August 12, 2015 by Jeff Lowen
As Joe Pesci would say in ‘My Cousin Vinny,’ 🙂 For the rest of us less-than-Brooklyn-ites; it’s “Youth,” and it is as much an attitude, if not more than it is a number. With a more flexible mind and body, everyday living can be easier. All of a sudden, the world is with you, the years just fade away and time slows down.
So where is this Fountain Of Yoot? Youth, I mean… How do you find this flexible attitude and approach to living? You should be looking for it – if you haven’t found it yet, because it’s more pertinent than ever. As a society, we’re living longer than past generations – by 20 years! I read where an M.D. suggested that someone’s alive today that’ll live to be 150! Everyone seems to know that the way you think, the way you behave, the way you eat, can influence your life. The question is, how do you quantify that?
What is a flexible mind, Obi-Wan?
A flexible mind is simply one whom is open to new ideas. It surely does not indicate indecisiveness or not knowing what you want. Some say it’s one of the most valuable skills one can learn in life.
And the benefits?
Studies have shown (As if we really need studies to prove it). people who have a flexible mind adapt to the constant changes and challenges of life and are resilient. Becoming better at just going with the flow. They seem to have a stronger ability to solve problems to their liking and live their life on their own terms. Success has many paths. When the rest of us see failure and mistakes, they see it as part of the process and opportunity in all things; bouncing back from adversity and recognizing the value in it.
What about a flexible body?
When I hear this, I used to immediately think having a flexible body is something for the young. Children can bend and shape themselves into amazing positions! I remember my mother would ask me, “Jeff, how can you be comfortable?” As I lay on the floor, one leg over another behind my head through my arms holding up my head as I watch TV… Then we get older and find it takes a little more sitting up straight, sleeping with the right pillow and using the lumbar support in our office chairs. We slowly grow less agile. Yet, being flexible leads to better health, blood flow, less frequent injuries, and a greater ability to increase muscle strength and tone. C’mon… Who doesn’t want that?
Here’s 8 tips that might point you in the direction of a more flexible body and mind, and even add a few years on your life – so you can really live it.
- Open your mind. Religion and politics. Yes, I’m going right for the jugular! Don’t worry, I’m not on a pulpit or a podium, just be aware of the conversations you’re having and others are having, too – that you’re within an earshot of. Notice your strong opinions. Feel the emotions within you rise up. Open your mind by listening instead of trying to convert everyone to your way of thinking. Hear the other side. Hear many sides. Where have your strong opinions come from. Childhood? Now might be the time to question or examine them. Take time to explore why you have a particular belief; you may find that it gives you a greater understanding of other opinions.
- And on the subject of listening. How many times in a conversation are we just waiting for our turn to speak? It’s a game of one-up-manship! “I didn’t hear what you said, because I was formulating my own rebuttal in my mind.” Try listening more and thinking less. Pay attention to people without trying to proclaim your ‘better’ accomplishments. Become a little curious. Ask more questions. This creates a foundation for a deeper connection with people, solidifying a relationship, oh… And did I mention creates a more flexible mind?
- Yoga is designed to gently stretch your entire body including internal organs. Try a class. I know a fantastic Yoga instructor and she is one of the most flexible minded, beautiful people I know.
- If you work at a desk, get up once in awhile. I have a stand up desk. A friend of mine sits on an exercise ball. Take breaks, occasionally stretch your neck and shoulders. Get out and walk or exercise on your breaks or at lunchtime.
- If your lifestyle includes regular physical exercise, and it should; make sure you’re stretching. Do you run? I bet you’re in fabulous cardio shape and your hamstrings are tight as Cello strings, too. Stretch ’em, baby!
- Breathe. When you stretch. When your driving, sitting… Breathe! As we age, we tend to use less of our lung capacity, which reduces the oxygen in our blood. That can’t be good! Practice breathing deeply.
- Pain. No… Pushing to the point of it means you’re overdoing it. When you stretch, listen to your body. When you feel the pull and your body starts to resist, stop. You’re losing much of the benefit beyond that.
- And lastly, Meditate. No, I’m not recommending you sit criss-cross-applesauce and levitate, chanting ancient homage to mother nature. Sit quietly in your chair at work or at home, close your eyes in silence and practice quieting the 1000 voices in your head. I hear people say, “I can’t shut off my head…” Well, that’s no excuse. I couldn’t ride a bike either – until I tried and practiced. Check out www.tm.org. I took a local class with a friend and the results are amazing!
Practice these tips, open your mind and you’ll find there is a whole world out there that wants to help you.