George Bernard Shaw once said, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”
Cultivating the right state of mind can help one stay active and vibrant.
A centenarian friend of mine seemed to understand this point. She lived alone in an upstairs apartment with no elevator. She did all her own cooking and cleaning, kept her house spotless, and managed her own investments. She often said, “I don’t believe God sees me as old.” This centenarian saw age as a reflection of a divine view, not as a number of years.
Clearly a positive outlook is associated with better physical and mental health.
Ciro Conversano, Phd. from the University of Pisa, Italy, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine and his colleagues point out in their literature review that:
Optimism is a tendency to expect good things in the future. …it is apparent that optimism is a mental attitude that heavily influences physical and mental health, as well as coping with everyday social and working life.
And Geriatrician Marcel Olde Rikkert, Geriaitrician and Chair of the Geriatric Department, Radboud University Medical Centre puts it aptly when he says, “If you enjoy aging it will improve your health.”
Even more important, as my friend notes, seeing ourselves as the Divine sees us as a timeless expression of His goodness and perfection, is a great way to gain that outlook.
Writing about a God-based view of our lives, Christian healer Mary Baker Eddy said: “Men and women of riper years and larger lessons ought to ripen into health and immortality, instead of lapsing into darkness or gloom.” She certainly knew what she was talking about. After years of chronic illness and at times invalidism, she lived to be 89 in an age when the average female life expectancy was 48. And, she did her most important work – founding a church and an international daily newspaper – after age 55.
Eating right, staying active and adequate rest are important. But when it gets right down to it, living long, healthy, and happy lives comes from the thoughts we hold about God, ourselves, and what we expect from our future. I take time each day to think and pray about how I see myself, and make sure that I shape my expectations from a Godlike point of view – i.e. a continually fresh, purposeful, and prosperous life.
I highly recommend it.