Gravity’s a powerful and constant force. I’ve always thought that gravity is to blame for wrinkles, sagging skin, and sagging body parts. Scientists say that’s not true. People will age no matter what. Something about Einstein’s theory of relativity, time, and space. Whatever. All I know is that Bette Davis knew what she was talking about when she famously said, “Old age ain’t no place for sissies!”
Different ways of aging
Even though gray hair and wrinkles are obvious signs of aging, we age in different ways: chronological, mental, biological, and physical. So we may be 50 but have the mental sharpness of a 30 year old, have the internal body age of a 60 year old, and physical appearance of a 50 year old. All these things combine to create our self-image, so it’s easy to see how self-image can get thrown off.
Aging can be traumatic to self-image. The first time I saw my saggy neck skin was a shocker. I became borderline obsessed and would look at it from different angles. I found myself paying close attention to commercials for products promising to correct the condition. Total bummer. And even though it still bugs me sometimes, I don’t obsess about it anymore. I chose to adjust my self-image. Some one else might choose to adjust the skin. Either way, a positive self-image goes a long way to help you feel comfortable in your own skin, saggy or not.
Here are 5 ways to keep a positive self-image as you age:
Take care of yourself.
Never underestimate the power of a healthy lifestyle. Eating nutritious food, exercising, getting enough sleep, drinking alcohol in moderation, and minimizing stress will all help to keep you feeling well and strong. You don’t have to change everything all at once. Small changes add up over time. When you think about getting older, don’t just think about how long you’ll live, think about how well you’ll live and do what you can now to improve your quality of life in the future. Read Take Care of Your Body for specific tips about living a healthy lifestyle.
Find a role model.
Have you seen some one older than you and thought, “Wow! I want to be like that when I’m their age!” They’re your role model. My mom is a few months away from her 80th birthday and remains active, connected, and vibrant. She takes bus trips, stays involved with her church community, plays bunco with a group she’s been with for 50 years, and loves attending all kinds of events. She’s got a great attitude, a great laugh, speaks her mind, doesn’t hold a grudge, gives back by volunteering, stays connected to family and community, line dances twice a week, learns new things, reads regularly, goes to the movies, and doesn’t wait around for any one to entertain her. I’m blessed to be able to see her embracing life. I want to be like that when I’m 80.
Be kind to yourself.
Sometimes we’re not so nice to ourselves and we forget that words are powerful. You are what you say you are. The body achieves what the mind believes, so never beat yourself up. Practice building yourself up instead.
Have an attitude of gratitude.
Be grateful for every moment and face each day with a mindset of opportunity to learn something new and do something good for some one. Make the most of the present and don’t regret the time.
Run your own race.
Stop comparing yourself to others, or even to your younger self. If you’re thinking and remembering, longing for your body and what you could do 10 or 20 years ago, stop it. There’s no point. Instead, reflect on all the experience, life, and love you’ve had since then. Think about how you might feel about your body in 10 or 20 years and more than likely you won’t be as quick to find fault with it now.
Whether you choose to accept the aging process as it comes or to take all medical and technological means available to fight aging every step of the way is up to you. Maybe you fall somewhere in between. Whatever you choose to do, nurture your self-image every day to help you stay healthy and strong in body, mind, and spirit.