Worried about aging? That’s natural — many of us are — but in reality, another trip around the sun is cause for joy! Here, our experts share wisdom proven to keep your body and mind thriving with each passing year.
Let go of fear.
“I tell my friends who are fearful of getting older to feel the feelings fully,” says Carol Orsborn, PhD, author of 30 books about aging, including the forthcoming The Making of an Old Soul: Aging as the Fulfillment of Life’s Promise (Buy from Amazon, $17.70). “Mourn the challenges, release your feelings, and move on.” To help you grieve and let go, she suggests visualizing a candle. If it’s a small thing, such as a new wrinkle, picture a tiny birthday candle and blow it out. But if it’s bigger, like no longer being able to walk up steps because of a bad knee, envision a pillar candle, light it, and give yourself time to be sad. Then blow it out in your mind’s eye. “This ritual gives you control over your feelings,” says Orsborn.
Welcome helping hands.
“For every blow to our ego in the form of a physical diminishment as we age, there’s a compensating strength we gain in the spiritual realm,” says Orsborn. Losing a step, in fact, let her see just how rich her life is. “I was on a boat this summer and I had to ask for help getting in and out,” she recalls. “When I saw how happy people were to help, I felt so liberated. Aging is ‘enlightenment in slow motion’ — let it show you how full your life is.”
Lean on generations.
It’s so helpful to have friends who can help put things in perspective, says Orsborn. “I turned 73 this year and I have a friend in her 80s, who gave me great advice: ‘Don’t be frozen in fear. If the first half of life is about problem-solving, the second half is about tapping your reservoir of wisdom. Trust yourself.’”
Celebrate your accomplishments.
One of the best ways to embrace getting older is by looking back on the amazing ways you’ve grown, says Ruth Fishel, who teaches at women’s spiritual retreats and has written inspirational books that have sold more than a million copies, including Wrinkles Don’t Hurt (Buy from Amazon, $14.95). “When I was younger, I was so shy, I never said hi to passersby. Now that I’m older, it feels good to ask people how they’re doing.” In fact, women tend to get more confident as they age. “We may not run as fast as a 30-year-old, but we can feel just as alive.”
Connect with your purpose.
You’ve overcome a lot over the years, and letting loved ones know how you got through setbacks will infuse your life with even greater meaning, promises Fishel. “Every day, I repeat: ‘I’ve lived many years; I’ve learned many things; I pray I may take all my knowledge to help wherever I can.’ When you feel connected to something greater than yourself, it raises your physical and mental energy.”
Stay young forever.
“I like to say that age is a number, but ‘old’ is a mindset,’ says Joyce Meyer, one of the world’s leading practical Bible teachers, host of the TV show Enjoying Everyday Life, and author of How to Age Without Getting Old (Buy from Amazon, $15.99). “It’s true that every day we live, we are aging, but we can do things to slow down the process. Having healthy, positive attitudes and relationships is a big part of that.” This could mean cutting things out of your schedule that you don’t want to do, or not allowing people to make you feel guilty if you don’t do everything they want. “Invest in yourself spiritually, mentally, and physically,” says Meyer. “If you do, you’ll find it really is possible to age without getting ‘old.'”
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.
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