Health and Wellness |
Grow Young – 5 Wellness Tips As You Age
March 22, 2019
Wellness refers to the pursuit of a healthy, balanced lifestyle focused on both the mind and the body. The baseline of wellness improves resilience. Common understanding suggests that resilience is the capacity for individuals to ‘bounce back’ from adversity. At any age, wellness can be a discipline, it’s never too late! Here, we share five tips for achieving wellness.
1. Practice self-compassion
As we age, it can be easy to focus on all the things you can no longer do. This can lead to feelings of frustration and stress. Self-compassion entails being warm and understanding toward yourself when you suffer, fail, or feel inadequate, rather than ignoring your pain or flagellating yourself with self-criticism. As Donald Hebb, the father of modern neuropsychology famously said, “Neurons that fire together, wire together”, meaning that the more you think negative thoughts the more common they become. Studies have shown that a poor mindset has a direct impact on physical health. Even more reason to go gently on yourself as you age!
2. Stay connected with your community
Social isolation is a modern plague that can lead to depression, poor health and chronic loneliness. Staying connected with your friends and community can improve wellbeing and create meaning in your life (another resilience factor!). Stephanie Brown, a University of Michigan researcher, says many of the hormones involved in bonding lead to reductions in stress and isolation in people. Social wellness can include being a part of a social club, volunteering, meeting an old friend for coffee or event joining online chat groups. Invest in relationships and make the time to genuinely connect with loved-ones. Show kindness, express gratitude and make the time for others. It is about feeling loved, valued and connected.
3. Tell your story
Studies show that reminiscing can create confidence and peace in older people. Reflecting on life events can remind you that you are capable of overcoming obstacles. It can also help you process grief and loss as you age.
4. Keep your brain active
Engagement is about being interested and involved in your life. It is about knowing and playing to your strengths as a way of helping you feel more confident, energised and connected. Engagement is about finding your flow and being who you are. Seligman (2011), likens it to being ‘at one with the music’ and more importantly, an activity that helps you lose track of time. Ilardi (2010), proposes that losing self-consciousness through engaging in hobbies or interests in one of the most powerful ways to ward off depression. Activities that stimulate ‘flow state’ including reading, painting, cooking, gardening, puzzles and exercise.
5. Look after your physical health
Look after your body with good nutrition and regular exercise. Maintain a healthy quality of life that allows you to get through your daily activities without undue fatigue or physical stress. Our ‘health behaviours’ have a significant impact on our wellness and adopting healthful habits (routine check-ups, a balanced diet, exercise, etc.) while avoiding destructive habits (tobacco, drugs, alcohol, etc.) will lead to optimal physical wellness.
Ilardi, S 2010 ‘The Depression Cure’ Vermilion Penguin Random House UK
Seligman, M 2011 Flourish. New York: Free Press. pp. 16–20