Over 40 and falling apart? Let your brain dictate this outcome.
Why is it the moment someone reaches 40 ‘it’s all downhill from here’ or ‘you don’t give a rat’s ass anymore’? I can see the second claim in certain situations but the first is such rubbish.
There’s this thought that, as we age and hit every milestone out there, the aches, pains, and fatigue are part of the package. This is an opinion, not a fact. But it’s always stated as gospel. Changing the way we think about aging is key to our health. Health is not just physical, it’s mental as we all know and often, this is the most important part.
Which side are you on?
It’s a classic cold Yellowknife winter morning. Cold as in minus-35 C. But it’s sunny as it often is at these temperatures. You have a gym class scheduled with a friend whom you’ll later have coffee with. What makes you get up and get ready? What makes you look at the sun outside and look forward to spinning your butt off, feeling energized, and catching up with a good friend afterwards? It’s the same thing that makes laying under cozy blankets and reading, saving yourself from the cold vehicle and possibly, grueling class look so much more inviting.
That thing is your mindset.
What you’re telling yourself about the situation. You can decorate it and pump yourself up or slide to the dark side and pull the covers up over your head. We can all persuade ourselves in both directions. Everything looks amazingingly inviting on both sides doesn’t it? But which side is keeping you physically healthy, reaching your goals, nourishing your mental health with connection, and motivating you to keep going? And which side is leaving you feeling blah, demotivated, and cursing life around you?
Willie Nelson said, ‘Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.’ Negative thinking can paralyze you bringing on fears and doubts. Being empowered to act and achieve your goals is the direct opposite of that with positive thinking. There you go. Easy-peasy. Now go do it!
But it’s not that easy
When you’ve grown up trained to lean to the negative, think up every excuse to not do something or witnessed adults in your life worming out of every commitment, it’s no doubt you’ll do the same. Your beliefs are thoughts you’re committing to. Why not commit to the thought that, yes, as we age our bodies do need more help staying healthy and balanced but, this can also be an incredible new time you are entering into. One where you see every symptom as an opportunity to reevaluate your life. A perfect time to cut loose what’s dragging you down (including your negative thoughts) and continue doing what’s working for you.
The first step is to recognize where your thought patterns go. Write down exactly what comes to mind about certain situations, your beliefs about the situation, and your go-to actions. Second step, take the negative thoughts and write the exact opposite of what you just told yourself. Even if you honestly don’t believe that it’s a beautiful sunny day (how do we see the positive at minus-35 C?), write it down anyways.
The more you practice looking for the sliver of gratitude in every situation, the more your brain will be trained to start and stop there. Remind yourself of why you’re doing something whether it’s goal-oriented or just knowing it’ll benefit your physical and mental health.
Lastly, don’t delay. Do what you said you’ll do using your positive mindset as the fuel.
Reaching milestones in your life should be celebrated. Welcome your more mature years and view them as an opportunity for growth. You get to choose how you want to view and live your life ahead. Your brain leads the way.