Athletes know the power of visualization. They imagine themselves playing the perfect game or performing the perfect routine. The mind, it seems, can’t really distinguish imagining an event from the actual performance. And so, the more time we spend visualizing how to achieve a goal, the more likely we are to succeed. That is also true for our health and even our longevity. Becca Levy in her groundbreaking book, Breaking the Aging Code, presents research showing that we can increase our life span (by 7.8 years!) if only we are able to embrace positive age beliefs. That’s often more difficult than it might appear because our culture is filled with ageist stereotypes.
Dr. Daniel Amen writes, “Your brain is very powerful and brings to life what you verbalize and project. if you think you are old and slow, you will act and feel old and slow.”
As older adults then it’s important to shift our thinking. Imagine yourself as capable, wise, and experienced; kind, skilled and healthy; mentally sharp, creative, and friendly. You can fill in any positive adjective you wish. Spend 5 -10 minutes a day in this activity and you’ll reap the rewards of positive aging, which includes improved health, memory, and cognition. (If you don’t believe me, read the book for yourself!)
One way to do this is with guided imagery. Just imagine yourself some place in nature that you find peaceful. After some time there, affirm to yourself positive aging qualities. Repeat in your mind, “I am healthy, capable, and wise. I have a strong immune system and a long memory. It is easy for me to learn new things. I am active and engage in life.” Choose for yourself the words that mean the most to you. Pick the ones more likely to shift you to a more positive belief about aging.
If you click on the "More" tab and then "Resources," you'll find a recording that will take you to your safe and peaceful place. At the end of this guided imagery meditation, spend some time in your mind with your affirmative statements. That’s all you need to do. A little time each day will make all the difference. Try it and see!