Charlotte A. Tomaino
Over a period of fifty years there are countless thoughts, emotions, behaviors and beliefs that develop as part of what we have experienced and then shapes how we see the world. We each have taken different paths and seen the world, ourselves and others from our own experience. Fortunately, a combination of all those experiences accumulate and become the basis for wisdom in our later years. Unfortunately, some of those thoughts, emotions, behaviors and beliefs served us once and limit us later when they are no longer needed.
The brain has neural networks which are trained by repetitive practice establishing our automatic thoughts and reactions. Habits of taking charge and pouring yourself into a project may have been the perfect approach when you were in your 40’s or 50’s. But that approach may require too much energy now and leave you depleted, reaching for snacks to restore your energy but putting on unwanted weight as well and eventually making you more tired in the long run.
What are the emotions that no longer serve you? What emotions stop you, like anxiety, fear, or inadequacy? What thoughts get in the way? When do you become the traffic police, fashion police, or behavior police with emotional reactions to others and the judgmental thoughts that follow and rob you of your own peace and enjoyment of the good in the world?
What can you do about the old hurts, regrets, missed opportunities, feelings of guilt or fear lodged in your brain from unresolved experiences over the years. We all encounter them. The question is, will you continue to listen to them, let them play out in your head and diminish your well-being and fullness of presence in the world?
The things we believed in 1965 have changed. The whole world has changed since then. But the brain hangs on to memories that are unresolved emotionally. When you recall hurting someone, you regret it now from this perspective. When you recall being hurt in the past you still may not have any idea what was going on with that person and why they were mean or cruel. Compassion is good for us, releasing the grip on being right (even if you are right) frees you and gives you peace of mind.
Releasing your grip on others behavior creates ease for you and them as well. Control of children who have different opinions and must learn from their own experience and mistakes frees you. Control of family holidays, behavior of others and the old familiar ways of doing things can become a burden more than a gift.
There are many habits that can be released and doing so will open opportunity for ease and growth in how you live that may be actually better for you at this stage of life. Accepting changes in appearance, clothes, make up, hair, shoes are all examples of growth found in the aging literature. Are you wearing purple yet or have you got a red hat?
Habits that once served you can now become detrimental and call for release. Eating, smoking, computer time, TV time, shopping, alcohol, and even prescribed medications can all be adjusted to actually serve you differently at this stage of life rather than the original purpose that they served. Releasing dependence on doctors or medication and learning what it is to create your own wellness is a direction many follow, getting younger and healthier (70 is the new 50). Adjusting your lifestyle to include new behavior and finding the inner peace that your body calls for to enable you to enjoy your wellness are all about completing a stage of your life, embracing who you are now and learning from your experience in order to live the way that matches you now.
What are the thoughts, emotions, behaviors and beliefs
that no longer serve you?
What can you release and by doing so,
open yourself to new, healthier
and more satisfying ways of living?