Being the best version of yourself: a different take on Healthy Aging Month

Happy September, everyone! This month is Healthy Aging Month. Granted, you most likely don’t want to hear from the college student in this department, so please bear with me and read it anyway!

In this day and age, you see the focus spotlighting more complaints people have with growing older, whether it be health-related, changes in your body or its capabilities, or just feeling out of the loop with the latest trends or new technologies (and take my word for it, even I don’t have that all worked out, myself).  I’m going to sound a bit like my yoga teacher when I say this, but this month and every other month that follows should be a time to appreciate all your body has done and continues to be able to do as you age. It should also be a time to appreciate the memories and the benefits of having life experience under your belt. It is also a responsibility, and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly, because it is an opportunity to use that experience to be a leader or at least play a significant role in your community, whether that’s where you live or within your family, or whatever other community you identify as a part of.

While I don’t necessarily agree with HealthyAging.net’s notion of “reinventing yourself,” because I personally think you should simply strive to be the best version of your existing self, I think they make some pretty valid points that are probably left stated by them, so I’ll leave them to it. With that said, here are their tips for being the best you that you can be this Healthy Aging Month. And remember, it doesn’t have to end on the 30th.

10 Tips for Rein­vent­ing Your­self dur­ing Sep­tem­ber Is Healthy Aging® Month:

  • Do not act your age or at least what you think your cur­rent age should act like. What was your best year so far? 28? 40? Now? Pic­ture your­self at that age and be it. Some peo­ple may say this is denial, but we say it’s pos­i­tive think­ing and goes a long way toward feel­ing bet­ter about your­self. (Tip:  Don’t keep look­ing in the mir­ror, just FEEL IT!)
  • Be pos­i­tive in your con­ver­sa­tions and your actions every day. When you catch your­self com­plain­ing, check your­self right there and change the con­ver­sa­tion to some­thing pos­i­tive. (Tip: Stop watch­ing the police reports on the local news.)
  • Have neg­a­tive friends who com­plain all of the time and con­stantly talk about how awful every­thing is? Drop them. As cruel as that may sound, dis­tance your­self from peo­ple who do not have a pos­i­tive out­look on life. They will only depress you and stop you from mov­ing for­ward. Sur­round your­self with ener­getic, happy, pos­i­tive peo­ple of all ages and you will be hap­pier too. (Tip: Smile often. It’s con­ta­gious and wards off naysayers.)
  • Walk like a vibrant, healthy per­son. Come on. You can prob­a­bly do it. Ana­lyze your gait. Do you walk slowly because you have just become lazy or, per­haps, have a fear of falling? (Tip: Make a con­scious effort to take big strides, walk with your heel first, and wear com­fort­able shoes.)
  • Stand up straight! You can knock off the appear­ance of a few extra years with this trick your mother kept try­ing to tell you. Look at your­self in the mir­ror. Are you hold­ing your stom­ach in, have your shoul­ders back, chin up? Check out how much bet­ter your neck looks! Fix your stance and prac­tice it every day, all day until it is nat­ural. You will look great and feel bet­ter. (Tip: Your waist­line will look trim­mer if you fol­low this advice.)
  • How’s your smile? Research shows peo­ple who smile more often are hap­pier. Your teeth are just as impor­tant to your good health as the rest of your body. Not only is it the first thing peo­ple notice, but good oral health is a gate­way to your over­all well-being. (Tip: Go to the den­tist reg­u­larly and look into teeth whiten­ing. Noth­ing says old more than yel­low­ing teeth!)
  • Lonely? Stop brood­ing and com­plain­ing about hav­ing no friends or fam­ily. Do some­thing about it now. Right this minute. Pick up the phone, land­line, or cell and make a call to do one or more of the fol­low­ing: Vol­un­teer your time, Take a class,  Invite some­one to meet for lunch, brunch, din­ner, or cof­fee. (Tip: Vol­un­teer at the local pub­lic school to stay in touch with younger peo­ple and to keep cur­rent on trends, take a com­puter class or a tuto­r­ial ses­sion at your cell phone store to keep up with tech­nol­ogy, choose a new per­son every week for your din­ing out.)
  • Start walk­ing not only for your health but to see the neigh­bors. Have a dog? You’ll be amazed how the dog can be a con­ver­sa­tion starter. (Tip: If you don’t have time for a dog, go to your local ani­mal shel­ter and vol­un­teer. You will be thrilled by the puppy love!)
  • Make this month the time to set up your annual phys­i­cal and other health screen­ings. Go to the appoint­ments and then, hope­fully, you can stop wor­ry­ing about ail­ments for a while.
  • Find your inner artist. Who says tak­ing music lessons is for young school chil­dren? You may have an artist lurk­ing inside you just wait­ing to be tapped.  Have you always wanted to play the piano, vio­lin, or tuba? Have you ever won­dered if you could paint a por­trait or scenic in oil? What about work­ing in wood? (Tip: Sign up now for fall art or music classes and dis­cover your inner artist!)