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Scientists Find That Age Is Just A Number, And Here Are 7 Ways You Can Slower Aging Process

Scientists Find That Age Is Just A Number, And Here Are 7 Ways You Can Slower Aging Process

Is age really only a number?

That’s the old cliche, but it turns out it really is the truth. Recent research has shown that there is a vast difference between chronological age, how old you are in calendar years, and biological age, how old your body appears to be at the cellular level. In short, biological age is a measure of how quickly your body systems are declining.

This study found that while most people age at approximately one biological year for every chronological year, that isn’t always the case. Some of the subjects were aging as quickly as 3 biological years to every calendar year, clocking in at a biological 60 years old at 38 years old chronologically. Others appeared not to be aging biologically at all, with a few who were 8 years younger (38 chronologically but only 30 years old biologically).

Don’t mistake this as some fad science of the minute. Biological age matters. As you’re aging, you’re declining, and that decline will affect every aspect of your health, wellness, and appearance starting as early as your mid-twenties to early thirties.

“Already, before midlife, individuals who were aging more rapidly were less physically able, showed cognitive decline and brain aging, self-reported worse health, and looked older.”- Belsky, Caspi, Houts et al.

Think it’s all dumb luck and chance? There is nothing you can do about aging? Some people are just destined to decline quickly and grown old at a young age?

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Not at all. Only about 20% of your rate of biological aging can be blamed on your genetic code.The remaining 80% is based on environmental and lifestyle factors, many of which you have control over. With just a few simple actions you too can slow the aging process.

1. Drop and Give Me 20

Resistance training has been shown time and again to be among the most potent anti-aging strategies available. Muscle mass peaks around the mid 20’s and slowly begins declining from there. This age related loss of muscle mass has been termed sarcopenia which has been associated with declining strength, endurance, power, vigor, resilience, bone strength with increased body fat, lethargy and even cognitive decline.

Like compound interest, the loss of muscle each year is small at only 1-3% however, after a decade or two your body composition could look very different. Noticeably fatter and weaker. The great thing is that recent research has started to question if sarcopenia really is a natural fact of life or is merely the result of a lowered activity level. Several studies have shown that strength training programs can not only halt age related muscle loss, but even result in muscle gain in someone as old as 70.

“This study contradicts the common observation that muscle mass and strength decline as a function of aging alone. Instead, these declines may signal the effect of chronic disuse rather than muscle aging.” – Wroblewski et al.

The most effective strength training programs tend to be those that focus on large, multi-joint, compound lifts that stress many muscle groups. Exercises like squats, lunges, deadlifts, pushups, pull ups, and bench presses. So you’re never too old and it’s never too late to start weight training and experiencing the fountain of youth that it is.

2. Order the Fish and Drizzle Your Vegetables with Olive Oil

The Mediterranean diet has consistently been linked to living longer and better. One of the most consistent findings associated with a Mediterranean diet is that it is protective of the brain and helps slow or even stop the cognitive decline that comes with aging.

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“In an older population, a Mediterranean diet supplemented with olive oil or nuts is associated with improved cognitive function.” – Vallis-Pedret, Sala-Vaila et. al

Foods that are included in the Mediterranean diet are fish, poultry, fruits, vegetables, olive oil, seeds, nuts, legumes and even alcohol in moderation.

3. Drink a Glass of Red with Dinner

While any alcohol, in moderation, has been shown to help slow aging, red wine is especially powerful due to the presence of resveratrol, an anti-oxidant-like compound. Resveratrol has shown great promise as an anti-aging agent. It’s found in grapes, peanuts and mulberries but is especially concentrated in red wine. Remember, you only get the anti-aging benefits of alcohol with light to moderate consumption, no matter what type of alcohol. So limit your intake to no more than a glass or so a day.

4. Train for a 5K

Aerobic exercise helps maintain your heart, vascular system and even brain. One of the foremost theories in the field of anti-aging is the mitochondrial decay theory. This theory essentially says that we age partly because the mitochondria in our cells don’t produce energy efficiently as we age. Aerobic exercise stimulates the production and repair of the mitochondria and may help to offset this cause of aging. As one study put it:

“…endurance training increases mitochondrial function, stimulates spontaneous physical activity, and is a viable approach to interrupt the vicious cycle of aging.” – Eluamai, Brooks

Lace up the shoes and start training right now, you can find a race when you get back.

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5. Buy a Nice Mattress

Sleep is your greatest recovery tool. Research has consistently shown that poor or restricted sleep increases as we age and is linked to many diseases. Cognitive ability, testosterone levels, even your skin is ravaged by a lack of sleep.

“Poor sleep quality can accelerate signs of skin aging and weaken the skin’s ability to repair itself at night.” – Dr. Daniel Yarosh

You must do whatever you can to get a solid 6 to 8 hours every night. We’re not talking about 6 to 8 hours in bed with 2 of them spent watching Seinfeld reruns, checking emails, and liking Grumpy Cat memes. We’re talking 6 to 8 hours of quality sleep. The deep, restful, uninterrupted, sleep that allows you to wake up, preferably without the help of an alarm, feeling rested and rejuvenated.

6. Put that Mattress to the Test

Go have sex.

Dr. David Weeks has done research on what keeps some young and found that it boiled down to two primary factors.

“The key ingredients for looking younger are staying active … and maintaining a good sex life.” – Dr. Weeks

His research found that regular sex, with a committed partner, up to three times a week, lead to someone looking between four and seven years younger than their chronological age. Researchers are not quite sure how or why regular sex has such a powerful effect. It could be that sex increases intimacy with your partner and your sense of connection. It could be that sex releases certain hormones that are known to decrease as we age. It might even be that sex can be somewhat vigorous and the anti-aging boost is from the physical activity.

But really, does it matter?

7. Take the Stairs

While consistent, structured, exercise is important, simply living a physical life and taking walks, doing yard work, swimming, playing sports or anything else that gets you up and moving, on a daily basis is as important as anything else on this list. Simply keeping your body moving is the greatest protector against aging that we know of.

“Regular physical activity is perhaps the lifestyle-behavioral strategy for which there is the strongest overall evidence of function-preserving effects with aging.” – Sears, Justice, Larocca

Staying biologically young isn’t easy, but it’s totally worth it. Why grow old and become frail when you probably don’t have too? The benefits of remaining biologically young are just too many to ignore. By taking these steps you’ll be smart, strong, vigorous, and literally remain biologically young at heart.

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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality.)

I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

1. The Inner Critic

This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

  • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
  • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
  • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
  • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

2. The Worrier

This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

The Worrier is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

This is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

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This person can be set off by words or feelings, and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

4. The Sleep Depriver

This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

  • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
  • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
  • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
  • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

How can you control these squatters?

How to Master Your Mind

You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

There are two ways to control your thoughts:

  • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
  • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier; and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

For the Inner Critic

When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

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“Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

  • They rile up the Worrier.
  • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
  • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
  • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
  • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

For the Worrier

Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tense

Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

“Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

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For example:

If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

“I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

“Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tension

I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

Breathe in through your nose:

  • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
  • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
  • Focus on your belly rising.

Breathe out through your nose:

  • Feel your lungs emptying.
  • Focus on your belly falling.
  • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

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Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

For the Sleep Depriver

(They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

  1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
  2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

You can also use this technique any time you want to:

  • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
  • Shut down your thinking.
  • Calm your feelings.
  • Simply focus on the present moment. 

The Bottom Line

Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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