Most of the time we judge our age by what the calendar says, but that’s just a number. You also have a biological age, which is determined by how old you think you are. Your expectations reinforce your interpretation, so if you think you’re growing old, you are. The truth is that you can slow down the aging process, and in many ways reverse it. You just have to know how.
If you find yourself “thinking old,” the first thing you have to do is shift your perception. Use this affirmation from Deepak: “Every day, in every way, I am increasing my mental and physical capacity.” With the right expectations, and healthy daily rituals, you can grow younger as you age. Here are 10 more ways to help slow the aging process.
1. Drink a lot of water. Dehydration is a major problem for people who have “grown old.” Every day, every cell is dependent on water. Think about plums versus prunes: there’s a big difference. You want your body to be more like a plum. Water flushes your system and keeps your body hydrated, so drink a lot of it.
2. Eliminate physical toxins from your diet. Eat a rainbow diet of fresh fruit and vegetables where all the colors are represented. When you can, stay away from food that comes in a can or has a label.
3. Eliminate emotional toxins. This is easier when you learn to deal with stress in a constructive manner. Remember, it isn’t what happens to you but how you choose to respond that makes a difference. If you’ve made meditation part of your daily routine, it will be much easier to meet potential disturbances from your calm center. Along the same lines, toxic relationships foster toxic emotions. You can either transform them or get rid of them completely. When you carry the past around with you, you’re burdened with a lot of emotional baggage. Make a commitment to yourself to let go of any grievances and focus on your blessings instead.
4. Breathe. The body can go weeks without food, and days without water, but only a few seconds without oxygen. We tend to breathe from the top of our lungs when we’re feeling tense, but the body gets the oxygen it needs from the bottom of the lungs, so make deep breathing a habit.
5. Get ample rest. The two best ways to get rest are through sleep and meditation, and meditation is the single most important thing you can do to restore balance and harmony in your body and in your life. Let that practice become part of the rhythm of your life.
6. Be flexible. Learn to go with the flow. When things don’t go your way, trust that the universe has a better plan. Don’t allow yourself to feel driven by time or by your expectations. It’s okay to have expectations as long as you’re willing to go where life is trying to take you.
7. Live your life consciously. You have the capacity to be a creative thinker and make conscious choices. Take note of your habitual responses and find more creative—and satisfying—ways to meet different situations. When you make conscious choices, the end result is more rewarding.
8. Exercise regularly. Exercise is one of the most rapid age-reversing methods available. It helps you maintain weight, muscle tone, and flexibility in the joints. A good way to add exercise to your life is through the practice of yoga where mind, body, and breath work together. The added bonus: stretching helps relieve chronic pain.
9. Learn to love fully and completely. Acceptance is the beginning of healing. You must learn to accept yourself as you are. When you can love yourself unconditionally, you start to accept others just the way they are, too. You start to realize that everyone is doing the very best they can at any given moment. Love like this makes it easier to give and receive freely.
10. Laugh often. Laughter is better for you, and more effective, than any prescription. It has the power to change your body chemistry from acidic, which can lead to disease, to alkaline, which is necessary for health. Laughter also gets your endorphins going and helps restore balance in your system. Laugh often, every day, even when things get difficult—especially when things get difficult.
These tips will not only help you feel younger, they’ll help you grow younger. And ultimately, your body will thank you.