
  10. Connect deeply with your spiritual self – Pray or meditate daily. Research shows that people who meditate and/or pray, or have a spiritual practice also have positive brain changes. Connecting with your spiritual self can be as simple as starting your day with affirmations of gratitude or working in your garden.

These 10 tips are just a few of the many easy yet powerful ways you can take control of your own aging process. Growing older is inevitable, yet we have many choices when it comes to deciding how and how well we will embrace aging.

A day in the life of a healthy aging individual

Mornings

  • Awaken after 8 hours of restful sleep
  • 30 minutes of meditation/prayer
  • Quick morning stretch/exercise
  • Healthy breakfast
  • While driving, listen to music or CD of inspirational teaching

Daytime

(If you’re employed)

  • Laugh with a coworker
  • Enjoy a 15-minute walk near your place of business
  • Eat a healthy lunch
  • Unclutter your office space and have pictures, objects that inspire you
  • Stand up often from your desk to get your circulation moving

(If you’re retired)

  • Eat a healthy lunch
  • Take a long walk or exercise at gym or fitness center
  • Meet or talk with friends or family
  • Take a class online or at university
  • Volunteer at a shelter or church

Nighttime

  • Enjoy a healthy, savory dinner away from the TV
  • Read or work a puzzle
  • Watch a little TV
  • Floss before bed
  • Say 5 ways you are grateful for your life
  • Get a good night of restful sleep

Joyce Dillon, RN, MN, BCC, is the founder of Joyce Dillon Inc. She is a certified life and wellness coach, holistic nurse, author and intuitive painter. She is an expert in helping professional midlife people who feel stuck to get clear on their life vision and how to accelerate change. Joyce hosts workshops, painting classes and retreats.