We must believe in positive ageing and accepting the challenge head on, feel good about ourselves, keep fit, active and healthy, and engage fully in life as we grow older. It’s then that we will love getting older. Getting older doesn’t mean decline or despair but is a reason for celebration, says DR PUSHPA CHATURVEDI 

It was peak summer late evening some years ago when electricity power cut was at its peak. One fan and a small light was all I could use. I was living all alone at home in a rural medical institution. To the casual observer, my nest seemed empty. But God was with me and I was in gratitude and at peace with myself.

Soft music was playing on my battery-operated player as I was happily stretched on the sofa with a book. There was a sudden knock on the door. 

I opened the door to Dr Prerna, my lecturer, who was there to discuss some professional matter. I smiled and welcomed her. The first thing she remarked was: “Ma’am I love the way you so happily engage yourself all alone in this heat and power cut and keep smiling always. My relatives are always complaining and unhappy when they visit me in this rural medical college residence.”

Dr Pushpa Chaturvedi

Adopt a Positive Attitude

So you see , the most important way to make the journey of ageing graceful and positive and approach the twilight years with some style, grace, humour and see wrinkles as lines of love, laughter and wisdom, is all about our attitude towards life. Adopting a positive attitude and acceptance of circumstances puts a glow on your face, irrespective of whether you are staying alone in your seventies and beyond.

Setting a goal gives life a purpose. I am sure our purpose is that we all want to live a long, healthy, happy and meaningful life. We want to spread happiness and peace and practice gratitude for what we have. Health is our top priority. Happiness follows health. Health is wealth. So look after your physical, mental and spiritual health.

Gratitude can reverse ageing stress and ill health by balancing heart rhythms and the nervous system, boosting immunity and hormonal equilibrium, increasing production of the anti-ageing compounds in our body.

Remain Independent and Engaged in Healthy Activities

The goal should be to be able to remain independent, active, and engaged in healthy activities which nurture our body, mind and soul. For achieving this goal, we need to start preparing from a younger age rather than thinking of it later, as a lifestyle cultivated earlier definitely pays dividends better in later life.

The author enjoying the beauty of nature

I believe in the motto that the busier you are, the happier you are. Being busy with creative activities, reading, writing, adventure outings, connecting with nature, connecting with family and friends, helping out in household chores, cooking or even following your heart to engage in meaningful, fruitful social activities leaves one no time to brood or grudge life.

Learning Something New and Creative

I also believe that growing older in age is never a bar to learning something new. This I have practically experienced with the grace of God. The opportunity to create something new and beautiful always gives an enormous sense of satisfaction and empowerment. We open our mind to new ideas with a flexible attitude, thus enjoying the essence of our creativity which helps us to maintain youthful vitality.

As we grow older, we must eat less but eat healthy, nutritious, easy-to-digest, low caloric food. As our body ages, it becomes less efficient at digesting high caloric foods. Remember the age old saying, “The secret of living well and longer is: eat half, walk double, laugh triple and love without measure.” 

Painting by Dr Pushpa Chaturvedi

What meditation and our positive attitude does to our mind and soul, yoga and exercises do to our body. Bringing them into our daily practice will help us keep our body, mind and soul healthy. Meditation reduces stress and increases positive states of mind. Now there is scientific evidence to prove that meditation slows age-related loss of grey matter of the brain, which is needed for good mental health and memory.

Exercises like walking, gardening, yoga and pranayama boost mood, improve sleep, counter anxiety and depression, improve reflex time, help prevent age-related memory loss, as well as help in digestion, thus preventing constipation and piles commonly seen in inactive individuals. Many changes that physiologists attribute to ageing are actually caused by disuse. Using your body more actively will keep it young.

Use Mind Control

Creativity Keeps You Youthful Forever (Painting by the author)

Science tells us that 30 per cent of health problems and longevity is genetic, but 70 per cent of these issues you can control with your mind ― by the way you think, your attitude, your lifestyle; by a healthy daily routine; and with a heart full of gratitude to God as you count your blessings and don’t take them for granted. 

Accept the changes and limitations which come with age and love yourself more as you grow old. It’s paradoxical that the idea of living a long healthy life appeals to everyone, but the idea of getting old doesn’t appeal to anyone.

We must believe in positive ageing. We must accept the challenge head on and feel good about ourselves; keep fit, active and healthy, and engage fully in life as we grow older. It’s then that we will love getting older. 

Getting older doesn’t mean decline or despair. It’s a reason for celebration! 

Featured Image by Dr Pushpa Chaturvedi

Dr Pushpa Chaturvedi, a paediatrician with over 50 years’ experience, is an educationist and researcher, with over 100 research publications, mainly on social paediatrics in renowned medical journals. Ex-Professor and Head of Department of Paediatrics, MGIMS Sevagram, Wardha, she is a thinker, writer, poet, artist and a spiritual blogger with over 500 blogs to her credit. Dr Chaturvedi is also a keen traveller, music and nature lover.

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