Don’t worry, I’m not going to talk about magic pills, creams, or diets. I’m not going to promise an overnight miracle. What I am going to talk about are three simple anti-aging techniques. Three rules for living that are easy to explain, though sometimes difficult to follow. But when you start to follow these rules, you will notice a difference in how you feel — you’ll feel younger, more free, and less stressed.
For some people, these rules come naturally. Others may have to work a little harder to follow them. Either way, the benefits of following these rules make it worth the effort.
These techniques were first compiled by my friend Dave Brubaker, a smart, entertaining guy who owns a jacket made from recycled dog food bags. He’s the real deal. Without further ado, let’s start with number one:
Anti-Aging Technique #1 – Laugh At Yourself
That’s right, you need to be able to laugh at yourself. I’m not talking about beating yourself up; I’m talking about taking a step back and laughing at the situation you are in, without any regard for how someone else might want to judge you for what just happened.
Let’s look at an example. Johnny is giving a speech to his classmates. He has spent a lot of time preparing and practicing, and instead of saying “looking for success” he says “looking for sex.” It’s a classic Freudian slip. All of Johnny’s classmates start laughing hysterically. Most people would be mortified at this point, and some would even leave the stage in shame. But Johnny follows rule #1. Johnny laughs along with the crowd because, let’s face it, that was pretty funny. “Hahaha wow, I can’t believe I just said that… I told myself I wanted to give an unforgettable speech — I guess you should be careful what you wish for!”
So how does this help keep you healthy and young at heart? First, it frees you up to enjoy life. If you always take yourself too seriously, you’ll find that it’s difficult to maintain meaningful relationships. Second, you’ll be less stressed. Johnny could have been embarrassed and spent the next month avoiding eye contact. But instead of stress, he got endorphins from laughing at himself. Not a bad trade!
Anti-Aging Technique #2 – Don’t Get Cynical
This is a tough one. I know that I often find myself being cynical without even realizing it. But if you can start to recognize when you are being cynical, then you can make adjustments to your habits. Here’s how you can tell if you are being cynical:
- You’ve “been there, done that.” Even if you don’t use those exact words, that’s an attitude of cynicism.
- You’re so “over it.” Who decided that it’s cool to think things are uncool?
- Ask a close friend to tell you when you’re being cynical. That’s the quickest way to identify your own cynical tendencies.
After identifying what triggers your cynicism, now you can make a conscious effort to make an opposite response. The opposite of cynicism is wonder — to approach things with a sense of expectation and awe.
Here’s an example. A friend excitedly tells you, “DUDE! I just went skydiving for the first time and it was SO MUCH FUN!!” Your old, cynical response might have been, “Yeah I used to do tandem jumping. I do solo jumps now, trust me it’s way better.” Your new and improved response could be, “Sweet! Isn’t it awesome?! What was your favorite part? We should do a jump together sometime!”
The benefits of rule #2 are similar to the benefits of rule #1: Getting rid of cynicism will allow you to enjoy life more. You’ll be able to appreciate things more fully. Remember, just because you’ve experienced something, that doesn’t make it any less valuable or impressive!
Anti-Aging Technique #3 – Be Shameless
To be shameless means to be comfortable in your own skin. It’s about being yourself without worrying about what someone else thinks. Sometimes we’ve heard so many negative voices from those around us that it makes us hesitate to stand out. What’s worse, sometimes there are voices in our own head, further imprisoning ourselves with fear.
The next time you go to a sporting event, observe some of the different fans. There’s the guy that has his face painted, wearing a funny hat, and making lots of noise. He jumps up and cheers every time his team makes a good play. Then there’s another guy that never stands up and never cheers. He’s wearing a plain t-shirt that’s the same color as one of the teams, but he doesn’t really seem into the game. If you asked him, he’d probably say that he wants to jump up and cheer, but he’s worried that he’ll look silly like the other guy with the crazy hat. Do you think the crazy fan is worried about what the boring fan thinks? Which fan do you think has more fun at the game? Which one are you?
This too will allow you to feel more free, and less trapped in your own head. It’s okay to be yourself. Everyone else is already taken anyway.
One of my favorite quotes is a quote by Teddy Roosevelt, from his “Citizenship In A Republic” speech:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
This quote pretty much sums up the last of these three anti-aging techniques. Teddy Roosevelt wasn’t worried about naysayers. Ignore the negative voices. Don’t worry about what other people think. Want to feel young at heart? Get out there and do your thing!