Want to age well? The answer isn’t in your 401k. Self-acceptance, a positive attitude, creative expression, purposeful living and spiritual connections all anchor successful and meaningful aging. In fact, these kinds of preparations are just as important as saving money for retirement, according to Ron Pevny, director of the Center for Conscious Eldering, in Durango, Colorado, and author of Conscious Living, Conscious Aging.
Psychology experiments at Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley, have shown those that practice awe are better able to see outside their own experiences and appreciate other points of view, which can transcend the tunnel vision and pettiness of a polarized atmosphere. Here are some basic steps toward cultivating a sense of awe:
Self-care, forgiveness and acceptance are important throughout this process, advises Tessler, because many people bring feelings of guilt and shame to their relationship with money. She recommends doing a “body check-in” to become aware of our physical reaction to related issues, whether it’s going on a reckless spending spree or bracing to ask for a raise. This stage paves the way for the practical work of learning to manage our money in alignment with our values, goals and dreams. It begins with developing practices to track, review and reflect upon spending and earning patterns.
What is being a father? It’s, at least in part, about beginning. It is rejuvenating to locate ourself near the start of a child’s life. There are so many chances to get it right. The thought that we might also get it wrong flits across our mind, but it’s gone before we can even shiver at its presence. It’s also about returning to that question again and again, each time failing to acquire additional insight.
Being past their working years, grandparents are often more accepting and peaceful themselves, which can be inspiring for younger generations, adds Salem. For Moon, it’s vital to be mindful of the image of aging that’s projected; “I try to model that old age isn’t tragic, and show the joy in this stage of life,” she says.
Creating a personal myth is a fundamental way we find meaning. We are always the protagonist, with supporting characters providing love and assistance and antagonists posing challenges that push us beyond our comfort zones. Rather than narcissism or navel-gazing, the more intimate we become with our own story, the more we realize that everyone has an equally valid and vital narrative in which they are the central character. Understanding that everyone is on their own story journey can help us establish connection and empathy.
The most powerful thing men and women can do is to address misunderstandings with openness and curiosity rather than assuming we know why our partner did or said something. We should ask ourselves, “What if there’s a good reason for that?” Don’t assume that what’s true for her is also true for him, and vice versa.
“We rescue abused and neglected farm animals, including horses that come into play when patients are not responding to usual therapies,” he says. “It’s important for damaged people to learn to live in the light, and our partnering with the special needs animals helps put them on the emotional path to health.” The rescue’s mission is to provide hope, healing and a sense of security for children and adults that have suffered severe trauma such as abuse, domestic violence and witnessing violent death (Tinyurl.com/RanchHandRescueVideo).
Kindness, conversely, glues couples together, making each partner feel cared for, understood, validated and loved. In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers found that the more someone receives or witnesses kindness, the more they will be kind themselves, creating upward spirals of love and generosity.
A 2015 study by the National Association for Music Education (nafme.org) shows that youngsters harboring an early appreciation for music tend to have larger vocabularies and more advanced reading skills than their peers. The research also revealed that schools with music programs have an estimated 90.2 percent graduation rate and 93.9 percent attendance rate compared to others averaging 72.9 and 84.9 percent, respectively.