While there is no way to turn back the clock of aging (yet), there are practical steps you can take to actually feel younger. They include implementing some of these as daily practices:
1. Let go of stress.
Stress makes all of us feel older and lowers our energy. It also compromises our immune system and makes us more susceptible to a myriad of diseases. Start by: Practicing slow belly breathing which will activate your parasympathetic nervous system and calm you down. Inhale through your nose to a count of 4, hold your breath for 7 seconds and then exhale slowly through pursed lips to a count of 8. Do this 3-5 times whenever you’re feeling stressed.
2. Stand a bit taller
Gravity, over time, does a number on our body and, eventually, we begin to shrink. Proper body posture will help counteract the effects of gravity and give you more vitality. Start by: Standing up straight and relaxed. Picture a taut string subtly pulling you up from the back of your head. Then, walk and observe how much lighter you feel.
3. Act like a kid
Allow yourself to recreate childish fun. Start by: Turning off your cell phone and just go outside, by yourself or with a friend. This month, go to the beach and skip stones, plan a trip to Great America or go to a baseball game and sit in the bleachers!
4. Treat yourself.
Reward yourself by doing something that you consider a treat. Start by: Going to dinner, shopping or getting a massage.
Daily exercise is critical to feeling younger. Take care of your body by doing some form of movement every day either individually or in a group. Start by: Picking one form of exercise that you can commit to doing at least twice a week for at least 15 minutes.
6. Balance positives and negatives.
News and social media can leave many of us feeling angry, depressed and tired. Start by: Limiting the time you’re on Facebook or watching political news. Spend more time with friends who make you feel good about yourself.
7. Drink more water.
Water helps nourish the body and keeps your skin moisturized. Start by: Downloading the app, Water Minder that will keep track of how much water you drink a day. If you’re low-tech, try to drink at least eight 8-oz glasses of water a day.
8. Learn an instrument.
It can be much more fun to learn an instrument when you don’t have to! In a study at the University of South Florida, “adults who started piano lessons between the ages of 60 and 85 experienced improvements in memory and cognitive ability”. Start by: Connecting with a local organization that teaches adults musical instruments.
9. Take more time for massage.
A regular massage can help skin rejuvenation and blood flow in your body. As this happens, cells begin to receive more nutrients, which can speed up tissue regeneration. My grandmother received a massage every week and was active until she passed away 3 months shy of 100. Start by: Calling your favorite massage therapy spa and scheduling an appointment!
10. And, of course, it helps if you hang out with people 10 years older than you.
Spend time with older co-workers, relatives or neighbors. Or volunteer your time at a community senior center, talking to or playing games with the residents or members.