Want to Avoid Alzheimer's?

I've always admired the French, French women more specifically. It's not just their flawless fashion (though I love that too!). It's that they seem to age so gracefully. They embrance the lines, the wrinkles, the sagging, the cellulite. They don't expect to find the fountain of youth and look they are 20-somethings forever; they accept that age and time are as certain as life and death. They seem to be more busy living than thinking about how to avoid dying. When you look in our American culture closely, you see that we are a culture obsessed with youth. We are looking for the next great anti-aging secret and garb ourselves in young, chic clothing, fudging about our age, and dreading the next birthday. How often do you see beauty comericals sporting elderly models? No, they sport the young and seem to be in frantic denail that people cannot stay young forever.

Ironically, this fear about aging can actually accelerate the process, accoridng to an article in Time by Alexandra Sifferlin. Being worried about aging can apparently make someone more likely to get Alzheizmer's and to have heart problems. Specifically, these people lose more of their brain's hippocampus than those who think more positively about aging. In addition, their brain cells have more tanges and plaque build-up. In addition, extreme negative emotions--stress, anger, etc.--also accelerate the aging process. Occasional anger or stress is one thing, but making it a habit can have long-term effects.

So, what can you do to live a full life, keep your heart healthy, and lessen the chances of Alzheimer's? Here are some tips:

1) Meditate. Memorize inspirational thoughts or Scripture. Close your eyes in the quiet and focus on your breath. Do this often becaue it takes practice and self-discipline.

2) Play. Find what you love to do and do it. Don't feel guilty about allowing room for this. It will make your work more productive.

3) Work hard. Play does not feel as satisfying when we haven't worked hard first. Doing your best with integrity in an area you are gifted gets you out of bed in the morning with a bounce in your step.

4) Love. Having people in our lives to love is one of the most enriching things we could do. Life is about giving to others. When we have purpose and passion beyond ourselves we feel much happier and content.

Finally, accept that life is finite and we have only the time we are given to make the best of it. Growing older will not seem so frightening when we make the most of life now!

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