Positive Aging: How to Age Like A Fine Wine and Live That Way
Growing Old! These two words often appear as a short horror story for many. After all, aging brings many changes in a person’s life. While aging is inevitable, it is a part of our development and growth.
Therefore, while we can’t skip it, we can make this process less scary and more positive for us.
Thanks to the concept of positive aging! Let us understand healthy aging in detail now.
Positive Aging: The Definition
“The process of developing and maintaining the functional ability that enables wellbeing in older age.” ~(WHO, 2020)
Positive Aging is all about embracing the process of aging healthily and happily. Which reflects in later years of life will reflect in physical, emotional, social, and mental life. Through positive aging, a person learns to nurture a positive attitude towards one’s life. Well, it might not work as a shield, protecting you from experiencing the hardships of aging but it’s sure to improve quality of life and make later years worthwhile.
However, for different cultures and people, positive aging means different things. By and large, the concept of healthy aging focuses on adopting a positive view towards aging. After all, having a healthy mindset makes the journey of growing old an easy and happy one for us.
7 Ways to Age Gracefully
Talking of ways to promote positive aging we shall definitely refer to the “Blue Zones.” Yes, Blue Zones! They refer to the regions that are found to have a longer life expectancy as compared to the global average.
Dan Buettner identified 5 Blue Zone regions in the year 2005.
- Okinawa in Japan
- Sardinia in Italy
- Nicoya in Costa Rica
- Icaria in Greece
- Loma Linda, California
Inspired by these regions we are sharing 7 life lessons with you that will help you with positive aging and boost your life expectancy.
1. Have A Purpose in Life
Okinawa, the major hotspot of happy and healthy aging, has focused on having a purpose in life. They refer to it as ‘Ikigai.’ Having a purpose works as a source of daily motivation in our life further making us live longer.
2. Adopt 80% Eating Rule
“Eight parts of a full stomach sustain the man; the other two sustain the doctor”- Hakuun Yasutani, Founder of the Sanbo Kyodan organization of Japanese Zen. This practice is called “Hara Hachi Bu” which suggests that you eat only 80% of your diet. One simple tip to make it work is, stop eating as soon as you stop feeling hungry anymore.
3. Don’t Relive Rather Relieve Stress
Stress is inevitable (hands down to this fact). While we have no sweet escape from daily life stress, we definitely have a choice to make here that can reduce the impact of stress on our life. We can either choose to keep reliving the stress or take a step and relieve stress from our lives.
Well, it goes without saying that the former choice is likely to make aging difficult for you but the later choice can make aging a positive experience for you. You can learn different stress management techniques or master one of them and put it to use every time you encounter a stressful situation.
4. Add Green to Your Diet
A colorful plate of food is a healthy plate of food. But if you look at the longevity hotspots, there is one color that dominates their plate- The Color Green. To experience positive aging we would recommend you to eat more green and make it a part of your diet.
5. Exercise Daily
My grandpa always used to tell me that one should at least engage in one form of exercise for a minimum 30 minutes a day. I guess the blue zone elderly adults already knew this secret of my grandfather, as they have been practicing it too from a very young age.
This 30 minutes dedicated exercise reflects later in their life as they age. It helps in aging by keeping an individual active, increasing their mobility, and developing a positive outlook towards life. Additionally, with this one magic trick is sure to reduce your visits to the doctor.
6. Build on Your Social Life
The concept of tribe and vibe will never go old! Interestingly, the social circle that you belong to can make the process of getting old healthy for you. No wonder we have quite a few clubs dedicated to elderly adults or we see a group of them laughing out in the parks. Make sure that as you age you too are a part of such groups or are staying connected to your loved ones. After all, it will help maintain a positive attitude towards aging.
7. Put Your Loved Ones First
Well, one can have 100’s or 1000’s of friends, but if they do not prioritize them then it would barely have anything positive for you. So, don’t just build a social circle but also spend as time as possible with your loved ones. Have quality time with your partner, spend time with your children, and have lots of fun with your grandchildren. Buettner and team also found that people who spend time with their family members tend to have lower chances of getting diseases. To put it in a nutshell, being by the side of your loved ones work positively for your health and aging process.
Fauja Singh World’s Oldest Runner (An Inspiration for Many)
Interesting Fact: Ireland started with the celebration of Positive Ageing Week each year.
Books to Read on Positive Aging
Books are like eating chocolate without getting fat. You enjoy it and it gives you knowledge too. So here are some books that will make the concept of healthy aging understandable for you.
1. Live happier, live longer by Tim Sharp
2. Women and Positive Aging by Lisa Hollis-Sawyer and Amanda Dykema-Engblade
3. How to live forever: The enduring power of connecting the generations – Marc Freedman
“Age is strictly a case of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” ~Jack Benny, New York Times (1974)
Now it is time for you to develop a positive outlook towards positive aging. Remember when talking of aging, your attitude is everything here. So change the undertone of aging by changing your attitude towards the same. After all, sooner or later we all shall age, then why not age like a fine wine instead like bad grapes.
Cheers to Life; Cheers to Aging!
Thank you for reading!