We may not like to admit it or even think about it… but most of us who are not presently old will one day be old. Yet for many people as they age, life gets increasingly difficult.
But there are definite positive ways to deal with aging. One of the first of these is a mindset that realizes that by getting old at least you’ve lived a long life, something that some people do not get the privilege of experiencing.
There are other optimistic ways of looking at getting older. These are not just aspects of living that are useful to those who are older or already old – but for everyone to know right now, young and old alike.
Have an attitude of gratitude
Focus on what you have that you didn’t when you were younger. This could include your children now as adults and hopefully doing well; grandchildren; earned wisdom; a lifetime of memories; a partner who you’ve been with for many years; more financial security…
Gratitude makes acceptance easier. So accepting that you are now older will make it easier to be older.
Looking back and feeling sad about not being so young any more won’t make you young again. In fact having a despondent attitude like this will make you feel even older more swiftly!
Stay young at heart. Accept yourself at every age you are, accept the things you cannot change.
It’s a fact that you are the age you have reached. Neither all the money nor all the will in the world can change when you were born.
Don’t look back too much, especially with regrets. Similarly, try not to worry about the future.
Keep it in the moment. Do your best to live one day at a time.
Writer Mitch Albom’s international bestselling book Tuesdays With Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson has much to do with aging. It is a true story about an old man called Morrie Schwartz who has an illness that means he will die in a few months – and the wisdom about living that he offers Mitch, his college student from nearly 20 years ago.
“You have to find what’s the good and true and beautiful in your life as it is now,” said Morrie in the book. “Looking back makes you competitive. And, age is not a competitive issue.
“The truth is, part of me is every age. I’m a three-year-old, I’m a five-year-old, I’m a 37-year-old, I’m a 50-year-old. I’ve been through all of them, and I know what it’s like. I delight in being a child when it’s appropriate to be a child. I delight in being a wise old man when it’s appropriate.
“Think of all I can be! I am every age, up to my own.
“As you grow, you learn more. If you stayed at 22, you’d always be as ignorant as you were at 22. Aging is not just decay, you know. It’s growth. It’s more than the negative you’re going to die, it’s also the positive that you understand you’re going to die, and that you live a better life because of it.”
One of the most important things to remember about aging is that it’s not solely about living for as long as possible. It’s also about staying in shape enough that you can actually be physically active.
Sadly, too many people – even sometimes while only in their 40s or 50s – struggle with even the most basic physical activity. Yet there are also people in their 70s and even 80s still regularly playing sports.
One of the most important things with age is what you are doing in your life. People frequently eat themselves older, drink themselves older, smoke themselves older, worry themselves older and then there is a lack of exercise too.
All of these things make someone older much quicker. Exercise is essential for everyone.
Find whatever exercise it is that you enjoy. It needs to be fun.
So many people have severe problems when they age. But you can often see why they have these problems from what they eat, what they drink, what they smoke, how little exercise they do and how much they worry about things.
Aging does cause physical changes, that is unavoidable as all life on earth starts to deteriorate at some point – but it definitely does not necessarily have to mean discomfort, pain or disability.
While not all illness is avoidable of course, many of the physical aspects associated with aging can be avoided, alleviated or beaten by eating healthily and exercising regularly – as well as maintaining a positive attitude.
For anyone who’s still young or not yet “old”, it’s wise to know that what you do now will certainly influence your health and wellbeing in future years. So if need be, improve your diet and get exercising without delay.
Then for those who are older or elderly, simply don’t listen to that self-sabotaging voice in the mind that says something like: “You’re too old to start this now.”
You’re never too old to start improving your quality of life. In fact, the best years of your life may well be ahead of you.
Keep mentally fit
It’s just as important alongside physical health to keep your mental abilities fit and healthy. The two are strongly connected of course.
Staying active and being social will help keep your mind sharp. This is even more important if you’ve retired and you’re not using your mind to solve work issues or socializing as much as you used to do.
There’s plenty that people can do to exercise their mind. This ranges from starting a hobby such as playing chess to doing puzzles or learning something new – for instance, playing an instrument or going to Spanish classes.
Then there is always reading, whether it be novels or self-help books. Or perhaps something combined with a new interest, such as reading a magazine about astronomy.
A small card with some suggestions for how to live life well called the Just For Today card is popular in Twelve Steps recovery communities. One of its suggestions is useful to remember every day here:
“Just for today I will try to strengthen my mind. I will study. I will learn something useful. I will not be a mental loafer. I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration.”
Discover your meaning
It’s extremely important for healthy aging to have a sense of purpose.
It will make you feel really alive. Wayne Dyer put it this way: “Don’t die with your music still in you.”
It could be something completely new, that there is now time for after retiring. Getting old is not a time to cease making progress.
In fact it can be as exciting as when you first left home to discover the world. Now you’ve learned how to navigate life it can be even better!
It could be that you start once again a passion that you gave up to have a family and career. Or you could try something completely new – keep an open mind.
Get among nature, travel, go to concerts, museums, art galleries, join a drama group… Just do it all with enthusiasm and joy – and the aging process will be kind to you.
Maybe it’s that you always wanted to do something to make the world a better place. You could volunteer for a charity or set up something that helps a particular group or person or nation in need.
As Morrie put it in Tuesdays With Morrie about why so many people wished they could be younger again. “You know what that reflects? Unsatisfied lives. Unfulfilled lives. Lives that haven’t found meaning.
“Because if you’ve found meaning in your life, you don’t want to go back. You want to go forward. You want to see more, do more.”
Keep in touch
Many older people feel isolated because they spend too much time alone. But this is not beneficial for emotional wellbeing.
People are social beings. We need contact with each other.
Thankfully, we live in an era when there are plenty of ways to stay in touch – whether that’s by traditional phone calls or video-calls on such as WhatsApp or FaceTime. For instance, make sure you’re in regular contact with your children: they may be grown up, but you can still give them so much and have great conversations.
But perhaps even better is to use the extra time most older people find they have to visit your loved ones. Or visit places you’ve always wanted to see: cities, museums, sports stadiums, famous sights – the list is endless.
Now is your opportunity to live life to the full and do what you’ve always wanted. There’s no reason why it can’t be the best time of your life.
Director of the NIAAA (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism) Dr George Koob was reported in the USA Today newspaper as saying that previous research had already revealed people are much more likely to drink more “during times of uncertainty and duress”.
But this always comes with a warning from experts such as Dr Koob. “Any increases in alcohol use during the pandemic could be a cause for concern. This is particularly if the increases stem from an attempt to cope with negative emotions associated with the crisis.”
Whatever the reason or justification, drinking too much and/or too often has definite proven long-term and short-term negative health consequences. This includes not only physical health but emotional and mental wellbeing too.
Here are six major benefits of giving up alcohol.
1. Better sleep
During sleep the body is busy repairing and restoring.
When alcohol is in the system the body is spending more time trying to rid itself of toxins. Stopping drinking gives the body a chance to do its job properly when asleep.
Many people think that alcohol actually makes them sleep better. It can certainly seem that way.
But it is in fact the opposite: a major disturbance to the body’s natural restorative process. This frequently means a feeling of tiredness and being unable to think clearly the day after drinking.
Regular proper sleep means our immune system is stronger. So we’re less likely to catch such as a virus – and if we do we can respond and recover better.
It also means we are less likely to have mishaps and accidents. Life in general will seem more in order – with, for instance, much more likelihood of eating healthy meals at regular times.
Alcohol is high in calories as well. For instance, a large glass of wine is nearly equivalent in calories to a donut.
Our body’s ability to burn fat is hindered by alcohol consumption. So quit drinking and the weight is more likely to fall off.
Additionally, too much alcohol negatively impacts on every organ in the body – including the heart, brain, pancreas and liver. Over time, it increases the risk of many life-threatening illnesses.
Alcohol also has a detrimental effect on the immune system. People who drink too much and too often will be more prone to illnesses and take longer to recover when they get ill.
3. More zest & productivity
Most people who drink too much will waste hours that add up to days and weeks every year. By quitting drinking you’ll be giving yourself more time to be productive and see the people you love as well as doing hobbies you enjoy.
Clarity of thought and better physical coordination will add an overall positive impact. All of this is a boost to emotional wellbeing too.
4. Better bank balance
Most people who quit drinking find they have more money. This is from the obvious fact that their money isn’t being spent on alcohol and any associated costs such as taxis home.
But it’s also from the fact that there will be less sick days and those other days when it’s just a struggle to get through the day. Productivity and decision-making is also improved.
Consequently, you’ll get much more done. That’s clearly a great benefit to your work life and earning potential.
5. More hours every day
Not only will there be less sick days and days of muddling through, there will be no mornings wasted in bed. There is also much more time compared to when there used to be those hours spent drinking.
This is an often overlooked major benefit of quitting drinking. But it’s one of the first things that people realize, even in their first week of not drinking.
6. Improved general wellbeing
Alcohol is a mood-altering substance. When people stop drinking they often notice their moods become less erratic, meaning they are calmer and more steady in life.
Many people notice that their emotional health is vastly improved. For example, this means they will be able to have much better healthy boundaries.
So the positive results for someone quitting alcohol can be excellent. This also benefits all the people who are close to them too.
Our expert team here at Tikvah Lake Recovery has many decades of experience in treating people with all types of problems. We carefully listen before offering treatments that are proven to work.
Every treatment we offer is completely personalized, so that it works the best for each of our guests. That is not only to gain the swiftest results – but also to ensure recovery is long-lasting and continues when you leave us.
Get in touch with us right now to speak in confidence. Discover how we can help you or someone you love.
It is no secret that the Coronavirus pandemic has done a number on the international community’s mental health. It seems that not a single person was left unscathed this past year, and it’s not hard to understand why. We’ve collectively seen death and disease in staggering numbers, been forbidden to leave our homes and see our loved ones, experienced loss of income and unemployment, and been forced to come to terms with our world looking nothing like the one we’d grown up with and gotten used to.
It’s no wonder why the number of adults reporting symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder has gone up by 400% from one in ten to four in ten during the pandemic. And with higher levels of stress, anxiety, and depression come more challenges: difficulty sleeping and eating, increase in alcohol consumption and substance abuse, and worsening chronic health conditions. Yet the perpetually underfunded mental health services sector is only being more disrupted or even halted in 93% of countries worldwide, specifically during a time when we need it most.
That being said, if you are one of the many people who are finding themselves experiencing increased anxiety as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, this does not mean that there aren’t steps you can take to help cope. By being proactive and taking means to address your stress and anxiety in a healthy way, you will improve your resiliency and get through the remainder of this pandemic if not better off, than at least with more strength and coping tools.
Give Yourself a Break
When something as major as a global pandemic – the first in nearly all of our lifetimes – happens, it is only natural to want to stay in the loop and informed about what is going on. You have an innate tendency to seek knowledge about what is going on around you, what the latest science tells us, what the most up-to-date health guidelines are, how many people are sick, how many are recovered, and how many have succumbed to the disease.
However, when you’re constantly checking the news and receiving an endless barrage of stories about all of the tragedy that is being wrought worldwide, it can become incredibly overwhelming and upsetting. So to help avoid these feelings of burden, consider limiting your consumption of Coronavirus news stories. You won’t miss out on anything important by stepping away from the news cycle every once in a while. Further, taking your eyes off of the screens that are so ubiquitous in our world will do your well-being good.
Prioritize Your Health and Well-Being
Speaking of wellness, one of the most important ways you can cope with anxiety is to take care of your body. After all, we are one, complete organism and our mental and physical well-being are interconnected in ways that cannot be untangled. Just like your anxiety can make you feel physically unwell, taking care of yourself physically can help improve your mood and lower your stress.
It’s easy during a pandemic to let healthy habits slip and allow our physical health to go neglected, but fighting this impulse will do you a world of good. Even actions as simple as getting up and showering every morning and eating a healthy breakfast can make a huge difference.
So to whatever extent you feel that you can, make an effort to commit to some if not all of the following healthy habits:
Get plenty of sleep
Eat healthy, balanced meals with lots of variety
Get physical exercise on a regular basis
Avoid excessive consumption of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs
Take deep breaths, meditate, and stretch
See the doctor when you are feeling unwell
Get the COVID-19 vaccine when it is available to you
You’ll be sure to find that once you start acting like a healthy person, you’ll start feeling like one, too, eventually lowering your stress levels.
Connect With Others in Your Community
One of the most challenging parts of this pandemic has been the isolation that it has put us all in. Human beings are social creatures and it is not natural for us to go months at a time without interacting with others. Being cut off from your support system can feel like a major blow, and feeling alone and isolated is a serious health problem, even to the extent that it is a risk factor for early mortality.
Of course, there is a reason why we’ve been suffering through isolation anyway. It’s one of the most effective steps we can all take to stop the spread of the pandemic. But social distancing doesn’t mean that you have to cut off all contact with others. Finding ways to maintain a sense of social connection and community that do not increase the risk of spreading COVID-19 is an important, even life-saving measure.
The good news is that we live in a time in which physical proximity is no longer a requirement for getting in touch with others. The internet is a tool that you can use to speak to and even see friends and family, attend virtual classes and gatherings, and reach out to mental health specialists and counseling services specifically aimed to help people get through the pandemic without feeling too isolated.
Whether you pick up the phone, send an e-mail, Facebook message, or Instagram DM, join a Zoom call or a webinar, or even send a good old-fashioned letter, making an active effort to reach out and connect with others is highly recommended.
Do What You Love
For many of us, our focus right now is on day-to-day survival. But such an approach can be tiring over time as we lose track of the things that make life fun and exciting. While you can’t necessarily take part in fun group activities at bars and restaurants, that doesn’t mean that you can’t still enjoy yourself and have a good time in order to unwind and receive a boost of endorphins.
So whether you choose to watch a funny movie or stand-up special, host a one-man dance party, cook yourself a delicious meal, do some rejuvenating yoga, or engage in one of your favorite hobbies that you never used to have enough time for, carving a bit of your day out to do activities that put a smile on your face and some lift into your heart is an important survival strategy.
Because the reality is that this pandemic didn’t turn out to be the temporary, short-term inconvenience many of us hoped it would become in the beginning. Although the vaccinations are finally here and hope for a return to our routines is on the horizon, there is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has become and continues to be our new normal, at least for the past year and now more. So developing the ability to find joy and laughter under these trying circumstances can help you to feel a sense of normalcy and potentially even find positivity in what has been an incredibly challenging year.
Reach Out For Help
In all fairness, these interventions can do quite a bit, but they can’t always make anxiety disappear, certainly not for everybody. The reality is that some problems require solutions more intensive than the ones we can achieve on our own from home. Sometimes, we need the help of professionals and dedicated services to address our mental health issues. And there is absolutely no shame in seeking out help of this kind – especially now when we are seeing more than ever just how critical mental health is.
If you feel like the help that you need goes beyond the suggestions listed above, we encourage you to look into our luxury recovery center focused on one-on-one treatment and personalized care. Located in Florida, Tikvah Lake offers the ultimate in personalization, comfort, and privacy. With only six beds in our center, our staff of experienced medical, physical, spiritual, and culinary professionals focuses entirely and uniquely on each guest’s specific needs.
To help facilitate healing and wellness, we offer an expansive, 15,000 square foot facility with a pool, spa, dock, and boat as well as a library, lounges, gourmet kitchen, private therapy spaces, recreational room, and generously sized bedrooms with en suites. And for those interested in taking advantage of the healing power of nature and movement, we are located adjacent to a State Park with miles of hiking trails.
If you are ready to start your healing and recovery journey, reach out today.
Many people do not have healthy boundaries. Not only does this mean they often feel that people have crossed a line, it also means they can spend a lot of time berating themselves.
People without healthy boundaries can have the self-critical voice inside their head telling them off for saying “yes” – when they know they really should have said “no”.
Sometimes they can also feel guilty, ashamed or depressed because they did or agreed to do something they didn’t want to do. Often they will be saying to themselves: “Yet again…”
Virtually every day of our life most of us will come into contact with other people. That doesn’t have to be in a physical sense as in the modern world it can be in a huge variety of ways: on the phone, a video-call or conference, or by such as text message and email.
So everybody needs healthy boundaries. We need them to keep the space that allows us to be our own individual self.
As there are more people in the world than there ever has been and because the world is increasingly busier, we all need healthy boundaries more than ever. Healthy boundaries let us keep our personal integrity.
Healthy versus unhealthy boundaries
Most of us prefer that we are both liked and respected. But sometimes we need to make clear what our boundaries are and that someone is crossing them.
In this way we have to accept that someone possibly won’t like us. But they certainly will have respect for how we are able to realize and maintain our healthy boundaries.
It also gives a statement that we understand what healthy and unhealthy boundaries look like. It says that because of this, we will also respect your healthy boundary.
Healthy boundaries can be crossed in different ways. This includes verbally – that is, being shouted at; someone gossiping or spreading rumours about us; and also when someone is not allowed to speak or if they do it is ridiculed or ignored.
In an emotional sense if someone simply doesn’t respect our sense of self, that is crossing our healthy boundary. Similarly if someone lies to, puts down, bullies, manipulates, embarrasses or tries to makes us feel guilty – that is all boundary crossing.
Someone getting into our personal physical space, being physically threatened or someone touching us without our permission (not only us but our belongings) – these are all instances when our healthy boundary needs to be strongly and swiftly enforced.
Likewise if someone is behaving in a manner that is too familiar and that often includes a sexual nature, or invades our privacy by such as looking over our shoulders at our WhatsApp messages or reading our emails.
Saying “yes” instead of “no”
How to set and keep our healthy boundaries is something most of us learn in childhood. But if the significant adults in our life as we grow up do not understand the need for healthy boundaries, then we are being taught incorrectly.
Growing up in a household where there’s a lot of criticism or some other form of abuse can mean as an adult that someone will have little or no sense of their healthy boundary. It is unlikely they will even know the difference between health and unhealthy boundaries.
In these instances it is because their sense of self has been damaged. Their self-esteem, self-confidence and self-love has also been negatively impacted.
With low self-esteem, self-confidence and self-love, people are always seeking love and approval. So they say “yes” when they mean to say “no” – and say, do or agree to certain things because they are seeking external validation.
This is one of the devastating impacts of a child having unmet needs when they are growing up. Some people might have been taught how to have a healthy boundary in their childhood, but then such as a traumatic incident can cause boundary problems for them.
What are healthy boundaries?
We all really know when our healthy boundary has been crossed. If our self-critical voice isn’t chirping away berating us, we feel it with uncomfortable emotions and in our gut instinct.
Boundaries are simply limits to what is acceptable and what is unacceptable.
Researcher and professor Brené Brown – well known for her TED Talk “The Power of Vulnerability” that’s been viewed more than 65 million times around the world – defines healthy boundaries in an equally simple way.
“A boundary is simply what’s okay and what’s not okay,” says Brown, who’s also the author of several bestselling recovery books including Dare to Lead. “If we don’t set boundaries, we let people do things that are not okay or get away with behaviors that are not okay. Then we’re just resentful or hateful.
“The moment someone asks you to do something you don’t have the time or inclination to do is fraught with vulnerability. ‘Yes!’ often seems like the easiest way out.
“But it comes at a price: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said ‘Sure!’ in my squeaky, I-can’t-believe-I’m-doing-this voice, only to spend hours, even months, feeling angry and resentful.
“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others. We can’t base our own worthiness on others’ approval – and this is coming from someone who spent years trying to please everyone! Only when we believe, deep down, that we are enough can we say ‘Enough!'”
Pushing against healthy boundaries
Most parents will certainly know what it’s like to have their healthy boundary tested. In this case it comes from their children as they are growing up.
In fact, this is perfectly normal: we all do it because it’s an intrinsic part of growing up. Children at various stages of their development want to test how independent they are – until the day they leave home.
Even though it’s normal, parents need to know and maintain their healthy boundary. That’s for the parents, but also so that they are teaching their children how to navigate life in a healthy manner.
Codependent relationships will be a constant test of boundaries as well. In addition, so too will being in a relationship of some sort with someone who’s an addict, including a person struggling with a behavioral addiction.
Frequently an addict and a codependent person will find each other to form a relationship. These relationships are bound to be fraught with unhealthy boundaries – and the solution here is to deal with the codependency or addiction.
Healthy boundaries can be developed in all circumstances. Firstly, someone needs to recognize that they currently have unhealthy boundaries.
Get in touch with us today for a chat about what we can do to help you or someone you care about to develop healthy boundaries.