How to stay young

‘Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength’ – Betty Friedan

OK, perhaps the title is a little ambitious, after all the clock keeps on ticking for us all and time seems to go in a flash. However, studies have shown that there are things we can all do, beyond the basics of exercising our minds and bodies, stopping (or never) smoking and eating well.

Time goes on (Photo by Pixabay on

One thing that experts all seem to agree on is that staying young begins in the mind. Stress is bad for us, causing all sorts of illnesses and increasing our likelihood of ageing badly. Keeping our mind healthy and positive is the key way to stay young.

Mindfulness and meditation are a great way to start. If it’s not something we are used to doing, we can start with simple breathing exercises, focusing on our breath and gently pushing away any thoughts which try to come into our mind. It has been proven that 10-20 minutes of doing this every day can prevent age-related changes in our brains. There are plenty of other benefits to this too, not just those related to ageing. If you’d like a reminder, why not have a read of my earlier post ‘Mindful or Mind-full’ –

It has been proven that people who see the positives in ageing, such as wisdom and emotional maturity, live an average of 7.6 years longer than those who see it more negatively. One of the best ways to do this is to mix with people of all different ages and to maximise time spent with positive, optimistic people. Surprisingly, the link between social relationships and longevity is as strong as cholesterol levels or smoking. Giving and receiving love is also a great way to keep you young. Whether that is a romantic relationship with a partner, or with children or grandchildren, a pet, or our friends, love helps us feel energised and boosts our self-esteem.

Enjoy yourself! (Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

It’s also important to take small steps out of our comfort zone, stay active and undo any negative stereotypes about aging that we may have. One of the ways we can stay young is to do new things and to take a genuine interest in the things that the younger generation are enjoying.

Another important thing is to have a sense of purpose. If we spend the day watching TV or playing computer games, we get to the evening and wonder what we did with our day. Even if we aren’t at work, achieving something, anything, can really help. It might be that we met with friends, or learnt something new, or maybe we did something we’ve been putting off. Whatever it is, feeling as if we have achieved something helps us to recover faster from setbacks or minor illnesses and helps to keep us young.

Spending time outdoors is good for us however old we are. Sunlight triggers the release of serotonin, a chemical in the brain which improves sleep and appetite. Of course we need to be sensible but spending small amounts of time outside without sunscreen boosts levels of Vitamin D too. Fresh air revitalises mind and body and really helps strengthen our immune system. It also makes us less likely to experience depression or anxiety.

Enjoying the fresh air (Photo by Kampus Production on

Finally, believing in ourselves is really important if we want to live longer. Albert Bandura, a psychologist who created the concept of self-efficacy, believes that while many physical capabilities may decrease as a person ages, the gains in knowledge, skills and expertise more than compensate. But this means that we have to believe in ourselves and have the confidence of our own abilities and thoughts. If we can see problems as challenges to be met and failure as a learning experience for next time, we are far more likely to not only live to a grand old age, but to enjoy it.

So our tiny tweak? Well I guess this is a really individual one. It depends on how old we are and what we think about ageing right now. It might be that we don’t even do the basics, or it might be that we are at the other end of the scale – already eating well and exercising daily as well as having good self-confidence and practicing meditation. But wherever we are, there’s a tiny tweak somewhere! What’s yours going to be?

Until next time xx


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