In the previous article, I discussed the Myth of Memory Loss. Another misconception about older people is that growing old inevitably results in untreatable health problems. There is an assumption that there will automatically be substantial deterioration of physical capabilities, and that nothing can or should be done about them. How often have you heard even doctors say – oh – it’s just your age! Do you ever attribute physical symptoms such as back pain and hearing loss to the “natural consequences of getting old.”
Well consider this – scientists are increasingly realizing that both these symptoms are reflective of treatable diseases, and are not just the inevitable realities of the aging process. Of course, older persons must take the steps necessary to take care of themselves holistically or get the medical attention needed and not just succumb to the myths of aging.
How individuals approach aging can make all the difference in how the years affect them. “People slow down as they grow older because they expect to,” says Deepak Chopra, M.D., in his book Ageless Body, Timeless Mind. “We think of older people as wrinkled and plump, with gnarled hands and feeble gait — and gradually, inexorably, we let ourselves become those people.”
Of all age groups, the elderly have the most to gain by being active. Many studies have shown that the elderly can retain vigor, muscle tone, and a strong immune system in the later years through an exercise regimen. Terence Kavanagh, M.D., director of the Toronto Rehabilitation Center in Ontario. “The less you do, the easier you fatigue. And the more you fatigue, the less you are able to do.”
In addition to exercise, diet makes an enormous difference in how people age. “The right foods can help protect against ailments such as heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, arthritis, and high blood pressure,” states Tom Monte, an editor with Prevention magazine. “Getting enough of certain vitamins and nutrients can increase the body’s resistance to infectious diseases.”
Health habits have a strong influence on both life expectancy and quality of life during old age. Healthful living not only promotes longevity but also increases the chance of having the physical ability to enjoy life to its fullest in later years. And it is never too late to change.
Douglas MacArthur once said,” You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair.”
To become free of the fear of fear:
• Name the fear and talk about it with trusted mentors or guides
• Imagine your life set free from what you fear
• Act on your fear and diminish its power
Notice how your fear of fear was greater than the thing you feared and that beyond it your life and magnificence become more fully alive.
In my next article, I’ll help you to see that once you’ve discovered the fears, you can release them and I will provide several techniques to do just that.