One Surprising Technique to Slow the Aging Process
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By: Sarah Grace Powers – Confluence Daily is your daily news source for women in the know.
Do you find yourself often reliving the past? Maybe going back to difficult conversations, but this time coming up with clever and incisive responses?
Maybe you torture yourself by constantly revisiting painful episodes, feeling unable to exorcise them from your mind?
There might be a period of your life when you felt particularly successful or powerful, and now you find yourself replaying moments from that time, or telling people about who you once were.
It’s easy to slip into any or all of these. However—you might want to think twice next time you begin to drift into this pattern.
Because frequent dwelling on the past—even on positive memories—can actually accelerate the aging process!
Now, when I say ‘positive memories,’ I’m not talking about occasionally sharing some nostalgia with loved ones while viewing photos of a treasured vacation. I mean a regular and excessive habit of looking back on times when it seemed like things were better than they are now.
Yep—accelerates the aging process.
I’m not just pulling this out of nowhere. I learned this from one of the leading spiritual teachers of our time.
I first encountered this idea while reading The Power of Now by Eckart Tolle.
True confession time: It took me a while to get around to actually reading this personal development classic.
Despite the fact that the book occupied a prominent place of honor on the shelves of my store for at least five years after its publication, despite it being one of the ‘highly recommended’ books on our list during my coach training, despite countless friends and colleagues raving about it, and despite owning my own copy for over a decade…. Somehow I just never could get past the first few pages of Tolle’s somewhat pedantic writing style.
Plus, I was pretty sure I would feel like I’d heard it all already.
I guess I wasn’t quite ready or willing to be present.
But finally I picked it up and realized that the best way to assimilate the material was to read it very sloooowly.
It’s so funny, because once the timing was right for me to receive the information, I wasn’t bothered at all by the writing style. And … it’s a whole book, for heaven’s sake! I have NOT already heard it all!
I’m drinking up the reminders, and practicing presence as often as I can.
Which, of course isn’t that often.
Those moments of presence are fleeting at best. My busy mind has always much preferred planning the future. Or, ruminating on the past, wondering if I could have done something differently for better results.
And, of course, scrolling through Facebook or Instagram catching up on what everyone else is up to doesn’t exactly classify as ‘being present.’
But, now I have an extra incentive to pull myself back into the now as I am quite motivated to slow the aging process. And I notice I actually do feel younger when I’m fully in the moment.
Instead of feeling like a drag, or boring, there’s a wonder, a curiosity, an excitement in the experiment with actually occupying my body even in the boring or painful moments.
Tolle discusses in depth a concept he calls the ‘pain body’, which is basically a part of our psyche that we fall into when current events somehow trigger unpleasant emotional states that first happened during a past event. Many of these triggering events might not even live in our conscious memory anymore because they are buried in the blur of our childhood years.
Living and acting from the pain body is—well, painful. And when we are in the trance of the pain body I’m quite sure we are stimulating the production of hormones that hasten the aging process.
I was quite fascinated when I read Tolle’s explanation of the ‘pain body,’ because I realized the potential Matrix Reimprinting for helping to diminish or even dissolve the pain body. (Matrix Reimprinting is an amazing modality I use in my practice. It is based on EFT Tapping and is a way to resource our inner child, or past parts of ourselves that experienced small and large traumas.)
But, back to the point here. What really jumped out at me was Tolle’s take on what happens in our bodies when the past is taking up our attention. I’d always thought that the ‘problem’ with being in the past rather than the present was simply that you are reliving all the old pain.
But Tolle says that even when your mind is preoccupied with the great things you’ve achieved, ‘you are not only reinforcing a false sense of self but also helping to accelerate your body’s aging process by creating an accumulation of past in your psyche.”
He invites us to verify this for ourselves by observing those around us who have a strong tendency to hold on to the past. Now THAT’S an interesting experiment.
Set an intention today to notice when you mentally go into the past. And, if you can, gently redirect your thoughts and body experience to the present.
It just may pay off in a more resilient and healthy body—whatever your age!
Sarah Grace Powers is a Holistic Life Coach and EFT Practitioner. She works with women over 40 who want to embrace ageless living and who are ready to release the weight—physical, mental or emotional— that holds them back from achieving their dreams and making their impact in the world.
In her previous career she owned and operated an herb shop and has practiced holistic living for more than three decades. Find her at sarahgracecoach.com
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