In this vlog, I share my thoughts around “How to age gracefully in your 50s or 60s”

For me aging gracefully is not about trying to look young.

It’s about celebrating your age, accepting and adapting to change and taking notice of what’s good for you and what’s not.

Find and do things that make you happy and do them often. Whether it’s spending time with family and friends, reading, traveling, or whatever else brings a smile to your face, do more of it.

Happiness is key to aging gracefully.

Find out more by watching this video, or, if you would prefer to read about it, scroll down further below.

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How To Age Gracefully – Video Transcript

So how do we age gracefully, or do we worry to much about it?

Do you celebrate your birthday or try and avoid it and pretend you aren’t getting any older?

I actually love my birthday, even my zero birthdays. I love spending them how I want to and with whom I want to spend them with. It’s a time to feel special, and to celebrate just for being me.

However we keep getting reminded by the media that we should hide our age, as if it is something to be ashamed of.

Yes, I admit I’d like a body that doesn’t have the creaks and groans that a 64 year old body has, which led me to think about my ancestors and how they would have aged.  And I made the assumption that they wouldn’t have lived as long as we do nowadays with all the so-called fancy drugs we have to prolong our lives.

I couldn’t have been more wrong, they travelled much more than I thought they would have and lived to ripe old ages.

I have recently been walking in the footsteps of my grandparents, and great-grand parents, in the beautiful Lake District.  I found it quite emotional being in the places that they had been, including walking down the aisle of the church that my grandparents got married in.

Back in those days life was challenging, just like it is for us now, just in different ways.

I think their pace of life was different, and their priorities were different too, but at least they weren’t bombarded every second of the day with social media and mainstream media telling us how we should look.

So I have come to own some sense of who I am, and what I am in the world, thanks to my ancestors having the spirit that they did, and all I want to do is age gracefully, or maybe even disgracefully, exactly as I am.

Whatever we believe from the media, they are just stories and it’s not reality, only we can make it reality, if we believe them.

Fortunately over time I have become more and more comfortable in my own skin, with acceptance and curiosity, helped by my meditation and mindfulness practices. I have confronted all the mental chatter, all those little naughty monkeys that sit on my shoulder, about getting older, and I have included compassion and openness to whatever comes up for me, allowing me to embrace and recognise all the gifts that it brings, ’cause it does bring gifts.

Here are some things I pay attention to, to help me age with ease and grace:

Sleep

Our sleep needs and patterns change throughout our lives, so if I am tired in the afternoon, and I am at home, I will have a nap, without feeling guilty, it is such a yummy, nurturing thing to, if that’s your thing.

Meditate

My sleep suffers if I don’t meditate, so if I don’t have time to meditate, after a couple of days I notice my sleep is not so good and that’s just a reminder to get back to my meditation practice.

Embracing Change

Embracing change is one way of navigating ageing with ease. Ageing is here, and happening in every moment. Our life experiences accumulate whether we want them to or not. How we use these experiences is up to us.

Stay Connected

An absolute must is to stay connected with family, and our circle of friends. Social engagement is vital, as loneliness can lead to poorer health. Also consider taking part in something that interests you in the community, or reviving an old hobby, as challenging our cognitive abilities is really beneficial for ageing with ease.

Avoid Stressful Situations

And while I am on the subject of mindfulness and of meditation, stress is one of the biggest health-risk factors in our lives, greatly impacting both mental and physical health. Being mindful, along with Mindfulness meditation, or any meditation for that matter,  is one of the best ways to reduce stress and improve your emotional well-being. It can improve focus, support habit changes and lots more.

Remember, there is no “perfect” way to meditate. It’s OK when your mind wanders, you wouldn’t be human if your mind didn’t wander. What it’s about is noticing it and coming back to whatever it is you are focussing on, whether it’s your breath, or your body, or your senses. Whatever happens, it’s normal.

Eat Well

I have known for a long time about how I should eat, and I am still no angel, however, over time I have adopted lots of good things, which start to replace the food that is not beneficial to me.

We are all individual in our responses to food and what our bodies need, and we need to take responsibility for noticing what does us good and what doesn’t.

I am going to repeat that.

We need to take responsibility for what does us good and what doesn’t.

And we need to make the necessary changes, because our body’s needs change throughout our lives.

Get Moving

And of course we need to move our bodies, and again we are all different in what suits us, and I think it is so important to do something that you enjoy, whether it’s going for a walk, a brisk walk or a nice slow meditative walk in nature, or if gym is your thing, then thats what you need to do.

Moving our bodies more can help restore the cellular health of muscles as we age. Exercise also supports our bone density, our balance, our agility, it helps us sleep, and can stave off anxiety or depression.

We so often blame age and a changing metabolism for weight gain, when so often it can stem from less physical activity than what we could be doing. Even 10 minutes, a few time a week, improves your mood in the moment, and also increases mental and physical fitness. So, lets get going, I say, as I talk to myself as well as you.

We are never too old to learn!

In fact I quite often say that wisdom lands a bit late in life, so let that wisdom come through, so we can examine habits that hinder our ability to embrace change, habits like resistance, rationalization, and procrastination.

We can choose to change our diet, improve our exercise regime, as also maintain and expand our social circles which can provide stimulation, connection, and new experiences.

If we choose it, we might even find this new landscape, and all the paths and vistas it affords, a welcome change.

But resisting what we can’t control only adds to discomfort and unhappiness—and lamenting the inevitable shifts of time doesn’t change this reality.

So, on your next birthday—and all the days in between—I invite you to embrace the changes that come with aging and welcome another trip around the sun with curiosity, gratitude, and joy.

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