Why Aren’t You Kinder to Yourself

How to Slow The Aging Process, Be Happy, and Become Inspired

Life is harder now because our world is designed to distract us.  Our world is more confusing than ever due to technology and real time news being so omnipresent.  Depression and anxiety rates are skyrocketing.  Addiction is an epidemic.  Obesity continues to rise in America.  General unhappiness, malaise, numbness and dissatisfaction are the expected norm.  If your life isn’t moving in the direction you want it to go, or if you feel overwhelmed by everything around you, then hopefully you will benefit from the following sage advice by BoomerGal, derived from research done through “Ladders” and “Coastal Living.”

Staying on theme for this week, it is worth reiterating that kindness and gratitude are the primary drivers for happiness.  We’ve been talking about kindness as the simple act of giving, while expecting little in return.  However, as we’ve pointed out, the mere act of giving or extending kindness results in compounded satisfaction in return.  The old adage:  it’s better to give than to receive comes back multi-fold.  This is true when you reach out to someone, and it’s true when you reach inside and overdose on kindness to yourself.  

Your BoomerGal is sitting here at 68 and my BoomerGuy is 73, and we ask ourselves every morning how did we get here so fast.  And then we ask are we aging faster than our years, and if we don’t like what we see in the mirror, it’s time to evaluate some of our daily routines and shift the kindness meter our direction to slow it down.

I talk to my friends around the country and we all marvel at the aging process.  We have aches and pains that we never had before, we have gray hair popping out unexpectedly, skin conditions that we haven’t seen since our teenage years, we have foodie desires like never before (especially before bedtime), we’re packing on a few more pounds than we would like, our virus meter is at an all-time high because people are passing along varied and different viral and bacterial infections like never before, our exercise habits post holiday season have taken a bit of a dip and we’re slightly more puffy (that’s a good word for us BoomerGal’s), we’re stressing out with all the new technology and just trying to keep up-to-date with it all….  I could go on and on, but you get the point.  Our lives are on a fast track whether we want them to be or not.  So, what is the solution to this aging process and how do we get it under control.

Here are several suggestions that I want to pass along that hopefully will be of benefit to your health, wellness and anti-aging process.  It’s called being kind to yourself.

OUR TO DO LIST.  Regardless of your age, if your to-do list never seems to get any shorter, the stress from that alone may be aging and taxing your body.  The pace of society and how we manage the flow of information promotes the idea that multitasking is a good thing, when in reality you don’t actually get anything done—you just create more stress and accelerate the process of aging.  Raymond Casciari, MD, Chief medical Officer of St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, California says instead of trying to do it all,  concentrate on one task at a time and moving on once you’ve finished.  I’ve been saying, quit trying to chew the elephant all at one time, just eat one piece before the next one.  Your gratitude quotient will increase dramatically, and you will recognize it’s far better to be kind to yourself than not.

THE DESSERT MONKEYS.  They’re everywhere.  At restaurants in the chilled glass enclosures; Walmart and Costco have the greatest display of desserts in the free world; go on a cruise and you’ll never leave the buffet aisle.  Aside from adding excess pounds to your body, your sweet tooth may also be adding years to your face.  If you can’t pass up dessert at lunch, dinner or bedtime, the sugar may be causing a loss of radiance, dark circles under the eyes, loss of tone, puffiness, and an increase in fine lines and wrinkles.  Easy for me to say but pass up the sugary treats or minimize them greatly, maybe once or twice weekly.  Pass on the sugary treats if you want to preserve your youthful glow.  This is a great step in being kind to yourself.  

YOU’RE A COUCH POTATO.  If you spend your day sitting, the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle are well-documented.  People who spend most of their days parked in a chair are at increased risk for kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and not to mention obesity.  Naturally, exercising regularly helps to prevent these health issues and keeps you living longer.  If you were to exercise 150 minutes a week (that’s 2 ½ hours out of 168 hours a week, or 1.5%, or 20 minutes a day—whoopee!), evidence suggests you can live 10-13 years longer than the inactive bunch.  You’re being kind to yourself by living healthier, and you’re being kinder to your family and friends with whom you share memorable moments of life.

YOU’RE A TV JUNKIE.  This one is closely related to the one above.  Binge-watching your favorite TV channel is one thing, regularly gluing yourself to the TV is another.  This effect is more about sitting and being inactive than the TV watching, but the TV becomes the crutch for the inactivity.  All you have to do is sit for 30 minutes and your body begins to go into overweight overdrive.  If you’re set on this as a lifestyle, shame on you.  If not, then put your TV show or movie on hold and get up every 30 minutes to get up and walk around.  

POTATO CHIP ENVY.  When I walk through Walmart or Costco or similar convenience shopping outlets, I watch very closely what people are putting in their carts.  It’s absolutely amazing to me the junk food people grab off the shelf, not just the Gen X’ers and Millennials, but also the Boomers and senior class.  The potato chip stash seems to be the worse, along with ice cream loaded with preservatives.  Here’s what we do:  skip the aforementioned very tasty treats that are bad for you, and substitute them with low fat Chinese crispy noodles and low fat yogurt.  Are you kidding me, they taste great, will satisfy your hunger and sweet tooth, and provide you with nutrients that you just can’t get with the “bad stuff.”    It’s called “snack shifting,” and being kind to yourself.  Watch a few pounds drop off as a result.

There is so much more, to be continued tomorrow…

Editorial contribution by Benjamin P. Hardy, The Ladders, and 

Linda Melone, Coastal Living

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