I know a young woman who is so closed-minded. She feels put off by anything out of the ordinary: décor that is not her taste, fashion that’s not her taste, relationships that don’t look like her’s, religions that mirror her beliefs, and “foreigners” that don’t look like her. She is forever sneering. And her hostile, judgmental attitude makes her look hard and aged.
I’m also lucky enough to know an elderly woman who truly loves life. She laughs out loud, and hold hands with every person she meets. She has seen a lot in her nearly 90 years, and she’s still as curious as she was in her younger days. She tries new foods, travels to foreign countries, and often spends her days feeding the homeless in their makeshift communities. She asks a lot of questions when in new or uncomfortable situations to help her better understand. And though, I admit, her face is considerably wrinkled, there is something about her that radiates youthful exuberance and happiness.
Have you ever noticed? … We’re a culture obsessed with shrouding ourselves in the familiar, thinking it will insulate us and keep us safe. But the truth is, insulating ourselves makes us bored at best. Mostly, it makes us fearful and fear makes us old before our time.
Want to know the secret to eternal youth and happiness? Focus on joy. And stay open to new life experiences. Accept others. Be curious. Ask questions. Travel. Meet new people. Allow young people to educate you. Be engaged. Push your own boundaries. Try new things. Listen to new stuff. Don’t take yourself so seriously.
The lifestyle choice is yours.
Focusing on joy makes you radiant and joyful. One study found that those who see aging as an opportunity are more active, social and successful than those who don’t. Additionally, researchers studying longevity say those who feel a sense of purpose and direction in life may live longer. Positive people can expect to live as many as 5 years longer than their grumpy counterparts.
So, if you’re serious about wanting to look and feel young and happy every day of your like, here are five ways to achieve that (no wrinkle-creams or special diets involved!):
1. Think before you speak.
Is what you’re about to say actually true? Is it necessary? Is it kind? If you frequently use social media, please check your facts first. Snopes.com is a great way to fact check. Also, remember, not every motivational meme that supports your opinion is actually factual. Dig deeper. Get curious. Dive in and discover new facts.
2. Look for the positive in something you dislike.
Why be all, ‘Damn kids these days!’ just because the latest music or dance craze or humor or hairstyles aren’t the same as yours. Lighten up and open your mind. First, not everything requires your opinion. Second, some of these fads make for a good laugh later in life. Enjoy them. And third, maybe challenge yourself to find something positive in the think that (at first glance) you think you don’t like. There is always something to appreciate if you dig deep enough.
3. Talk to people you normally don’t speak to.
Even the youngest of children can educate you about something. Want a great conversation starter? Ask a young person about their favorite app or video game. You’d be amazed at what you’ll learn. Technology is a great connector among generations.
4. Listen to new music
Valslist.com is a fantastic way to educate yourself about today’s music. Val Holler will guide you to new artists with sounds and vibes similar to your favorite oldie bands. Without a doubt, expanding your taste in music helps keeps you young and relevant.
5. Push your comfort zone. (You’ll survive, I promise.)
Watch a documentary, volunteer for a worthy cause, try a new form of exercise, read a different newspaper, deliberately hang out with people with opposing views. Not a fan of guns? Hire a gun specialist to teach you safe handling and best practices. Not a fan of a political candidate? Have coffee with one of their supporters, leave your opinion at the door, just listen, and see if you can empathize with the opposition’s concerns. Everything is not always about you.
You know, a few years ago, I saw something on TV that had a profound affect on me.
A television reporter interviewed a woman in her 50s at the scene of a riot. The reporter asked her why she was participating in the violence. She shouted with ugly rage, “What I don’t understand makes me angry!”
Wow. Does anyone really want to age and become like that? Shriveled in mindset and spirit?
The secret to everlasting radiance and happiness … is an open, curious mind. Don’t let a “Different is wrong” mindset age you before your time. There is far too much living and laughing to do.
By: T-Ann Pierce