How to age well: tips to follow | Modern Woman
AndIs there a recipe for learning to be friends with time? Tips for a soul lift
Learn to age well
You are born and at the beginning of your life you are like a sponge: you absorb every stimulus, you learn from everything. Around three years of age you are at the most mental flexibility, gradually you will be able to learn anything. Your brain is making new neuronal connections, all the time. Until adolescence, you will accumulate continuous discoveries and fresh neurons. Then, slowly at the beginning and faster and faster towards the end of your existence, new brain cells will stop forming: the connections between one neuron and the other will die, like tired little bulbs destined to go out. Perhaps you too have studied all this in school books in science class.
But no. It was, now we know, just one of the many theories about the mind. In the field of neuroscience, the debate is heated and there is still no agreement. How to get inspiration from all this? Don’t take anything for granted, here is the first thing to remember. Everything can change, everything evolves and even what we have considered the most granitic knowledge, science has always shown, are destined to change. In the meantime, what we can do is start enjoying time in a new way. And celebrate aging for our years, the adventures, encounters and mistakesthe new awareness that make us every day what we are: this also means getting old.
The young brain
A research team from the Department of Psychiatry of Columbia University in New York and the Division of Molecular Imaging and Neuropathology at NYS Psychiatric Institute, coordinated by the Italian Maura Boldrini, studies the hypothesis that the human brain is able to produce neurons and regenerate even during the third age, contrary to what was believed. In their research Boldrini and colleagues focused on the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus, a part of the brain connected to the limbic system which plays a fundamental role in memory, spatial navigation and the control of emotions in response to stress. Looking at the brain tissue, they found a similar number of neuron progenitor cells and thousands of neurons in all brains analyzed. immature neurons. This could mean that in a state of good health, in the absence of cognitive impairment or neuropsychiatric pathologies, our brain would have the power to regenerate at any ageeven as an elderly person.
In medical reading there is no shortage contrary opinions. A group of scientists from the University of California in 2018 reported analyzing some samples of brain tissue (59, to be exact) and not finding young neurons in subjects after thirteen years of age. But a dead brain is it still capable of producing new cells? Not according to a neuroscientist like Fred Gage, president of the Salk Institute for Biological Studieswho pointed out as neurogenesis it is not an isolated event, but a process. Even today it is a great mystery what happens in our body. What we do know, however, is that we can do extraordinary things, indeed extraordinary things not only can, but they happen all the time within us, without us realizing it. Through the stories of people who have had serious accidents it has emerged that the brain can recover functions even when some of its parts are irremediably damaged.
The plastic brain
It was once believed, another of the convictionsi that we undoubtedly believed that the brain was divided into areas, each one with a specific function. Today we know that it was a simplification. The brains of people who had experienced major trauma have shown incredible recovery processes, highlighting that right and left brain hemispheres can make up for one another by intervening when a part is damaged. Our brain is plastic: it changes over time, evolves and cannot be considered a given object. What we do know is that it is one complex and dynamic structure. Some of these findings on neuroplasicity can be found in the pages written by neurologist Oliver Sacks and Norman Doidge, psychiatrist and author. They are stories of hope and courage on infinite possibilities of our organismcases that should make us reflect: a revolution can happen when we start contemplate the impossible as possible.
Lifting for the soul
To maintain the ‘trained’ brain with targeted activities, such as sports or reading, it has effects on cognitive decline and could positively influence neurogenesis. What does this mean? It has to do with our actions and beliefs: what we do and think it has an effect, materially changes the brain structure of our brain. Changing your mind and moving away from the beliefs that have always guided life brings about a revolution, it is not just a saying. Incredible, right?
Another of the new awareness that we have today concerns the power of the unconscious mind, of which the ancients already foreshadowed the existence. What does it entail? It means that most of the life processes happen below the surface, beyond our decisions. Behind our awareness the fog of a shadowy territory surrounds us: we make choices continuously and often to make the final decision it is a broader and deeper “we”, of which we are not always aware, but capable of taking into account an infinite number of factors, most of which are beyond our conscious control.
Therefore… start trusting. Whose? About you, your body, the sensations you feel. For years we have called it “sixth sense”, instinct, now science is (re) discovering, with another language, knowledge that the ancients told in the form of metaphor and myth. Domitilla Melloni, philosopher analyst and educator, in her book “Music of the soul. Voice, song, meditation”(Enrico Damiani Editore) writes of an exercise who loves to practice during seminar meetings. It’s about getting started sing in an unknown language: a technique that resembles Gibberish, revived by the Indian master Osho. Of ancient origin, the term Jibberish, or Gibberish, indicates themaking sounds… nonsense. An unknown, invented language: “use a language you don’t know: express yourself in Chinese, if you don’t know Chinese; or in Japanese, if you don’t know Japanese. Don’t use German if you know German, ”Osho explained.
The name of the practice comes from the teachings of the Sufi mystic Jabbar. Avoid the sense structure of languages it helps the mind not to cling to the meanings, and with them to the thoughts and patterns that each language carries with it. We rediscover the sound, with the purity of when we were foreign beings just arrived in this world, little travelers accustomed to express yourself more with gestures, skin and looksi that with meaningful words. As the sounds travel from the belly to the throat and come out through the mouth, the body moves freely in space: find new angles and positions, until you choose one. Once the position has been chosen, gradually move from singing to breathing. With sweetness, the song becomes an internal phenomenon and the breath flows, free, like a thread capable of sewing inside and out. In fact, the breath is our trait-d-union between the inner and the outer universe: there is “an inseparable bond that holds together breath-voice-body-sound-person which we all experience every day, without ever really being aware of it ”writes Domitilla Melloni.
Imagine yourself in a new way… and trust
We don’t have a body: bioenergetics has taught us that we are our body. Likewise, we are our voice, even if we don’t notice it. After all, almost everyone we have been educated not to listen to each other. Yet, we have many voices and in the same way, if only we stop for a moment and take the courage to look backwe can see how many thoughts we have had: how many beliefs we have lived and “we have been”. In one life, many lives. We have been many people, all those we have given ourselves permission to be. The same happens today: we are what we give ourselves permission and the opportunity to become.
A notebook in which to write down your life journal can be a useful exercise for to clarify within oneself and it is useful … even to sleep better, as advised “The sleep manual. How to learn to sleep to live better“, edited by Antonio Gracco, Francesca Milano and Giulia Milioli (LSWR Editions).” Expressing ourselves through writing gives us the opportunity to distance yourself and re-evaluate problems of our life “reports James Pennebaker, a professor at the University of Texas, who has been involved for years in a research project on benefits of writing for physical and mental health.
Every day is a new journey
“It is also different from mine today the voice of the little girl I was“writes Domitilla Melloni” but just as the little girl of the past is an integral part of my identity (if it hadn’t been for that little girl, with her wealth of experience, I would certainly be a different person today from what they are), in the same way also that little girl’s voice is inseparably part of my person today and my voice today, which carries within it all the signs of the years in which that little girl and her voice have radically changed “.
We are all that we have lived, we are the product of the things we cannot changeto quote the TV series “Russian Doll” (second season). Yes, we are also this: our mistakes, failures. We are the journey and the whole road we travel, including obstacles, stops in the rain, random hitchhiking and unexpected detours. Every day is a journey that we know and while we persist in chasing the image of our dreams, eternally elusive, in the meantime life happens, with all its contradictions, backwards and delays.
Together with baggage of (re) found dreamspursued and wanted, we also carry with us the black box of broken ideals, disappointments and mistakes. If there is one thing that the years teach it is the value of failure: who does not know how to accept the lesson of mistakes it keeps the most precious part away. Because inside there is the lesson of Time, we have experienced it on the skin, it is a heartfelt truth. Thanks to mistakes and stumbles, we have dismantled beliefs and built new lives, relationships, jobs. Frustration, restlessness and dissatisfaction lead us to look for something else. It is up to us to go and find ourselves, even today, the happy moment of a new dawn. And find time to stop in front of the sunset and give thanks for the time lived. Also today.
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