Senior Planet alerted me to a You Tube video of Dr. Andrew Weil talking about longevity in Okinawa. Many of us have read about “Blue Zones” or regions of the world known for centenarians. Many things have been written about the diets and philosophies of the people in these zones in hopes that we may emulate them.
Dr. Weil discusses how he has made several trips to Okinawa and has found many factors that may contribute to their people’s longevity. A couple of factors he mentions are healthy diet and physical activity. One factor he chose to emphasize, and that really caught my attention, is the cultural value placed on aging in Okinawa. He says the people there are not ashamed of aging and are considered valued members of their community. They are considered ” living treasures.” Dr. Weil argues that the extreme negative attitudes towards aging in our culture are what influences the way we age and contributes to the negative manifestations of aging we see. Food for thought?
Try to catch yourself when you are making negative self-talk about getting older. Things like ” I’m having a senior moment,” or when you have a ache or pain saying, ” Oh, I must be getting old.” I have heard 40 year olds making these remarks about getting older. Just think if you feel that way at 40, how will you feel at 60?
When we internalize our culture’s negative attitudes toward aging we can not help looking at ourselves negatively and feeling negative about getting older. I would like to age like an Okinawan and feel like a “treasure.” How about you?