I recently visited a good friend. She was grumbling a little about her mother-in-law who, as she gets older, starts to get stiffer. She grumbles constantly. Complains that nobody visits her or takes her out, but on the other hand does not want to leave her house at all. Sees, and names, the negative in every situation. And criticizes everyone for something. In short, not really fun to be around.
“I don’t want to be like that,” my girlfriend said. And I can fully agree with that. Nobody wants that? Become such an old sour plum? My girlfriend’s mother-in-law was the reason for a nice discussion about aging and that made me think.
From the TCG (Traditional Chinese Medicine) the process of aging is very easy to follow. It explains why we age and what the consequences are, but also what we can do to slow this process down. Look, and then it becomes interesting! So read on and discover what you can do yourself to stay young for a long time, both in body and mind!
Drying out and shrinking
When we get older, the yin decreases. That is, energetically speaking, a fact. Yin is that part of the energy that provides cooling, rest, moisture, nutrition and so on. So you could safely say that you dry out and shrink when you get older.
Physically you can also notice that. Your skin becomes drier, you get wrinkles, your mucous membranes dry out, the bones become brittle and the flesh becomes less firm. You become stiffer and you literally shrink. You can no longer tolerate the heat as well. You used to be able to suntan for hours on your beach bed, now you quickly find it too hot and find the shade. And at a certain age you may even have to deal with heat attacks with excessive sweating. All consequences of a decreased yin.
The drying out and shrinking are noticeable not only physically but also on the psychological level. You become less flexible in your thinking. Stiffer in your views. Less flexible and you will stay longer in emotions. You actually become a dried-up, more narrow-minded version of yourself. That is, if you don’t monitor your yin. Doesn’t sound very attractive right? Do you also want to stay young at heart?
How can you prevent yourself from becoming a petty old sour plum? Simple. By ensuring that you do not dry out. And you do that by protecting your yin.
What can you do yourself?
Nutrition plays an important role in the entire yin-yang story. If you want to keep your yin, it is important not to consume too many yang foods. Very yang products are for example coffee (and caffeinated drinks such as Cola and Red Bull), alcohol, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, peppers and red meat. So be careful with that, especially during the yang, so warm seasons. But also cooking techniques such as frying, and baking provide a lot of yang energy. Simmering and braising are, for example, much more yin.
One of the biggest culprits in aging and drying out is smoking. Smoking has an enormous effect on the body and therefore guarantees dehydration. You can see that too; Someone who smokes has a dry and wrinkled facial skin at a young age. Exposure to external heat such as the sun and the tanning salon also has this effect. So don’t do it if you want to stay young!
Finally, chemical drugs are huge yin-eaters. Of course, this cannot always be prevented, but it is another reason to look for the cause of your complaints instead of continuing to take drugs or smearing them blindly. But natural products such as herbal formulas can also be very yang. For example, slimming herbs. If you are not sure what it does to you, please stay away from it. Always get advice from an expert in that field.
The non-physical part
This piece is just as important as the physical. Perhaps even more important. Westerners do not pay so much attention to this, but in TCG, body and mind are inextricably linked. This allows them to feed or damage each other directly.
The yang emotion is anger. You can literally see that with people who get really angry; the face turns red, veins beat, and the eyes turn red. The steam is just not coming out of them. Typical case of a rising yang. But it is not only anger that has this effect, but also the lesser cases of anger cause irritation, tension, stress, even the constant tolerance of things that you actually don’t want at all. It all creates a lot of yang energy and therefore consumes yin. This allows you to dry out faster and you become visibly older. Both physically and mentally. Do you want to stay young? Then ensure a good balance in this area!
No matter how you look at it; as you get older everything will shrink. It is up to you only how early this starts, how fast it goes and to what extent it shrinks. To prevent you becoming such a narrow-minded old sour plum, you can already take care of enlargement. That you keep your life and scope as broad as possible.
Here are some life-extending tips:
– Make sure you have new experiences every day
– Meet new people regularly
– Talk to people who you would normally not reach out to.
– Take on a challenge more often- Think in terms of opportunities, not problems
– Think in opportunities, not in problems.
– Keep your friends / acquaintances as broad and diverse as possible
– Are you sure about something? Then think of three ways to look at it differently
– Visit new places regularly
– Learn new things e.g. a language or a technique
– Immerse yourself in a subject that you know nothing about (or want to know)
What about you? Do you consciously do something about staying young? How do you keep yourself young in body and mind? I invite you to share your experiences with me!