HeartsCredit: Prawny

Ageing is a natural process which some people choose to accept. However, there are others who try to defy it in any way they can. The spectrum of attitudes towards old age ranges from those who wish to ‘grow old gracefully’ to the other end where there are those who have cosmetic surgery to stay looking young. However, one fact is arguably true that no-one wants to feel too old before their time.

However, there are those who are unwittingly speeding up their ageing process. This is because some people are over-working themselves and suffering daily from high levels of stress. Certainly, lifestyle choices can contribute to high levels of stress but stress and anxiety can be extremely detrimental to one’s health.

Due to the negative effects that stress can have on the body, it is a great idea to remember to feel ‘young at heart’. Whether you are indeed young or old, these four tips are about having fun and learning to embrace the simple things in life more. Furthermore, there is evidence that feeling young at heart may increase your life span too[1]. Therefore, surely everyone should be on board with this fantastic and simple approach.

PianoCredit: dhester

1. Learn A Musical Instrument

There are studies which have demonstrated the benefits that learning a new skill could have on your mental outlook. The learning process takes one back to school years and the approach of learning for validation and acceptance from your peers and teachers. Can you remember getting a gold star at school for your homework? Or how excited you may have been to get an ‘A’ grade on a paper or project at school? Do not worry if this may seem like a distant memory because there are many ways to revive that feeling. Taking on a musical instrument later in life will reignite the same areas of the brain that you engaged when learning at school.

Musicians in particular can develop more cells in the motor and auditory regions of their brains. For example in pianists, there are more cells in the auditory cortex[2] (this is the part of the brain responsible for processing sounds). This exciting fact means that if you learn a musical instrument, you will also be better adapted to take on learning a foreign language too. Although this can depend on the individual, it is still a widely acknowledged truth in theory.

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Perhaps you wish to explore the idea of having piano lessons. Alternatively, why not consider taking up the instrument that you have always wanted to play as a child but never had the opportunity to. Do you sense that you have a natural affinity for a particular timbre of instrument such as the trumpet or the flute? It is never too late to pick up learning music and to start to learn the theory of music. Beginning now will open up a whole new world of musical possibilities and experiences for you. This will ultimately keep your brain and body feeling young at heart and full of creative ideas.

Just for inspiration, here is a video below from the channel ‘Piano Keyz’ where the viewer is taken through how to play ‘Let It Go’ from the Disney film Frozen.

LanguageCredit: grietgriet











2. Learn A New Language

In a similar way to learning a new musical instrument, learning a new foreign language could also boost your brain power and help you in the fight to stay feeling young. This is because the areas of the brain which are engaged when one learns music are also activated when learning a new language[2].

In addition, studies have suggested that people who speak more than one language on a regular basis have shown a later onset of dementia[5] and improved mental functioning. This implies that learning a language is a verbal and mental skill and does not require a physical element. However, looking after your brain as you age is arguably equally as important as looking after one’s body too.

Have you always wanted to speak French or Spanish or perhaps to learn about another culture? There are many options from getting language tapes and CD’s out of your local library or joining a speaking class in your town center. Often there are classes available for varying levels of speaking abilities and you can pick up important grammatical points from native speakers. Explore classes online and consider downloading apps which are an interactive and fun way to learn a new language too.

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3. Photographs And Family History

Old photographs can jog your memory and instantly transport you back to a time when you were younger. This can trigger certain areas of the brain which are associated with memory and your childhood. If you are looking to stay young at heart then remembering your youth is one thing, but bringing it back to life through looking at photographs is another exciting concept.

It can be nostalgic to look over your family’s old pictures and to talk about the past. This will help to reconnect you with that time and even people from your past. Have you ever considered tracing back your family history and discovering information about your ancestors? It can be a fascinating hobby to take up and you may even be able to meet living relatives that you did not even know existed.

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Exploring historical records online is how I began learning about my own family’s past. Through the process I have gathered lots of new information about my family’s origins that I did not know beforehand. Researching your family history in this way provides you with a new appreciation for your own life and for what those before you experienced and endured in their lifetimes. It can keep you feeling young because it gives you a focused task[1] as well as historical perspective on your life.

As I discussed in point one, it is this learning of a new skill[2] or taking on a new challenge which can help to keep you feeling young at heart. In addition, you could discover new family history information which could enrich future generations of your family. If that is not motivation enough then I do not know what is.

Gum BallsCredit: ameestauffer










4. Music And Food From Your Youth

When you want to keep feeling young then listening to the music from a previous era or year in your life can really take you back to that time. Try to research a specify year online and you can find out what songs were at the top of the charts each month. Acquiring new historical and popular culture information in this way will be great to help keep you feeling young. This is because (as was mentioned in tips one and two), this learning process engages areas of your brain which can otherwise get neglected as one ages.

In addition, perhaps you had a favorite sweet or savory dish which you enjoyed as a child or a young adult. Finding a recipe for this and enjoying it all over again could transport you back in time to your youth as well.

I hope that these four tips provide you with some useful suggestions to keep yourself feeling young at heart and engaged with your ‘younger self’. All these ideas are free to do, especially when you start online. For example from learning an instrument through visual tutorials online to downloading a free app to your phone or iPad to learn a new language, there are many options out there. Discovery and learning should not stop when we leave the classroom or university, it should become a lifelong journey to enjoy.