Carolyn Worthington is the editor-in-chief of Healthy Aging® Magazine and executive director of Healthy Aging®. She is also the originator of September is Healthy Aging® Month. It is a yearly health observance celebration dedicated to bringing national awareness on the positive aspects of aging. And now in its 2nd decade, Worthington shares, September is Healthy Aging® Month provides motivation and useful, realistic ideas for adults, ages 50-plus, to enhance their physical, mental, social, and financial well-being. “Use September as the motivation to take stock of where you’ve been, what you really would like to do if money was no object,” says Worthington. “And try it! Who says you have to do something related to what you studied in school? Who says, you can’t become an entrepreneur, start your own home business later in life, test your physical prowess, or do something wildly different from anything you’ve done before? Only that person you see in the mirror!”
Here are some ideas from the editors of Healthy Aging® Magazine (www.healthyaging.net) to help get you started on your own personal re-invention.
10 Tips for Reinventing Yourself during September Is Healthy Aging® Month:
Do not act your age or at least what you think your current age should act like. What was your best year so far? 28? 40? Now? Picture yourself at that age and be it. Some people may say this is denial, but we say it is positive thinking and goes a long way toward feeling better about yourself. (Tip: Don’t keep looking in the mirror, just FEEL IT!)
Be positive in your conversations and your actions every day. When you catch yourself complaining, check yourself right there and change the conversation to something positive. (Tip: Stop watching the police reports on the local news.)
Surround yourself with energetic, happy, positive people of all ages and you will be happier too. Have negative friends who complain all of the time and constantly talk about how awful everything is? Drop them. As cruel as that may sound, distance yourself from people who do not have a positive outlook on life. They will only depress you and stop you from moving forward. (Tip: Smile often. It’s contagious and wards off naysayers.)
Walk like a vibrant, healthy person. Come on. You can probably do it. Analyze your gait. Do you walk slowly because you have just become lazy or, perhaps, have a fear of falling? (Tip: Make a conscious effort to take big strides, walk with your heel first, and wear comfortable shoes.)
Stand up straight! You can knock off the appearance of a few extra years with this trick your mother kept trying to tell you. Look at yourself in the mirror. Are you holding your stomach in, have your shoulders back, chin up? Check out how much better your neck looks! Fix your stance and practice it every day, all day until it is natural. You will look great and feel better. (Tip: Your waistline will look trimmer if you follow this advice.)
How’s your smile? Research shows people who smile more often are happier. Your teeth are just as important to your good health as the rest of your body. Not only is it the first thing people notice, but good oral health is a gateway to your overall well-being. (Tip: Go to the dentist regularly and look into teeth whitening. Nothing says old more than yellowing teeth!)
Lonely? Stop brooding and complaining about having no friends or family. Do something about it now. Right this minute. Pick up the phone, landline, or cell and make a call to do one or more of the following: Volunteer your time, take a class, invite someone to meet for lunch, brunch, dinner, or coffee. (Tip: Volunteer at the local public school to stay in touch with younger people and to keep current on trends, take a computer class or a tutorial session at your cell phone store to keep up with technology, choose a new person every week for your dining out.)
Start walking not only for your health but to see the neighbors. Have a dog? You’ll be amazed how the dog can be a conversation starter. (Tip: If you don’t have time for a dog, go to your local animal shelter and volunteer. You will be thrilled by the puppy love!)
Make this month the time to set up your annual physical and other health screenings. Go to the appointments and then, hopefully, you can stop worrying about ailments for a while. (Tip: For a list of recommended annual health screenings, a great resource is the My Health Finder. Here’s what Medicare Covers.
Find your inner artist. Who says taking music lessons is for young school children? You may have an artist lurking inside you just waiting to be tapped. Have you always wanted to play the piano, violin, or tuba? Have you ever wondered if you could paint a portrait or scenic in oil? What about working in wood? (Tip: Sign up now for fall art or music classes and discover your inner artist!)
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