Sunday, June 25, 2017

Positive Ageing - a State of Mind

Growing old gracefully ...disgracefully ... outrageously ...or whatever other term that's been used to embrace ageing in the last few years, has now been replaced with a more optimistic term "Positive Ageing" - the principles of the Positive Psychology movement.

Our ability to have a more positive experience, compared with peers who are perpetuating the old paradigm (that ageing is fraught with misery), has a lot to do with our attitude, personal qualities and flexibility.

Cultivating flexibility I think is a key indicator of how we reframe our lives in these years. It requires us to feel and think differently, to counter any maladaptive patterns by engaging in life-enhancing practices. Some of these are altruistic, others may be practising gratitude, and appreciating what you have to offer to the world.

Go on now, write a list of your qualities, skills and resources! And think about how some of these could be used creatively to enhance your life or the life of others.

For instance, in the last 2 months I've become immersed in intuitive painting. I've always been creative, but never gave myself permission to paint. Having said that, I've gone without a few other needs to achieve this. The JOY I've felt, plus the wellness benefits that flow on from this, are priceless - my daughter commented recently that she notices a difference in my being. So as well as it benefitting myself, I intend to offer it to other women in the near future so that they too can benefit.

Do you also have a gift or experience to share? Resources you could utilise?  A new skill you could learn this year?

Jean Shinoda Bolin encourages us to turn to the Greek Goddess, Hecate, who can midwife us if we face a major transition, or need to birth new aspects of self.   A Hecate woman is also one who pays attention to synchronicities and dreams and draws upon past experiences and intuition for guidance.

These years don't have to end in illness, regret or worry. Most often we need to adapt to possible declining health or stamina, but we CAN adapt. We can choose to embrace life-enhancing choices over ones that limit us. If we marry these with our values, and choose from our heart, we're better able to live fulfilling and meaningful lives way into our 90's. Whatever ailments we might experience, there's a way to still enjoy our lives, but maybe a little slower.

I'm finding that my mind is just as sharp as it was 20 years ago, though sometimes a word or two takes longer to recall. Our mature minds also work better in later life - we use the left and right hemispheres together more effectively. New learning is great for our mind, and we need to exercise it, as Joan Baez says as she begins her Forever Young song.   

A couple of times when I've needed a pick-me-up I've played this song!  

Lastly, don't forget to call forth more LOVE into your life. Did you know that love increases our endorphins and endogenous cannabinoids? It also increases the secretion of nitric oxide that allows our arteries to relax, reduces your blood pressure, and improves circulation. Love also improves our DNA, enhances our wellbeing, and inspires us to care for self.

Being open to love, loving self, loving others and your life, is the key to positive ageing, in my opinion.