Aging? Anti-aging? What’s your vocabulary, and what does it say about growing older?
To me, the word aging suggests we’re going in the wrong direction, and anti-aging suggests we’re fighting against it tooth and nail. Neither feels quite right to me.
Instead, I prefer to think in terms of growth. Growing older. Growing wiser. Growing grateful.
Candace Pert’s book, Molecules of Emotion, demonstrates the power of our thinking on our biology. What we think, we become.
As a nutrition and wellness coach, I give my clients tools to make changes not only in their actions but in their thinking and perception of themselves and the world around them.
Many aspects of today’s world disrespect or dismiss the value of older people. To change this attitude, we, as older people, need to step up and behave in ways that show our value and our vitality.
Accepting that we are aging like a piece of fruit that’s been sitting out too long is a disservice to ourselves and to those who can benefit from our life experience.
What would it be like for you – and maybe you are already in this mindset – to feel valued, included and vital, no matter your birthdate? How do you present yourself, so you have a voice that adds value to your world, and a voice that is heard by people of all ages?
Obviously, you need energy to accomplish this.
The Energy Checking Account
Many years ago, I began studying the traditional Chinese medicine approach to health and well-being. I learned that we are born with a certain amount of energy, or chi, and to maintain health and well-being we must always replenish chi because we use it every day to think, work and play.
I think of this replenishment as our chi checking account. Chi goes out, then chi must come in somehow throughout life, or we become weak and unable to function.
Two Key Items in the Chi Account
There are two essential ways you can replenish your chi account:
We breathe, on average, more than 17000 times every 24 hours. The oxygen we breathe nourishes our blood which can then do its work throughout the body.
Imagine the difference in the amount of oxygen you take in if you breathe deeply or if you breathe in shallow breaths. It can make a huge difference in your energy level. Practices like yoga, chi gong, walking, singing and swimming all increase our capacity and can add vitality to your years.
Nutrition, or absorption of nutrients, is the second way you replenish your chi. Are you eating high nutrient foods or settling for take-out and processed foods? Think what happens if you put poor quality gas in your car – it wouldn’t function very well.
Your body won’t either, if you don’t give it high nutrient foods. If you’re not sure where to start, you can find a thorough explanation of food groups, menus, shopping lists and recipes in my book Food Becomes You, written especially for older folks.
Make a commitment to breathe deeply and eat well. It will give you added vitality, clarity of mind and an attitude more tuned into being not just older, but bolder.
If you are disabled in some way, making these two changes will be fine medicine with no side effects. If you are healthy but know you could feel better, making these two changes will give you a new lease on life.
What are some things you will do when you feel bolder, stronger and more vital? What attitudes and biases about growing older would you like to change? Do you find people treat you differently, ignore you, talk down to you? How can changing your own thinking and actions make a difference in how others relate to you? Please share your thoughts and insights below.