No one wants to get older. Well, maybe you did when you were 15 and you desperately wanted to drive, be independent, have boobs and buy alcohol. But these days, no one wants to feel old—and frankly, all of us would love to feel 10 years younger. And while no one can turn back the hands of time, we can certainly help you embrace the parts of your life that make you feel happy, youthful and alive. And don’t worry–we understand that you don’t want to revisit middle school (neither do we).
While a lot of the symptoms of aging are caused by the physical changes in your body, there’s a big mental piece to the aging equation as well. As the NY Times reports, according to Jacqui Smith, a psychologist at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, “this concept of how you feel about your age is so important and defines, in a way, how we act. If you self-define yourself as someone who is old, then you probably act that way.” So is it that simple? If you decide to act young, will you feel young? We’re not suggesting you deny the fact that you are aging, but maybe if you choose to enjoy certain activities that make you feel joy and freedom, like you did as a child, you will instantly feel a burst of youth. What do you have to lose? Here are 7 ways to feel younger right now.
When you were actually young you could function on very little sleep—you probably even pulled a few all-nighters in college. But these days if you don’t get enough sleep the consequences will not only show on your face, but also in how you feel the next day. You’ll be low energy, sluggish and cranky. Turn in a little early and give yourself some extra sleep to allow your body to relax and save energy for the next day. You’ll wake up feeling more alive than ever.
DRINK MORE WATER
Staying hydrated is key to feeling energized and youthful. Proper hydration fuels your body for the day, and helps you operate at maximum capacity so you can chase after your kids/grandkids/friends/dog and feel great. Beyond that, drinking water can also make you look younger. This is because when you are “dehydrated the body will pull water from your skin and tissue, making your skin less elastic and your eyes more sunken.”
Staying active not only makes you look great, but it gives you a boost of energy so you can continue moving so you can stay healthy and in shape for years to come. Whether you try out an intense cardio class at your gym or you just take a brisk walk with a friend, getting your blood flowing and using your muscles will help you protect your body against injury, maintain healthy bones, boost your mood and clear your mind so you can stay sharp physically and mentally.
BACK TO SCHOOL
Just because you are getting older does not mean you need to stop learning. Take an online course or a continued education course at a local university. You can learn a new language, learn to play an instrument, take a creative writing course or even attend culinary school. Think about something you have always wanted to learn, and then do it. Keeping your mind busy and expanding your knowledge is one of the best ways to feel young, curious and energized mentally.
RELAX AND UNWIND
Stress and anxiety, both physical and emotional, can accelerate the aging process, which is why taking some time to unwind and let your mind and body recover is so crucial to looking and feeling young. Research has shown that meditation can reverse the effects of aging on the brain. In fact, compared to those who did not meditate, a 2010 study found that “meditators have significantly greater blood flow in their brains—a sign of robust brain activity.” Even if mediation is not your thing, you can choose to get a massage, take a bath, take a nap or do yoga—just find some method to give yourself a break. The long-term benefits will be well worth your 10-20 minutes a day.
HAVE FUN WITH KIDS
Do not underestimate the power of a good belly laugh—it’s the most fun way to instantly feel 10 years younger. As people get older they tend to forget how fun it can be to just be silly. Jumping on a trampoline or rolling down a hill with your kids can make you feel like a kid yourself. Having a pillow fight or watching a funny movie can make you laugh so hard you cry. People say, “laughter is the best medicine” for a reason—it can make you feel happy, can relieve stress and can make you feel alive.
One of the best parts of being young is feeling like the world is full of possibilities and adventures. Just because you are older does not mean the exploration needs to end. Take a trip with a friend, your family or by yourself. Visit somewhere new and somewhere you have always wanted to explore and learn about.