The year is coming to a close.
And while it’s another year of our lives behind us, it’s also another year of our lives that we get to take with us moving forward. It’s easy to forget that every version of us all the way back to our infancy lives on inside of us.
Even though we change, even though our body regrows anew (and our bones too!), we are also in many ways an accumulation of our past experiences. We get to take the lessons of every age forward with us into each new year and each new stage of our lives.
Adults Are Children Too!
The modern world places a great deal of value on being an adult. Certainly, we carry many responsibilities as adults and have many freedoms as a result. However, we sometimes get fixated on the idea of adulthood and the qualities our culture insists are essential to it: sacrifice, gravity, responsibility, pragmatism, cynicism, stoicism and seriousness.
It’s possible to let the role of “adult” weigh you down in ways that aren’t good for you, dragging you into mires of stress, worry and tension that are bad for your bones and your general well being.
But you know what it’s like to be free of the pitfalls of adulthood. In fact, each and every one of us has a deep well of personal experience to draw from! But sadly, we often fail to engage the natural strengths of the youth we still contain.
Today, as we embark on the path toward our future selves, let’s mine our past selves for tools and tips to live our happiest, healthiest lives.
Dream Big Dreams And Don’t Hold Back
Remember when anything seemed possible? You could set your sights on traveling to Mars, to writing the perfect love poem, to playing every instrument in the orchestra. There was nothing off limits, and big dreams, seemingly impossible dreams, were perfectly acceptable.
While it’s probably too late to become an astronaut, that doesn’t mean that lofty dreams don’t offer large benefits. Something big and exciting to get you out of bed in the morning is beneficial in its own right, even if you don’t wind up reaching the goal.
Tell yourself you can. Setting limitations for yourself can be a way of hiding from your true potential. It’s safer and easier not to try, but by deciding what you’re not capable of before you attempt it, you’re confining yourself inside imaginary boundaries.
So break free and discover new strengths, new passions and new abilities by daring to dream as big as you did when you were a kid.
Tap Your Rebellious Streak
No quality is so famously teenaged as rebelliousness. When we were 16 we probably didn’t have the best sense of what was worth rebelling against, or even why we were so eager to push back against the status quo. Any voice of authority deserved to be resisted, and the results weren’t so important as the feeling of cutting against the grain.
Now that we’re older and more experienced we have a better sense of what matters to us, and what truly deserves our respect… and which are in need of scrutiny.
Savers are well versed in questioning the information handed down by the Medical Establishment. Telling a doctor that you don’t want to take the drugs that Big Pharma told them to prescribe takes a lot of guts. Doing the research to learn how to live a healthier life and following through on those personal changes takes a lot of resolve.
Our inner teenagers know a thing or two about getting fired up and passionately pursuing what we feel is right. If you’re starting to feel bowled over by the pressures of the Establishment, tap into that teenaged rebellion and follow your instincts.
Don’t Stop Learning: Be Open To New Things And Seek Them Out
Young people are typically open to new ideas, new information, and new ways of seeing the world. Science is ever advancing, and sometimes something we’ve been told for many years (for example, that milk is good for our bones) turns out to be completely wrong.
We need to be open-minded to keep learning so that we can benefit from new discoveries and advancements in the fields of health and nutrition. Plus, the world is a more exciting and engaging place when we’re willing to learn new things.
Keep your mind sharp, and your learning muscles strong by rekindling that childlike curiosity.
Turn That Frown Upside Down
Did you know that children smile approximately 400 times every day?1 Adults average a measly ten. Most people figure that children smile more because they’re happier, but could they also be happier because they smile more?
Studies have shown that the physical, muscular act of smiling has a therapeutic effect.2 The action of smiling activates our brain’s emotional circuitry, no matter the reason for the grin.3 The result is reduced levels of stress hormones like adrenaline and bone-destroying cortisol, plus increased mood enhancing endorphins and lower blood pressure.
Exercise Your Smile
So how do you draw a smile from your own lips? You can look in the mirror and practice the facial expression every day as an exercise. This is a real technique.4
Or you can work from the inside out. Picture a loved one in your mind and notice something about them you particularly like. It’ll have you smiling in no time.
The inner positivity it stirs in you can be felt by others, starting a chain reaction of good feelings. When you smile at someone and they smile back, you’re tapping into something innately human. Something from our childhood.
Demand To Have Fun
You need fun. When you were a kid, nothing less would do. You knew then that having a good time was inseparable from having a good life, but somewhere along the line, you may have started thinking that adults don’t need so much fun.
But guess what? If you want to be healthy, you can’t afford not to have fun.
The endorphins that are released when you smile and laugh,2 when you enjoy yourself, are essential to relieving stress, lowering your blood pressure, relaxing tensions in your body, setting aside worry, and allowing your body a break from the ills that those tensions, stresses, and worries cause you. So make sure you prioritize fun activities and joyful entertainment the way you did as a kid.
Take Time To Leave The World Behind
Turn off the news for a little while. It can really wind you up, especially television news with its 24-hour cycles that use fear and panic to keep you tuned in so they can sell airtime for commercials. (Like all of those horrible, dishonest ads for osteoporosis drugs.)
Give yourself a break and disconnect. Life has plenty of stresses without having to absorb everyone else’s problems all day, every day. Try to limit the amount of time you spend with the news. If you get news alerts on your phone, turn them off for a while, and you’ll see that it gives you back some control over when you concern yourself with the happenings of the world.
When we were kids the thing that mattered most was whatever was right in front of us. Give yourself the gift of that kind of focus and presence.
Reconnect With Old Interests To Reconnect With Your Younger You
Not all of these suggestions are easy to do! Maybe you’re having a hard time feeling those youthful feelings. Here’s a tip. Reconnect with what the younger you was surrounded with.
Listen to your favorite album from when you were 17. Watch an episode of a TV show you loved as a teenager. Play that card game you used to play with the kids in your neighborhood.
Did you love kites? Go fly a kite! Did you love horses? Go to an equestrian show, start riding, or visit local horse farms. Reconnect with the things you loved when you were much younger.
Those activities will bring back all sorts of memories that will help you to reclaim the youthful energy and feeling that can unlock the younger you.
The Past Is In The Future Too
You have a lot more than the next year to look forward to, you have every year you’ve ever had waiting inside of you to be explored and unlocked. Mix some of that young you into next year’s everyday life. Maybe it’ll change the way you live.
I’m always searching for ways to change into my youngest, healthiest self, and the journey I started with the Save Institute has been instrumental in that search. Thank you for traveling with me these years, and for embarking on another year together.
I wish you a bright new year, filled with room to learn and grow, the joy of love and loved ones, and many happy returns!
1 Savitz, Eric. “The Untapped Power Of Smiling”. Forbes. March 22, 2011. http://www.forbes.com/sites/ericsavitz/2011/03/22/the-untapped-power-of-smiling/#6834103d20d8
2 Abel, Millicent H. An Empirical Reflection On The Smile Mellen Press. 2002. http://mellenpress.com/book/An-Empirical-Reflection-On-The-Smile/5066/
3 Andreas Hennenlotter, Christian Dresel, et al. “The Link between Facial Feedback and Neural Activity within Central Circuitries of Emotion—New Insights from Botulinum Toxin–Induced Denervation of Frown Muscles” Cereb. Cortex (2009). 19 (3): 537-542.doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhn104. Web: http://cercor.oxfordjournals.org/content/19/3/537.short
4 Leo Widrich. “The Science of Smiling: A Guide to The World’s Most Powerful Gesture. Buffer Social.” Apr 9, 2013. https://blog.bufferapp.com/the-science-of-smiling-a-guide-to-humans-most-powerful-gesture