She was crying in my office. She had just been told the results of her hormonal evaluation, and it wasn’t what she wanted to hear. It was unlikely she would ever get pregnant again, at least not in the natural way. In human terms, her ovaries were just too old.

Yes, you are only as old as you feel! But none of us enjoys having to face grey hair, skin wrinkles, loss of strength, or “senior moments.” People have been searching for the fountain of youth for centuries.

While Ponce de Leon may have failed to find the fountain of youth in his Florida journeys, your own fountain of youth may be much closer to home. There are many things you can do that either speed up or slow down the aging process. No, none of them will make you live forever. But they will make a big difference in how your body, mind, and soul look and feel.

Here are seven ways to stay young:

  1. Exercise. There is probably no other single lifestyle factor as powerful for slowing the aging process as regular physical exercise. Our bodies were made to move. And physical exercise doesn’t only protect your body: it also prevents aging in your brain.
  2. Don’t smoke. The average middle-aged smoker has a physiological profile that is 10-15 years older than someone the same age who does not smoke. And that’s not even counting the negative impact of smoking on the way you look. Countless studies show that smoking makes you age faster.
  3. Stay mentally active. Brain cells need exercise too, throughout your life. And it helps lessen the inflammation that may be a cause of dementia. Learning something new, reading, playing mental games such as crosswords or Sudoku, playing music – such mental exercise will definitely keep your brain younger.
  4. Nurture close relationships. Loneliness is bad for your health. Studies actually document this. Having people around who care about you and who you care about such as children and grandchildren, a loving spouse, or young people you mentor helps give you a reason for living.
  5. Choose a positive attitude. People who stay healthy into old age are almost always happier in general that those who don’t. Positive emotions help counteract the aging effects of stress. When seniors maintain a positive attitude, research demonstrates how powerful the benefit can be to their health.
  6. Get over grudges quickly. Bitterness makes one look and feel shriveled and old. Unforgiveness eats away at one’s physical and emotional health. Keep a short account of wrongs, and learn to let them go.
  7. Follow peace. Stress wears you out, in every way. Peace is not the absence of stressful elements in  your environment, but the inner calm that comes with security and maturity. The Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, is the ultimate bringer of peace at any age.

I’m well into my second half-century. I’m not afraid of getting older. But I certainly want to stay as happy, functional, and productive as I can. I’ve got a lot of living to do!

How about you?

Your turn? How do you view getting older? Are you doing anything to stay young? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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