Coexisting with Mental Aging
Everyday I wake up and notice more wrinkles under my eyes and more lines around my mouth and feel…defeated - or more like deflated! Who is letting the air out of my face while I sleep, anyway?
But this isn’t about whether or not I can coexist with a few wrinkles on my face or if I’ll jump on the Botox train anytime soon, as I don’t really know the answers to those questions just yet.
It’s about how I am dealing with the fact that as we get older, so do our brains. Our minds age just as our bodies do and we put a lot of focus on the former and maybe not enough on the latter.
I heard a stat recently that said adults stop listening to new music in their 30s. Not me! I just heard a new song the other day, I thought, as I flipped through my Pandora stations…70s lite rock, 80s ballads, 90s pop hits. Oy vey. I’m ancient!
In addition to the whole music thing, I’ve definitely noticed the wave of very ambitious, smart and not-at-all camera shy millennials coming into the workforce right on my heels. What’s more, I have two tweens living under my roof (when did that happen?) so the feeling that I’m older than I used to be, like a lot older, is coming at me at all angles.
I don’t feel old, necessarily, but I am coexisting with the fact that, as time goes by, it may take some extra effort to keep my mind sharp and to keep up with the world around me. I’m not there yet but I know it’s coming and I don’t want to be one of those middle-aged people who are living in the past or who can’t remember the name of that actor that was in that film…you know the one I’m talking about. Ohhh, what’s his name? It’s on the tip of my tongue.
I want to be present and up-to-speed without becoming the mom from the movie Mean Girls (if you don’t remember…pause, go rewatch it, then come back to me and you’ll know exactly what I mean).
I want to keep my brain young and sharp. I want more wrinkles on my brain (and less on my face, for that matter).
So how do we coexist with the fact that time keeps marching on and we are mentally aging?
One way is to incorporate meditation into your daily routine. Just 15 minutes a day can keep you more alert, calmer in tough situations and can increase the gray matter in your brain. That’s the region of the brain that deals with sense of self, empathy and stress. It won’t do anything to refresh your playlist but at least you’ll be more centered and relaxed!
I started meditation many years ago. It was so long ago, actually, that my whole brain should be a wrinkly-gray blob by now. But, I’m not a consistent meditator and that’s the key to getting results. I started meditating after a traumatic event in my life and it really helped me climb out of the anxiety and depression hole I was in. I stopped meditating when I felt better. Then I started again after I had my second child and I was dealing with some postpartum depression.
Again, I stopped meditating when I felt better. Before now, I hadn’t really committed to my meditative practice. I felt good so I let it go and I realize that’s exactly when I should have held on and kept going.
You may be thinking that I am easily swayed. The truth is, when I look back on the time I used mediation to help me through tough situations, it’s always worked. I decided it was time to commit for the long haul.
I discovered an app called Aaptiv. I use it to work out and also to meditate - two birds, one app! There are tons of apps out there that can help you create a meditation habit and I recommend trying a few to see which ones you like.
The other practice that I’ve committed to that will help my brain stay focused for longer periods of time is reading. Books, that is. Not just captions under pictures in a feed (not that there’s anything wrong with that!) but real books. Do I really have to explain the benefits of reading? I didn’t think so. I try to get in even just a few pages a day over coffee in the morning, even if I have to wake up a little early to do it. It’s actually magical!
Breathing and books, we can handle that, right? Now let’s go wrinkle those brains!
Leslie Lynn Nifoussi is a mom of two who thoroughly enjoys her assortment of jobs as a blogger, model, media host, commercial actor and beauty and fashion contributor for HSN. She’s a former small business owner and professional dancer and is eager to share her life’s experiences with you.
Read Leslie Lynn Nifoussi's 'How To Coexist With' Series
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