Ideas about what we can and can’t do as the years pass can literally become self-fulfilling prophecies. I love coming across research that shows that what we think of as being a fact is actually just another meme or chunk of cultural hypnosis passing itself off as a truth. New research from the University of California shows that keeping an active mind can actually reverse what was once thought to be an inevitable decline in our mental capabilities as we age.
In a nutshell, we’re only as old as we think we are – or we are only as old as we think! I have a fantastic father in law of 81 and recently went on holiday with him and his equally fabulous twin brother. I do not consider these men to be old. We played volleyball, Frank swam every night and first thing in the morning and they both ran around the field every day and had competitions to see who was the fitter of the two. Anyone who met my father in law would see him as fit, vibrant, charismatic and fully in touch with his power as a man. He also still lectures all around the world and drove to France which was a 10 hour drive each way. Ideas of old age are a cultural virus that now we are all living longer we need to tackle. We really are only as old as we feel.
Here are five ways to keep your brain ticking over!
1/ If you catch yourself thinking that it’s too late or you’re too old to do something new, realise that you’ve been exposed to nothing more than an idea that you don’t need to let become part of your thinking. The truth is, you have everything you need to go after your passions and dreams at any time!
2/ Keep learning! One of the great joys of life to me is that there is always something to learn. Whether it’s Japanese or quantum physics, studying something can actually revive and rewire brain circuits and reverse the ageing process.
3/ Be playful. Kids learn through play and it’s a brilliant way of continuing to think about things in a different way. Imagination and inspiration go hand in hand and usually start at the point where you ask, ‘what if?’
4/ Go for your dreams. If you’ve always wanted to open a bakery or become a tour guide, learn some new skill every week that contributes towards what you want to do. Don’t be a dentist who dreams of being a hairdresser. It might not be practical to make a big leap, but you can take small steps and equip yourself for where you want to be. You never know where that might take you.
5/ Forget how old you are. It really is just a number. If you are passionate about life, loving and living to the full, you can ignore what it says on your birth certificate – and other people will forget it too!
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