How To Stay Young in the Midst of Getting Older

I remember when I was a kid playtime was what I looked forward to the most. I think thatís on par with most kids. But something happens to us as adults where we get indoctrinated into a system where play gets relegated down the priority list. Itís not something we intentionally choose, itís a subtle process where a belief is planted and nurtured that play simply isnít important and as the years go on we wonder why we ďfeel so old.Ē

Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw said:

ďWe donít stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.Ē

This quote hits the nail on the head. Youth is a matter of mind and attitude. I was recently sitting with a friend, who is 62 years old, but he doesnít look 62, he looks younger. He told me, ďMy face reflects who I am on the inside.Ē

Yes, this is true; he is a playful guy, ďyoung at heartĒ as they say.

Here is an excerpt from A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook that says it all. Read it over a couple times:

“- Intention shapes our thoughts and words.

– Thoughts and words mold our actions.

– Thoughts, words, and actions shape our behaviors.

– Behaviors sculpt our bodily expressions.

– Bodily expressions fashion our character.

– Our character hardens into what we look like.

It has been said that by the time a person is 50, he or she gets the face they deserve.† This is how the mind directly affects the body.”

The truth is, weíre never too old to start playing again. The question is how can we bring more play into our lives?

Hereís one thought:

In her book The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron suggests creating an ďartistís date.Ē All this means is take 2 hours a week to do something creative and/or fun that you would normally tell yourself that you donít have time to do. If you are in a city, this could be going to a neighborhood youíve wanted to visit, going to a museum, or even going on a hike somewhere that youíve wanted to visit.

You can also take it to journal, play guitar, read poetry, sit in a coffee shop and write, play video games, or start on that art piece youíve been putting off because ďI just donít have the time.Ē The point is make it time just for you, a time of intentional play that you normally would not give yourself permission to do.

Donít negotiate with your mind thatís telling you thereís no time, just plan it and do it.

We need to water the seeds of playfulness in our lives, this is what keeps our youth alive and my guess is it also elongates our lives.

Give it a try!

As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.

Reposted from Elisha Goldstein’s Mindfulness Blog on Psychcentral.com

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