I write a column for the Hawai’i Herald for the month of February on aging. Over the years I’ve heard different perspectives on aging – some look forward to getting older, others dread it, and others feel their age and work on accepting their newfound limitations.
I am not the best at guessing people’s ages, largely because I sense their energy. If someone has a youthful exuberance, then oftentimes I think they are younger than they are. Someone who appears more controlled, reserved, and serious often appears older than they are. So my theory is that you are the age that you feel. This is one of the powers of the mind and when you think you are twenty years younger than you are, you can manifest that reality even with Father Time breathing down your proverbial neck.
The beauty industry bankrolled 511 billion dollars in 2021. With an estimated compounded growth rate of 4.75%, that is predicted to exceed 716 billion dollars by 2025. This amazing statistic illustrates how much focus, attention, research, and resources are directed at slowing down the aging process or appearing younger. So many products, medical breakthroughs, and procedures are all aimed at making you look younger. Not to mention all the different supplements and dietary products that are reported to help one stay younger and stave off the aging process. So, what gives?
I discovered several years back that there are three types of aging – chronological, biological, and psychological. Chronological age is computed from the day that you were born and considers how many days and years you have been in existence. Biological age focuses on the cellular level and the body’s functionality. In other words, depending on how you have lived your life, your diet, activity level, and lifestyle, affect this age. Last, is psychological age. This is based on your perspective, how you feel about yourself, and the impacts of past experiences. Although the aging process is constant, just know that you have more power than you realize to stay young even as you age.
Chronological age is akin to your spiritual energetic body, because your soul is the one constant since birth. However, the one power you do have is the choice on how to spend the most precious commodity – “your” time.
Biological age focuses on the functional capability of a person. Determining one’s actual physical condition is being proactive in predicting any possible pathology and being able to prevent any future deterioration. This research has also been shown to be better at predicting the rate of aging and determining your life span.
- Nutrition and Diet: A high-nutrient diet slows aging, versus fast food and sweets which accelerate aging.
- Lifestyle: Research shows regular physical exercise and sound sleep slows the aging process.
- Stress and Tension: A multitude of studies have shown stress’ adverse effect on people and how it ages them faster.
- Environment: Toxic chemicals and high EMF levels were discovered to accelerate aging.
Good genes and a healthy lifestyle also contribute to one’s youthful appearance. Just note that not all is lost if you have not been taking care of your health, because studies have shown that if you stop and make the necessary changes you can reverse the effects of premature aging.
Think and so you are! This is related to your psychological age. Building trust in yourself and your body will help you deal with the past stories and experiences, and the inability to let go of the negative and positive stories that prevent you from being in the present. Your perception of your vitality and health is necessary for you to stay youthful and present with your body and life. I have a theory that when you witnessed a loved one who you admired, appear to lose some of their function and vitality, you determined in your mind that their age is when you will get old. According to Ellen Langer, “social conditions may foster what may erroneously appear to be necessary consequences of aging,”
The key focus is to stay mindful and be present in the moment. Your thoughts are powerful. Stay productive and independent as you get older. Currently science and technology haven’t discovered a way to slow down aging but recognize that you create the life you want. There are three calculated ways of aging, but your perception plays a major role on whether you age gracefully or not. Don’t let your chronological age or the infectious illness of “old age,” dictate how you want to experience the quality and vitality of your life.