11 Ways Not to Feel Old
There’s your chronological age. And there’s the age you feel. If you have the right attitude, the latter is significantly younger than the former. If you don’t, consider this an attitude adjustment, a nudge, a gentle guide to getting on the path to feeling younger than you are. In other words, tips to help you feel and look great no matter what your driver’s license says.
1. Stand up straight. Among the top ageing appearances is slouching. If you’re not standing up to your full height, even if it’s an inch shorter than five years ago, start paying attention to your posture. (Practice walking with a book—or Nook—on your head, if need be.) You will exude confidence and purpose.
2. Get a job. Seriously! According to a Merrill Lynch Retirement Study, 83 per cent of the respondents said working in retirement made them stay younger. Why? Because the top reasons for working after retirement were to stay mentally active (62 per cent), to stay physically active (46 per cent) and to have social connections (42 per cent), all of which are considered major factors to not feeling one’s age.
3. Learn a language. It’s not too late to habla Espagnol, especially if you’re worried about dementia. A study reported in Neurology revealed that on-set dementia symptoms in people who spoke two languages were delayed by 4.5 years as compared to people who were monolingual. (Education, literacy and occupation were also factored in and did not affect the findings.) So, sign up for a class, buy a DIY program (Rosetta Stone, for example), or go online and start learning to converse in the language of your choice.
4. Be willing, not willful. Yes, we all like to be right, but by now we should’ve also learned that nobody likes a right-fighter. Let go of the willfulness that accompanies right fighting. “Be willing to see things from a variety of perspectives,” says Lisa Bahar, MS, licensed marriage and family therapist in Dana Point, California, “and act in accordance with the wisdom within.” In other words, instead of being old (and therefore automatically correct), alienated and limited in your viewpoint, be wise, wonderfully connected and open to new ways of seeing the world.
5. Adopt a dog. Let us count the age-defying benefits: Unconditional love. Companionship. Unconditional love. Increased physical activity. Unconditional love. A sense of being needed. Unconditional love. An easy way to meet new people. Not convinced yet? OK. Owning a dog can lower your blood pressure, stave off depression and help you recover faster if you have a heart attack. Call your local humane society to see about finding a furry friend.
6. Invest in regularly scheduled mani-pedis. Hands and feet do NOT lie about age, but mani-pedis can make gnarly hands and feet look infinitely younger. Says Marilyn Young, a celebrity make-up artist, use gel formulas which are shiny and can last up to a month, and use different colors on hands and feet because it produces a younger look. (For men, do all of the above, except for the color part.)
7. Tend to your teeth. If you still have all your choppers, they’re probably stained from years of coffee, tea, smoking, and red wine. And others can’t help but notice unless you’ve stopped smiling in order to hide them. You can get then professionally whitened ($$) or DIY by brushing regularly with a paste made of one part hydrogen peroxide and two parts baking soda. Don’t forget regular dental check ups, flossing and brushing gently for two minutes twice a day since gum disease (infinitely more serious than yellow teeth and not uncommon as you age)is associated with other health problems, like heart disease.
8. Laugh often. Laughter really is the best medicine, an internal aerobic workout of sorts. “It’s true as we age that there can be huge stressors,” says Erlene Rosowsky, PsyD a psychologist at the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology, “like taking care of ageing parents, helping struggling adult kids, limping along with bad knees or hips. But laughter is a must.” If you’re not accustomed to laughing out loud, consider reading funny writers (Dave Barry comes to mind), watching funny sitcoms (The Big Bang, reruns of I Love Lucy), hanging around with funny people, or joining a community laughter club, which comprises forced laughter exercises that inevitably turn to genuine guffaws. Check out www.laughteryoga.org to find a club near you.
9. Create an “Aspire List”. Motivational speaker and author Susan Bender Phelps, 61, started an Aspire List several years ago as a positive spin on the Bucket List. ”I wanted compile a list of things to enrich my life rather than a list of to-do’s before I die, “this Oregonian says. She recently went on her first European vacation (on her list) and got so inspired by people of all ages riding their bikes (a former passion of hers) that she vowed to buy a bike when she returned home. ”I love riding again,” she says.” I feel like I did when I was twelve years old.
10. Be curious and curiouser. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it can actually help humans live longer and be more engaged in the world–even though we tend to associate it with younger less world- weary people. Defined as a state of active interest, the trait of being curious was found to be a contributing factor to the health of the central nervous system in a study with participants whose average age was 70+. The study also found that participants who displayed this trait at the beginning of the five- year study tended to outlive their non-curious counterparts. And probably had more fun. If you’ve lost your sense of curiosity, try this: When you hear something that intrigues you, actively seek to learn more about it and build your knowledge base. Also, practice suspended judgment and let things unfold without expectations. (Instead of thinking “Opera is ALWAYS boring,” consider experiencing it with an opera aficionado who can help you see why it’s endured.)
11. Zap those age spots. Wrinkles may be a sign of maturity, but age spots are a sign of being old. Technology has made it easier than ever to say good bye to them—on your face, hands, and chest. Look for a spa that offers Photorejuvenation IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) laser and plan on getting three to five treatments for best results. At full price they’re not cheap ($200+ per session), but they’re often offered at less than half price on sites like Groupon or Amazon Local. You’ll love your new face minus those pesky spots.