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Coming of age: 40 of the most surprising and inspiring tips


getting older isn't about fighting time, but enjoying it. In honor of Natural Health's 40th Anniversary, we've collected 40 of the most surprising and inspiring tips on how to live a longer, healthier life. Who says aging has to get old?

by Kristina Grish
01. Think young
Perspectives on Psychological Science recently published a study by Ellen Langer, Ph.D., a mind-body psychology professor at Harvard, about the correlation between how women look and feel after having their hair cut and colored. Salon subjects' before and after shots were assessed by volunteers only, and those women who believed having their hair dyed made them look younger actually did look younger after the salon visit. Those who didn't think they looked youthful with a new 'do didn't appear so. The take-away? "Feeling young makes you look younger," says Langer. "So act your inner age."
02. Meditate
Ancient Taoists used meditation techniques to help maintain emotional balance, and thus good health, into old age. Cut to 2010, and Blue Gross Blue Shield found factors that typically increase with aging--such as blood pressure, susceptibility to stress, insomnia and heart failure actually decreased among meditators. Another recent study found that meditators have a 30 percent higher level of telomerase--the enzyme responsible for repairing telomeres, structures on the ends of chromosomes that protect them from deterioration--than those who don't meditate. (Each time a cell reproduces, telomeres Become shorter and less effective at protecting the chromosome, and this is a cause of aging) So, hit your meditation pillow-even if it's just for a few minutes a day.
03. Loosen your neck
Nobody wants to become an old lady with a dowager hump, but this posture isn't just a vanity risk. "Neck tightness that leads to carrying one's head more forward than normal is associated with increased mortality," says Louise Hockley, D.C., a chiropractor in Wellington, New Zealand. "This is a big problem for people who sit in front of a computer all day without breaks." To avoid a crooked fate, sit up straight at your desk and then slowly tilt your head backward until your forehead is parallel to the ceiling. Do this three times for every hour you're behind your computer.
04. Take your herbs
Adaptogenic herbs help the body's ability to adapt to daily stresses, and are often included in Chinese and Western anti-aging medicines. "They help restore and maintain well-being," says Rosemary Gladstar, founder of the California School of Herbal Studies and author of Herbal Remedies for Radiant Well Being (Story Book Publications). Start with herbs like rhodiola (which reduces stress and boosts energy), reishi (which protects the liver and heart and reduces cholesterol), and holy basil (which reduces anxiety and mental fog), and talk to a holistic doc about the right doses for you.
05. Be consistent in the kitchen
Don't pay attention to your diet one minute, and then ditch your good-eating habits the next. "This can create a sugar imbalance, which causes confusion, headaches and fatigue--characteristic features of aging brain syndrome," says Naheed All, M.D., author of Diabetes and You: A Comprehensive Holistic Approach (Rowman & Littlefield).