by Reena Kainth

There’s an age-old question that even the brightest of scholars have yet to figure out: “How do we stay young forever?” Well, as it turns out, you can’t. Unfortunately, there is not enough diet, exercise, plastic surgery, or even hair colour dye in the world to prevent the inevitable from happening. But maybe we’re asking the wrong question. Maybe the question shouldn’t be how to stay young forever, but rather, how can we feel whatever age we want regardless of real-time maturity?

The secret is taking age out of the equation altogether. Think about how many times you’ve heard someone (or even yourself) say, “I’m too old for that,” or “I can’t do that at my age.” The limiting beliefs we put on ourselves because of our numerical age is unbelievable. Even worse, forcing ourselves into age boxes that determine what we can wear, eat, say, or do only supports aging of the body and soul faster.

I’m not here to offer cliché inspirations like, “Age is just a number,” or “You’re as young as you feel,” but what if you really did have the power to control how you felt whether you are 25 or 95?

The power of the mind is pretty awesome, and the research surrounding how a healthy mind impacts overall well-being is gaining ground every year.

From the conversations you have with those around you, to how you speak to yourself on a daily basis, to the thoughts we choose to spend our time on can greatly impact our outlook on all areas of life.

Spending less time on negative or limiting thoughts and turnings our words into kindness and positivity at every turn helps us to shape a world that is better, happier, and yes, even mentally younger! Leave little mantras for yourself around the house and notice how the power of words can change your mood in an instant. Something as simple as a sticky note on your mirror that says, “You look great,” or one in the fridge that says “Eat without guilt” could change your whole day.  As author Joyce Meyer says, “You cannot have a positive life and a negative mind!”

Giving yourself permission to live the life you want can’t come from anyone but yourself. It means allowing yourself a cheat day without actually calling it a cheat day, but rather an “I can eat whatever I want because it’s my life” day. That’s not to say that if you eat a bag of chips every night you’re not going to end up with a bad case of heartburn, or worse, but it means that everything we do in moderation (and more importantly, without guilt) is a win-win for our body and our mind.

Exercise and diet are an important component of good health but having a healthy body does not necessarily mean having a ‘ripped’ body. The success of taking on a fad diet or exercise regimen that brings you agony is not only going to prevent overall health, but actually contradicts your efforts because of the negative impact on your mental state.

Find an exercise routine that works for you, even if that means taking long walks around your neighbourhood or using the stairs rather than an escalator at the mall. Splurge when it makes you happy (and without guilt!) but find ways to get in your greens with vegetable pasta as an example (like zucchini or sweet potato), or in a morning smoothie with avocado for texture and flavour.

Feeding your body means feeding your soul, and there’s no denying the importance of mental health especially as we age. The positive results of mindfulness, meditation, and yoga on the body and soul are beneficial at every age, improving alertness, memory, sleep, and even serenity. Social media channels are a great platform for finding guided meditations that could take as little as five minutes out of your day, and surrounding yourself with friends and family who bring joy to your soul is a must. Have conversations that make you chuckle because the laugh lines are worth the exercise that it does for your heart.

Being healthy is really the same for anyone at any age. It means changing your thoughts to ones that lift you up, eating foods that make you feel good (and sometimes ones that taste good, too!), and making decisions that work for you. Maybe it’s not about staying forever young after all, but about living your best life and feeling whatever age you want; from 0 to 95!