What Do We Feed? Mindfulness and Resilience in Successful Aging

eyeball_key.jpgHave you heard the term mindfulness? Do you practice it or do you want to know more? This is an excellent article to do just that and thank you for visiting us at Advocare. We provide Aging Life CareTM to area residents throughout the South Florida area. 

What do we feed?
One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.” The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?” The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”   —A Native American Tale

No matter what our circumstances, we will experience the good and bad, and there will be circumstances outside our control. This is increasingly apparent as we age and face losses of friends and family, physical health, and even living environments. Aging Life Care Professionals™ / care managers face these losses both personally and professionally. We cannot change this fact, but we can change how we respond to it. Our innate capacity to face and handle life’s challenges-resilience– is an important factor in living a satisfactory life.

Mindfulness, the ancient art of paying attention non-judgmentally, can be an important key to cultivating resilience. We may be born with a greater or lesser capacity for it, but we can also nurture this quality through our behaviors. Human survival is based on our hypersensitivity to negative and intense situations or, as Rick Hanson says, “The brain is like Velcro for negative experiences, but Teflon for positive experiences. “ (quoted in Bergeisen, 2010).  We also know, however, that we can change our brains by our thoughts and behaviors, and that intentionally focusing on the positive can create new habits that will increase resilience. In other words, we get better at what we practice.

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