Saturday, February 27th, 2021

R Shopper Columns


Staying young and healthy has a lot to do with what goes on inside of us, such as letting go of resentments, anger and being a victim, and learning to relax. The following are some of the things we need to do to keep a youthful spirit:

Don't hold onto our wounds and hurts. Forgive and fill our hearts with gratitude.

We need a forgiving spirit because when we hold onto our wounds, we diminish our health. One suggestion that I think works is to keep a gratitude journal. Each day, write down in this journal:

1. Three things in life for which you're grateful

2. Three things in your family for which you're grateful

3. Three things in yourself for which you're grateful

The Chinese did a study and found that gratitude can lower stress, anxiety, and fears. Gratitude can help us sleep better, which is a great way to maintain good health. Also according to the Chinese study, negative thoughts have more of an impact on us than a lot of positive ones, so we need to exchange our negative thoughts for positive ones. The motivational speaker Zig Ziglar said the more positive thoughts we give ourselves, the more energized we feel. So the lesson for us is to forgive and stay positive.

Don't act your age!

"Act your age." Translated this means, "Get serious! Stop letting the child- the playful, fun side of yourself- out. Stop acting silly." I don't know how to act my age; I've never been this age before.

In her book, Quantum Learning, author Bobbi DePorter reports that children on the average receive 460 negative or critical comments and 75 positive or supportive comments every day. Steve Kissell, a local comedian, shared some disturbing statistics: "Children laugh over 350 times a day while adults laugh 15." Maybe the amount of critical remarks finally stifle the child in all of us, chain the free spirit and make us take everything so seriously because it has not been safe to let our inner child out. We are afraid to let the inner child out because we might be criticized or rejected for being immature or not acting our age!

What is interesting is the advice our seniors offer. Nadine Stair, an 85-year-old woman from Louisville, Kentucky at the time, gave these thoughts about what would do if she could relive her life:

"If I had my life to live over again...
I'd dare to make more mistakes next time.
I'd relax.
I'd limber up.
I'd be sillier than I've been this trip.
I would take fewer things seriously.
I would take more chances,
I would eat more ice cream and fewer beans."

Next month, we will look at other ways of staying young.

Dr. William E. Austin is a licensed psychotherapist and holds a Doctor of Divinity degree. He is a therapist with Tidewater Pastoral Counseling Services . He is well known for his warmth and sense of humor. His book, Creating Our Safe Place - Articles on Healthy Relationships, can be purchased through

Tidewater Pastoral Counseling: 623-2700