Live Younger Longer
By: Roselyn Poon
Aging is inevitable however old age is optional, and the reason why is because it is personal. You have the option to decide if you are old or simply of an age. It all comes down to your state of mind – excluding debilitating medical issues – and your state of mind is the product of your beliefs. Aging and old age affects all of us sooner or later the trick is to defer old age to as late as possible.
There is a world of difference between being a youthful independent 80 year old, and one who is forced to live a restricted life, dependent on others to get through each day. The good news is you can do something about your rate of aging, and it doesn’t involve spending money, getting a life coach or joining a gymnasium. The magic ingredient is your state of mind.
Getting control of your state of mind rather than it controlling you will take a little bit of conscious effort, but you can do it sitting on the sofa if you wish, but you will quickly want to start moving and grooving with your new energy.
The top 4 things to do to slow down your rate of aging that are all related to your state of mind:
• Understand its power
• Know your core state of mind
• Validate it.
• Cultivate it to be stimulate it’s youthfulness.
The top 4 things to not do are:
• Allow your outdated beliefs control you
• Let other People’s Beliefs Age You
• Give up on change
• Believe that it is too late
Understanding the Power of Your State of Mind
First you need to understand what your state of mind actually is.
Your state of mind colors your life experience and heavily influences your point of view, your decisions and your actions. A simple example: if you believe you are too old to learn how to text, you won’t try to understand it and when someone texts you, more than likely you will get frustrated and blame your old age for not being able to keep up with technology. Whereas the truth of the matter is that everyone has to learn how to use all the latest technological tools and even a teenager had to first learn how to text.
There are two fundamental states:
• Core state of mind – this is your basic personality, e.g. you are a glass half full or half empty person, or you are an optimist or pessimist. These are your core characteristics that filter and influence your experience of the world around you. Your core state of mind is shaped by your beliefs, and your beliefs are shaped by your experience of the world, e.g. if your family members live into their 90’s, you will grow up believing that you too will be kicking around into your 90’s. Your belief dictates your state of mind and subsequently your feelings and actions; because you believe you will live to a great age you will maintain your enthusiasm for life over the years and that will result in living to become a great age. It is a wonderful positive self-fulfilling cycle.
• Temporary state of mind – this is a transient state and can change constantly throughout the day, i.e. you feel miserable because you have the flu and because you feel miserable you feel useless, and because you feel useless you decide to decline the invite to join your friends on a week-end get away, whereas two days from now you are over the flu and feeling on top of the world and wondering why you decided to not join your friends. Another example of our transient states of mind is — you feel happy because you just watched an uplifting movie, and on the way home someone cuts you off in the traffic causing you to brake harshly and become agitated and annoyed with the world, and all of this happens within minutes.
Transient states come and go throughout the day but your core state of mind is with you 24/7.
Know your core state of mind
Most of us don’t know what our core state of mind is. You are too busy with everyday life. However it is your core state of mind that determines if your everyday life is wonderful, difficult, sad, exciting or just plain dull.
What is your core state of mind? Are you a ‘can do’ type of person or a ‘victim’? Are you the type of person who believes age is just a number and has no bearing on your life, or do you cringe at every birthday and change your state of being to match the text book description of someone at that age? Do you find that you often say; ‘I am too old for that’ or ‘It’s never too late to give it a go’? All of your little habits and pet phrases give you clues as to your core state of mind which in turn dictates your core state of being.
If you have trouble working out what your core state is, try asking a good friend to describe you in their words; with the proviso that you will still be good friends afterwards.
The point is that you need to understand your core beliefs about aging and old age, and appreciate the massive impact these beliefs and states have on your life overall, and your progression through the coming years; before you can start the process of pushing old age as far into the future as possible, you need to understand what your point of view is regarding old age and yourself.
Regardless of what your current core state is, it can always use a bit of a lift, and knowing how you feel about it will help you to better understand aging, and play a more active role in your future aging.
Validate your core state of mind
Your state of mind is the sum total of your core beliefs. If you are to revitalize your state of being you need to make sure your core beliefs are still valid. Sometimes conditions change and you receive new information that may prove a once firmly held belief is now out of date, and needs replacement with a more accurate updated belief. The most popular demonstration of this is the 4 minute mile. Up until Roger Bannister broke the 4 minute mile in 1954 running the distance in 3 minutes 59.4 seconds, it was considered a human impossibility. Everyone firmly believed that man could not break the 4 minute mile. However since Bannister proved that our belief was incorrect, many athletes have run sub 4 minutes and the latest ‘impossible’ barrier is 3 minutes 42 seconds. Once people realized that it was possible to run 4 miles in less than 4 minutes many more people actually tried and succeeded.
What are some of your beliefs concerning aging and old age?
• You can’t teach an old dog new tricks
• Dementia, Alzheimer’s and fragile bones are all caused by old age
• Today’s world is meant for the young
• It is too late to change
• Once you hit 60 it is all over
• Retirement is the beginning of the end.
The list could go on forever. The point is to know and list your beliefs about old age, and then do a little research to see if they still hold water; if they don’t, take the opportunity to update them, so that you are running your life on facts rather than outdated ideas.
Cultivate a youthful state of mind
This sounds easy but change takes time. Take little steps and add some concerted effort into the mix.
I have met some wonderful exciting people who are well over 60 and still have an enthusiasm for life. They happily enjoy their time because they believe being healthy and active is the only way to age. Their state of mind and state of being are firmly based on the belief that the onset of old age is within their control. They believe that life is worth living and you are a long time dead. They want to be able to enjoy the freedom older years have to offer, and not stuck in a slow miserable trek to the end.
Remember, your unconscious self aka your state of mind is pulling the strings, and it has been doing this for most of your lifetime, so putting it in check is going to take some effort on your behalf. You need to keep your beliefs and states in check and not give into complacency.
Start questioning what you hear and see in the media, and research new findings on aging and brain health.
Believe in life and get involved. It is never too late to turn back time.
Top 4 things to not do if you want to live younger longer:
Don’t Allow your outdated beliefs to control you
This is a biggy. Quite often you will create a belief based on the information available at the time, and because it is a belief it becomes automatic, i.e. you don’t bother questioning it, you just abide by it.
The internet makes it possible for you to research just about any topic you can think of. When it comes to aging you can find thousands of articles that give you the latest and greatest information about aging issues, e.g. it is a commonly held belief that old age is the cause of degenerative diseases, whereas over the past few years research scientists and the medical profession have reversed their opinions, and now say that degenerative diseases are a product of your lifestyle and sometimes unfortunately your heritage. In other words you have some say into whether you get Alzheimer’s or not.
The bottom line is your aging and decent into old age is no longer a done deal – you have many new tools and breakthroughs in science and medicine, as well as your new found understanding of the power of your own state of mind to help keep you young and alive for as long as possible.
Don’t Let Other People’s Beliefs Age You
Remember aging is personal. The combination of your life experiences and beliefs are unique to you–however humans are like every other living group in Mother Nature when it comes to herding. You don’t normally see an elephant herding with a group of Zebras. We are the same, in that an upbeat person normally feels most comfortable with other upbeat people. The same goes for aging and old age. If you want to live younger for as long as possible you might want to look at what you are doing and whom you are associating with. It is very easy to go along with the majority – let’s face it that is what most people do.
Start looking for people who have beliefs that are congruent with what you believe or would like to believe. I watched a great video the other day on Senior Olympians. These people were all over 80. One 98 year old athlete was desperate to get into the over 100 age category so he could be a super achiever. They encouraged each other and planned the coming year with intention.
Never Give up on change
Change takes time and effort however, the most important ingredient is a big enough WHY. If you can create a big enough reason to change, and in this instance we are referring to your state of mind about aging and old age, you have a greater chance of success.
Based on your current state of mind and set of beliefs, list all the horrible things you believe will occur when you are ‘old’, e.g. how will you pay for your daily groceries and living expenses, will be looking after yourself or in an assisted living situation, will you be reading and still learning or will you be sitting in a community area or a lonely room watching reruns on TV, where are your family, are you able to enjoy doing things with your children and grand children?
To seriously bring home the point that change is important and needs to be tackled, albeit slowly but with intention, I have suggested to clients to try to physically feel what it maybe like to be old and incapacitated. You might like to try it. Wrap a pillow around your tummy area and limit the use of your arms and legs so you have to shuffle around – just try it for an hour or so – could be an eye opener.
Remember change takes time but you can do it and even little steps towards a happier and healthier future is worth the effort. Create a big enough reason to change so that it will kick in when you feel like going back to your old ways.
Never Believe that it is too late
It is never too late to think about your future and decide if you like or don’t like what is coming. The important point is to know that you can and do have input into your future, albeit the next hour or the next decade.
Remember that aging is inevitable however, how fast you age is optional and personal. It depends on your state of mind and your beliefs about aging. Becoming a vibrant youthful thinking independent 80 year old is far more desirable than spending your final years in misery, forced to live a restricted life, dependent on others for everything from buying groceries to making a cup of coffee. Aging and old age affects all of us sooner or later the trick is for you to defer old age to as late as possible.
The good news is you can do something about old age, and it doesn’t involve spending money, getting a life coach or joining a gymnasium. The magic ingredient is your state of mind.
Roselyn Poon, Living Younger Longer Research Analyst and Adviser, Living Younger Longer Events CEO
Roselyn Poon is an author, speaker and motivator on all things to do with living younger longer and extending our most productive phase of life well into what is commonly referred to as our twilight years.
Roselyn is passionate about making us aware that we are aging prematurely due to factors we are not aware of, and that by reframing our thinking we can give ourselves an immediate 10 – 15 year injection of time.
She relocated to Las Vegas from Australia a few years ago and is an NLP Master Practitioner. Her research is not only about what we need to think and do to extend our use by date, but Roselyn also addresses the most important aspect of how we apply this knowledge using the state of the art neuroplacticity, NLP and Kaizen change principals.