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By Marisa Rivera

“It’s not the years in your life, but the life in your years”

It’s not easy to grow older, but we can change our attitude by putting more life, energy and enthusiasm into our day to day as we grow older.

I constantly hear from aging individuals; “I can’t do that because… I am too old, I have not done it in years, I am too heavy, or my heart, my legs, my body are not what they used to be. It is important to recognize what are truly our limitations and what are our excuses. The truth of the matter is that we have no choice in getting old. Right now, you are the oldest you have ever been and the youngest you will ever be.

How we practice self-care, how we welcome life into our daily living and how we take care of our physical and emotional bodies will influence how we age.

According to a study by the American Heart Association, Journal Circulation 2018, we can prolong life expectancy by more than a decade by following these five healthy habits:

  1. Never smoke

  2. Maintain a healthy body-mass index

  3. Keep up with moderate to vigorous exercise

  4. Don’t drink too much alcohol

  5. Eat a healthy diet.

These are all physiological strategies that are necessary to live longer and healthier. I would also argue that connecting your mind to your heart, to your feelings and your pursuit of happiness is equally as important. Your positive attitude about life will provide you with moments of joy and gratification that can prolong your life expectancy.

One of the beauties about aging is that you become more comfortable about who you are in your own skin. I have learned not to obsess about my imperfections but focus on feeling good about myself. Nothing will make you more beautiful than the confidence of embracing YOU just the way you are. I have also learned a few other things about aging gracefully:

  • Don’t wait for later. Live in the NOW. We only have today, make each day count, and live it like it was your last. Spend more time with the people you love. Become the person you always wanted to become.

  • Accept yourself just the way you are. Yes, we are older, and have limitations, but we are not dead. I did my first triathlon at 47, became a certified scuba diver at 57 and I can’t wait to see what I will be doing at 67!

  • Let go of the past and forgive yourself. The best gift we can give ourselves is the gift of forgiveness. Start by forgiving yourself and then others. Get out of any toxic relationships. We all make mistakes; learn from them, grow-up, don’t sweat the small stuff and move on.

  • Let the child in you come out. One of the greatest satisfactions about becoming a grandparent is that you have an excuse to play. Jump on the trampoline, play soccer, go swimming, teach your grandchildren games you used to play when you were young and laugh often.

  • Find activities that bring more relaxation and joy into your life. Learn and practice yoga, meditation, a new hobby, a new language, and sleep more. Practice using affirmations and changing negative thoughts into positive thoughts.

Incorporating these changes into your life don’t need to be sweeping life changes, but they will help you age gracefully and happily.

Adopting a healthy lifestyle could substantially prolong your life expectancy but listening to your heart and mind will allow you to lead the life you always wanted in peace, harmony and joy.

Go put more life into your years!

Marisa Rivera is president of Mpowerment Works, a motivational speaker, executive coach and leadership and empowerment consultant.

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