What I learnt from healthy elderly people

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One of my greatest interests in life is to learn about the ways to live long life filled with good health. So anything related to health interests me. I recently got to observe healthy elderly people and study them. This blog is outcome of this experience

My husband’s grand mother is almost 85 years old. She is in good heath, able to do her activities herself, physically and mentally active. She does not have any life style diseases and no major health issues. She has some body pains now and then whenever she exerts her body. I thought this good health is because of the nutritious food she ate in her younger days and thought its impossible for people like me to have this health when I reach 80 years of age as I am eating food filled with pesticides and chemicals. So I never bothered to study her as my assumption is her good health is because of the food she ate. Its the same with my father-in-law as well. He is in his sixties and does not have any life style diseases or major health issues. This also surprised me greatly because majority of the people who cross sixties have some or the other life style diseases and I thought may be this man is an exception and has some good karma.

One day I was discussing about my husband’s grand mother with one of my friends casually and she said her two grand mothers(paternal and maternal) are in eighties and are also in excellent health. Another colleague said his grandmother also lived upto 98 years of age without any life style disease.After listening to these people, I felt its not a coincidence or some good karma or luck or exception that my husband’s grand mother or father-in-law or others have good health and there must be more reasons than eating nutritious food in young age. If food is the only reason for good health, then some of my relatives who are of the same age group like my father-in-law have lifestyle diseases. These people also ate same food like him and are from the same generation like him but their state of health is different. So I started studying these healthy elderly people closely and interestingly found a pattern in their habits(I cross-checked below patterns with 2 of my friends and a colleague and they said their grand parents also followed similar life style like below). Below is the pattern I have noticed

  1. They are stress-free no matter what happens in their life. It could be death of a close family member or financial troubles or marriages or children or whatever. They give their best to the situation and leave the rest to God without worrying. They have trust in God and innocence to accept whatever life brings in their way. They cry , they get hurt when things go wrong but the speed with which they move on and come to terms with life is faster when compared to others
  2. Their forgiveness levels are high. They don’t hold on to hurts forever.
  3. They do lot of physical activities. Their day starts with physical work and they constantly look for opportunities to do physical work. They wash their own clothes everyday(by hands and not by washing machine).They get their groceries. They clean their home, wash utensils , cook their food and live life independently wherever its possible. They don’t look for help from maids or cooks unless there is a big event.
  4. They sleep and wake up early almost at the same time everyday. They sleep on or before 10 PM and wake up on or before 6 AM whether its a sunday or a monday or summer or winter
  5. They dont have many rules regarding the kind of food they eat. They eat white rice.They drink tea with loads of white sugar. They eat spicy food. They eat salt. They eat sweets and ice creams. They eat non-veg as well if they are from non-vegetarian family. They dont eat fruits or raw salads or dry fruits or organic food or juices to keep themselves healthy. 3 principles they follow regarding food are –

       1.Eat food in moderation.
       2.Eat food only after taking bath. No food without bathing
       3.Prefer home made food anyday.

They enjoy food but no matter how tasty or delicious a food item might be, they don’t cross the limit and indulge in it as if there is no tomorrow. Initially I was shocked seeing their food intake as their food habits did not match with any of the books I read about food. Every health and food expert says that white rice , white sugar, salt, spices are not good for health and here, these people have been consuming all these items since years and years and still they are healthy and strong. On top of it, they sleep immediately after eating dinner and they dont have any digestion related ailments or insomnia. Its not my intention to say that white rice or white sugar is good for health. My point is there is more to health than food. Of course, when one is careful about food choices, one can have much more excellent health. May be, if these people ate like health experts say, probably they will be running marathons in their eighties and nineties.

  1. They dont have any guilt in life. They could have done mistakes in life yet they live life with the innocence of a child who forgets and moves on.
  2. Everyday after taking bath, they silently pray to God for 30 seconds. I dont know what they pray but they make it a point to pray to God everyday.

These are the patterns I observed in these healthy elderly people. After studying these patterns, I studied people around me who are suffering with life style diseases and I noticed that they are not following one or all of the above principles. Either their sleeping patterns are irregular or they took great stress in their life or their food intake is beyond moderation etc.When I introspected my own life, I found myself not practicing some of the above principles and I understood there are high chances of getting lifestyle diseases in future if I dont change the direction of my life. Because of the meditations I am  practicing and pranic healing, points 1,2,6,7 are easy to me. They are not my natural behaviours but I practice them whenever I meditate regularly. I am working on making points 4 ,5 part of my life and I am partially successful. Still I have long way to go but atleast I started my journey there. But one point which challenged me greatly is point number 3.

Right from my childhood, I am a heavily pampered child and my mother never allowed me to do any physical work at home as she felt I should not be burdened with physical work. So I developed this mindset that without maid, I cannot take care of daily household chores. I used to think maid is a need. The concept of karma yoga in ashrams greatly appealed to me but doing household work at home sounded boring and waste of time to me. My husband is also a heavily pampered child as he is the elder son of his family and his story is same like mine(Law of Attraction – like attracts like). My husband and I work in software company and our lifestyle is sedentary. Except for physical exercises before and after meditation and cooking, there is not much physical activity in our life. But once we closely studied healthy elderly people, we both understood that if we want to be healthy in life, we need to do lot of physical work. This physical work could be gymming, yoga, sports, gardening, doing household activities etc. After observing my husband’s grand mother and father-in-law, we are heavily inspired and felt we should live like them in our 60’s and 70’s doing our household work on our own. But one question stared us- if we are in 30’s and not doing any household work, how will we do it when we are 60 years old? So this question motivated us and we thought we will try to live our life without maid for 3 months as an experiment.

Our experiment started. We divided house hold work between us and took care of all the activities like sweeping home, mopping, dusting, washing utensils, washing and folding clothes, cooking, cleaning bathrooms etc. My husband enjoyed this phase but it was very frustrating to me and I even wondered – have I become victim of my own crazy thoughts? I thought I made a big mistake and almost every morning, I was tempted to hire a maid. I felt exhausted physically and tired and I wanted to give up. But some inner voice told me to try for 3 months and then decide. I listened to it and persisted and completed 2 months of my experiment. Below are the changes I noticed in myself in these 2 months.

  1. I became more active physically. During the initial days of experiment, I was tired but as time passed,  I became energetic. I felt recharged after doing physical work.
  2. My laziness has reduced significantly.
  3. I became better at time management and able to balance house hold chores, office, meditations, reading books, sleep. I understood there will always be enough time in life for everything if we plan our time better. Even after doing all these things, I still find free time.
  4. I developed appreciation for the work put in by my mother and all other mothers who take care of homes everyday. Earlier, I did not acknowledge it much as I did not understand how much effort goes in to maintain a home.Now, I felt very grateful
  5. I also developed appreciation for maids for their excellent time management and skill of doing physical work quickly and efficiently.
  6. Most importantly, I stopped looking down on physical work as some menial job. I realized its importance in life and felt it is as important and wonderful as meditation.
  7. I felt great appreciation, respect, gratitude for my husband and our marital harmony also increased as we did household work together
  8. 3 people said I lost weight. I dont know the truth of this as I did not measure my weight before and after. But all I can say is my body felt light and joyful
  9. My confidence levels increased. Earlier I used to feel under confident when there are situations where I need to do any physical work. I used to feel stressed and I used to give up in situations which demanded physical work. Now, I could handle them with ease and this gave me great confidence

These are the changes I noticed in myself. I saw more or less the same set of changes in my husband as well.Because of the benefits we gained , my husband and I definitely want to do all the household work at home throughout our life. We hope we will practice all the 7 principles I mentioned above and live long life filled with good health, joy, productivity and spiritual progress. I wish everyone good health, happiness, prosperity, joy, long life, productivity, spiritual progress

Lokah Samastha Sukhino Bhavanthu

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