Here’s a surprising thought: aging isn't a disease. Sounds like common sense, doesn’t it? But the message our society sends is the exact opposite — that aging is an illness, and we must “fix” it to find happiness.
We don’t age overnight. We don’t wake up one morning having shifted from the full bloom of youth into geriatric diapers and arthritic knees. We age every day, and simultaneously, we are renewing every moment. So the habits of today create the health of tomorrow. It doesn’t matter how old you are today; starting from childhood, the choices you make in the present will impact the body, mind and spirit of tomorrow.
Ancient traditions like Ayurveda
embrace aging, and they offer tips on how to transition through the stages of life naturally, gracefully, and beautifully. The result? Peace and happiness at every stage of life. If that sounds like something you’re looking for now, give some of these tips a try.
1. Protect your digestion.
processes EVERYTHING that you take in from this world — not just food and drink, but all the sites, smells and sounds. Your digestion draws nutrition from all you take in and removes the waste, which can otherwise build up and leave toxicity in the system. As you age, poor nutrition and buildup of toxins and waste contribute to a wide variety of health issues. A few simple choices can go a long way:
- Prefer warm, cooked foods when your digestion is struggling. While raw foods have their benefits, Ayurveda teaches that you can’t take advantage of the nutrition they provide if you can’t digest them. If you experience gas, bloating, acidity, a sluggish feeling after eating, or a heavy coating on your tongue, it's likely that your digestion could use some support, and warm, cooked foods make it easier on your system.
- Sip hot water. This easy remedy will do wonders to boost your digestion and cleanse your system. And to hydrate yourself, choose warm or room temperature water; stay away from ice and cold drinks as this will squash your digestion.
- Healthy bowel movements are key. This is how your body gets rid of the wastes and toxins that will otherwise accumulate and settle in the body. If you face irregularity, consider more fiber in your diet, increase your hydration, and use a gentle rejuvenating herb like Triphala when needed.
- Consider a simple seasonal home cleanse to keep the system balanced. Just think of it as your “tune-up.”
2. Give yourself a warm oil massage.
This simple self-treat has an incredible number of benefits: it can moisturize and rejuvenate the skin, tone muscles, lubricate joints, calm and soothe the nervous system, and support sleep
and energy. Using oil is a key part of receiving the benefits. This video shows you a simple technique that can be used daily.
3. Keep the body and mind active and engaged.
The body as well as the mind and memory need to be exercised to keep them young and flexible. Find fun and diverse activities to keep exercise from becoming a chore. Convince a couple of friends to be your regular exercise buddies. And keep the stress and competition out — make this about being the healthiest “you” possible. Practices like yoga and tai chi can be great for the body, mind and spirit.
4. Manage stress.
is often related to not being able to accept this moment as it is. It may seem that your challenges are mountains compared to other people’s mole-hills, but the reality is that challenges are a learning opportunity, an opportunity to rise to your higher self. When you fight the learning opportunity and get caught up in “why me,” you experience stress. One great method for relieving stress is meditation. There are many techniques of meditation; find one that emphasizes learning to accept the moment for what it is: a transient event that will inherently change, and of which you are only an observer. Your true nature is not the ups and downs, but infinite Divinity.
5. Enjoy your relationships.
Friends and family provide connections that keep life full of laughter and joy. Sometimes, though, even your most cherished relationships can become a struggle. Remember in those moments that the people in your life are mirrors for you to learn more about yourself and grow. Then your happiness isn't dependent on how the other person is doing. Surround yourself with the people you love, then enjoy and cherish them no matter how cantankerous you all become!
If you’d like to learn more about your Ayurvedic constitution and get seasonal tips, take the constitution quiz
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