Geeky wellbeing favourites: May 2022
I’m turning 40 in a few months and I’m not going to lie, this is really freaking me out. There’s something about 40 that feels different to the 30 milestone. It’s the half-way point. It’s the point where, realistically you can’t call yourself young anymore – you are definitely middle-aged now. No wonder so many people have midlife crises!
I appreciate that many of you are already older than 40 and are probably laughing at my midlife angst, especially with what’s going on in the world right now. I apologise. Indulge me though.
Because aside from this being a key milestone (half-way point?), it gets me thinking about something hugely important: ageing well. That means ageing happy, healthy and fit, or as fit as I can be. And while I sadly can’t control everything, there are some things I can control to give myself the best chance of healthful old age.
This is obviously an enormous topic, so here is a very small selection of interesting content to inspire you this month. Enjoy!
It’s the one year anniversary of this newsletter! Thank you so much for reading. I would love to hear any feedback you have so I can make it even better.
The seven habits that lead to happiness in old age is, more or less, the article that inspired this post, alongside my midlife crisis. Based on the Harvard study of adult development (which has been tracking how people live in the 20s and 30s and the impact this has on their ageing, since 1938!), the article highlights things we can do now to ensure we are happy later.
There are some obvious things in there (smoking, drinking), but also some interesting ones to consider, including life-long learning (which I’ve written about before), movement (hello yoga and other fun things) and relationships.
Read some more
I have literally recommended 4,000 weeks to everyone I speak to since I read it. Just read it. Not necessarily about ageing per se, but just read it.
If you prefer to consume your content in video form, here is a talk by one of the leaders of the Harvard study, focusing specifically on how crucial relationships are for happiness in older age.
Watch some more
Interested in ageing and specifically why we age? Here’s a talk on telomeres by Nobel prize winner Elizabeth Blackburn – a topic that I was obsessed with at uni all those years ago and I still find fascinating. Of special interest is the part (about halfway through till the end) about chronic stress and telomeres (which we know yoga and other wellbeing practices are relevant to).
I had a bit of a tough time last week, and this yoga nidra from Jennie helped me fall relax and asleep. Maybe it was the cat purrs :)
Practice some more
Interested in Stoicism? Want to try some Stoic meditation for Mental Health Awareness week? The Stoic Salon is running a free programme next week – find out more here.
Yoga science highlights
Yoga for better quality of life – Sort of relevant to ageing, this is a fairly large survey (over 3,000 participants) looking at the effects of a 100-day yoga and heartfulness meditation on health-related quality of life. The programme positively impacted health-related quality of life, including things like day-to-day stress, ability to adopt a healthy lifestyle and ability to stay healthy during the pandemic.
Yoga and sleep – A very small and non-controlled study (21 participants), but worth mentioning because of the links of sleep and ageing (see blog post below). Participants who took part in a 14-week Viniyoga (or therapeutic yoga?) programme specifically tailored to them reported improvements in their sleep quality.
Helping cancer-related fatigue – This meta-analysis found that yoga and mindfulness interventions are effective at cancer-related fatigue, although they were not able to identify what it is about the interventions that drives the beneficial effects.
Ageing-related highlights from the blog
Does yoga help with (peri)menopause? That dreaded transition for women – can yoga help to overcome the challenges that go with it?
Growing old well, with yoga Ageing well is surely something that we are all after – mobile, as healthy as we can, with strong brains and great mental health. Maybe yoga can help.
Forever young with yoga? If inflammation determines our biological age, and if yoga helps to control unnecessary inflammation, could yoga also help to keep us young?
‘Sleep hygiene’ may help in Alzheimer’s – could yoga help too? News that sleep hygiene could help to delay or lessen the severity of Alzheimer’s – if yoga can help with better sleep, could it help with Alzheimer’s too?