Are You As Young As You Feel?

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    Welcome to installment #25 of the A to Z for a Rocking Retirement. Y = Youthfulness. What if I could share with you something that would keep you alive longer and healthier, wouldn’t cost a dime and would give you an edge over your peers.  Would you be interested?

    Are You As Young As You Feel?

    Let me start by sharing my story about aging. Since I was 30, I have been exercising regularly and living and breathing wellness after transitioning from bedside nursing to working in the preventive health field. That was a turning point in my career and how I viewed what being healthy was all about. This has really paid off for me as I have been aging.

    Most people I know, as they age, start the deterioration process – a slow decline into what they think should be happening because the numbers are piling up. In my case, I have embraced health practices as a way of life and now at 72, people are amazed that I am actually that old. It just doesn’t show up in my body, mind, and spirit. And in my mind, I still feel like I’m 35!
    So let’s explore what might be going on for you and challenge some of your assertions.

    Mind talk

    I am as old as I feel and I feel very old, worn out, frustrated and negative about my work and my life and don’t think I can do anything about it.

    FALSE: You can change your attitude from negative to positive and extend your life and feel better about yourself when you lengthen your telomeres. Telomeres are segments of DNA at the end of chromosomes (like tails) that keep the chromosomes from fraying or damaging each other. Each time a cell divides, its telomeres get shorter until they become inactive or die. Negative thought patterns effect the length of your telomeres which are an integral part of the aging process.

    Here are the attitudes to watch out for that shorten telomeres and lead to premature aging.Do Thoughts Make You Age Faster? 5 Ways They Could - Dr. Axe

    1. Cynical hostility - often angry, mistrustful of others
    2. Pessimism – glass always half empty
    3. Rumination - rehashing arguments or dwelling on whether what you said was wrong
    4. Suppression – holding back your thoughts and not dealing with a problem.
    5. Mind wandering – not giving full attention and being mindfully engaged

    TIP: Practice Mindfulness and Meditation and consider EFT (Tapping) to shift from negative to positive energy flow.

    Body talk

    Everyone in my family is overweight, has heart disease, has cancer, or fill in the blank for you _______________ so it is my destiny genetically and I can’t do anything about it.

    FALSE: We now know from EPIGENETICS that your environment and lifestyle choices can alter the expression of your genes into over-riding negative health effects and favoring positive health outcomes. We also now know that inflammation is the root cause of most all chronic diseases, and it is due to a growing list of factors.

    • Sugar, refined carbohydrates
    • Trans fats
    • Too much omega-6 fats (soybean and corn oils)
    • Artificial sweeteners
    • Hidden food sensitivities (dairy, gluten)
    • Imbalance in gut bacteria
    • Environmental toxins
    • Chronic stress
    • Sedentary lifestyle
    • Nutritional deficienciesJust ponder this list and decide for yourself if any of these factors have contributed to your perception of your state of health as a nurse. Also note that all these factors that are making us sick are within your control and you can turn things around for the better. Even Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes has been shown to be reversed by adopting healthy lifestyle choices.

    TIP: Exercise daily at the end of your work day to burn off stress and excess weight. Avoid eating food provided at work and bring your own healthy low-glycemic meals and snacks.

    Spirit talk

    I continue to work in nursing because it is my calling, but I am not feeling fulfilled because of all the turmoil in healthcare and not being able to really do the kind of nursing I originally wanted to do. Things have changed, I’m not happy, my spirit is dying, but I have to stay in this job for the money and the benefits.

    FALSE:
    It is your birthright and a spiritual principle to be happy and live a fulfilled life. Living daily with negative thoughts takes its toll on your wellbeing and ages you prematurely. You are in control of your destiny and if you can’t leave your job or re-create a new direction for your nursing career, you can change your focus to why you were put on this planet to administer to the needs of others and be grateful for the opportunity that has been given to you.

    TIP:
    Create a gratitude list at the end of each day to put everything back into focus.

    So creating a youthful mindset to carry you thru your long life really pays off! Those who feel younger than their actual age have reduced mortality.

    Feeling Old vs Being Old | Geriatrics | JAMA Internal Medicine | The JAMA Network

    Who doesn’t want that?

    So how old do you feel? Is it older or younger than your chronological age? And what have you done in your life to alter that? Please share.
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    4 Comments

  3. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Love this. Thank you.
  4. by   ChryssyD
    Lovely!

    For me, I guess, it's all about perspective. When I was younger, I was much more focused on my amazing physical abilities--a lifetime of athletic endeavors (gymnastics, then ballet) had enabled me to do, and expect, amazing things from my body. But as I got older, I realized that incredible physical feats are the province of the young and you just have to get over it. Believe me, it wasn't easy. I wanted to hold onto those abilities--but I quickly learned that I just can't. I used to be sad about this, but now I've accepted that this is the natural order of things.

    Now I have wisdom. Now I have decades of experience on which to draw. Now I know that all those things my parents tried to tell me all those years ago are true. Now I know that spiritual health and integrity are so much more important than any physical ability. That doesn't mean I don't still stretch and exercise. I do. But physical endeavors only get you so far. What is really important is what you learn and what you pass on to the next generation. It's all about the whole generativity-vs.-stagnation thing: If you can focus on moving forward, you can really have the impact you were meant to have.

    By all means, pass on whatever you've learned to the next generation. They need guidance and you need the satisfaction of spreading your wisdom. Staying small and selfish isn't wisdom--opening yourself up to the universe and all it has to teach you is. You are so right--not giving full attention and being mindfully engaged is absolutely necessary if we are to teach the young anything. Our job IS to teach the young--that's why we're here.

    What you have written is so true. Love yourself, take care of yourself, so that you are around to bring the wisdom of your years to others. Peace.
  5. by   traumaRUs
    Great article. I also think that change is possible even for those of us with a few gray hairs - lol.
  6. by   dferreria
    #1 and #4......so very true. But accepting physical limitations after a life of physical endeavors, takes some time and maybe some help.

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