Describe about Lightning Strike, Emotions and Ageing, Discovering your own Elderhood, The gratitude Walk and Cultivating Flexibility?
In simple terms as per reading on ‘Aging as a Spiritual Practice” book, the ageing is a collaboration of four stages out of which the first one is “Lightening Strikes” that is a stage involving realization of growing old. As per learners’ viewpoint, this is the most sensitive stage of ageing process because its impact can divert the thought process from negative to positive or vice versa. After having a read at the lightening strike description in the book learner realizes that lightning strike is a moment where a person wakes up from sleep and realises the existence of growing age and also starts analysing its significance on life (Richmond, 2012).
Learner observed a real lightening strike situation where the grandfather of learner faced a lightening strike situation when he met a car accident and loss of limb at the age of 65 years, leading to complete loss of happiness from his life. This case study of grandfather indicates that lightning strike can put on a negative or positive impact depending on the conscious of the person involved in that stage of ageing. According to Lavretsky (2010), the realization of ageing is important, but it should inspire, motivate and enhance the happiness instead to demotivating the positivity of life.
In this book, the author observed the reaction of one couple that possessed different attitude towards their experience of the lightning strike in the ageing process. The husband had a negative attitude towards ageing who highlighted that loss of energy is the impact of ageing, whereas wife considered ageing as another phase of life. Therefore, this indicates that the impact of lightning strike stage of elderhood depends on the substantial conscious of mind.
The study made a clear identification that the emotions have a very strong link with the processes of aging because as we grow old the emotional stability providing power to spirit increases but spiritually saturation starts diminishing in the ageing process. As per author, emotions varies from individual to individual as ageing appears there is no general viewpoint about emotions and its impact on ageing (Richmond, 2012). In elderhood, it is observed that emotional regulations start taking height where older people record few negative emotions than younger once. They pay more attention to the good and positive factors of life and if they face negative emotions the recovery is effortless. But, it is also identified that emotional distress saturation is a bit highly in old age where ageing leads to a stronger reaction in times of emotional instability (Phillips, Ajrouch & Hillcoat-Nalletamby, 2010).
Emotions and Ageing
The negative events of life hit older people harder than younger once. In the study, it is identified that creating an undesirable situation in old age people life, results in a bad mood, strong reaction, distress and emotional instability. At the ageing stage of life people generally, losses the strength to handle emotional distress and just want to acquire a stable peace of mind (Koenig, 2010).
As a learner, a study was done on a research of Reichstadt et al. (2010) mentioning that emotional arousal needs more attention in ageing. Similar is recognized in the present study where author indicates that strength of emotions needs more attention in ageing rather than the quality of emotions (positive or negative). In old age, the strength for accepting negative emotions decreases, therefore, it results in a strong reaction to any negative emotion or event in the life of old age people.
Ageing is not a matter of choice, but surely the elderhood is a matter of personal choice that depends on the discovering process of your elderhood. As a learner, this reading acknowledges that after adulthood the transformation to elderhood should always be in a positive manner. The studies of Jeste et al. (2010) served as an example to understand the process of discovering the elderhood where a passionate editor named Elise Boulding indicated that your practical working and experience is an outcome of your inner abundance. If you are not able to discover your inner richness you can never serve the society. This inner abundance depends on the social and biological processes of human life. Any individual does not have control over biological processes, but surely they can enhance social processes to construct a healthy inner conscious.
Similarly, the author states that discovering elderhood depends on the processes you undertake to build up your inner conscious, and this depends on your elder wisdom.
As per the learner’s experience on this reading, elderhood is not only growing but it is learning, living, developing, enhancing and enjoying altogether with an ageing body. The reading suggests that building a healthy inner conscious helps us to discover the best elderhood for ourselves as well as people around us (Richmond, 2012).
The author shared a spiritual practice of his daily process and named it as “Gratitude Walk” where the author states that gratitude is the most important component of the healthy ageing process. The gratitude walk of author establishes a connection between the aging process and spirituality. In the study, the author combines two different practices of mood boosting and stress bursting by walking and expressing gratitude. While ageing the gratitude walking is a powerful combination where gratitude heals, elevates and reduces stress, and walking enhances the mood as well as bodily activity. Gratitude involves a thankful practice for all that a person has achieved, blessed and assimilated in whole life including all personal, social, physical, mental and universal benefits that boost the spirit. Gratitude helps to sustain positivity towards life and performing gratitude walk at old age makes it a habit to maintain positivity in ageing (Richmond, 2012).
Discovering Your Own Elderhood
Schalk et al. (2010) indicated in the study that walking is scientifically the best medicine in human’s life and habit of paying gratitude is spiritually the best healer for the negativity of life. Walking process unlocks the brain cells and neurotransmitters allowing the thought process to work in human mind. The route of indulging thoughts with a practice of gratitude helps to develop only affirmative thought process in the brain.
In the study, it is explained that gratitude assists to sustain a thankful thought for all the good and bad situations because, at the end, life is life, and it always doesn’t work as per human will. Therefore, this gratitude walk of the author made learner understand the basics of life at very young age enhancing maturity and positive attitude towards life.
In the study, the author acknowledges that flexibility is an essential component of the healthy ageing process. The competency to adapt and adjust according to physical, emotional and mental variation as we grow is flexibility. From the reading learner understands that cultivating flexibility is a practice of young age or adolescence. According to the learner when we perform the daily activity, an individual follows same processes, waking-up at the same time, eating similar meals, continuing same work and engaging with same people around us that are spontaneous processes. But, what will happen if any modification occurs in the daily process. The learner got an answer to this question in the reading, where author identified that any individual should adopt the practice of cultivating flexibility so that they become eligible to cope up with the modifications of ageing in life.
The old age people are often afraid of exposures to cities, vehicles, technologies and advancements of the world where they do not find comfort zone (MacKinlay, 2010). There is only handful of old age people who develop flexibility by developing practices like interest in innovation, fitness freakiness, passion for travelling, learning other cultures and customs, engaging with new people and interest in advancements of society. These practices help to cultivate flexibility in attitude that assures your capability to cope up with the changes in plans and ageing processes of life (Izuhara, 2010).
For understanding the importance of flexibility, the learner observed a neighbourhood old age couple that performs regular traveling to different cities once in every six months to establish change in daily life. The observation indicated that the couple is more enthusiastic, energetic, happy and full of life when compared to learner’s grandparents indicating flexibility cultivation in the conscious of neighbourhood couple. This observation helped the learner to realize the essentiality of cultivating flexibility in life.
Izuhara, M. (2010). Ageing and intergenerational relations: Family reciprocity from a global perspective. Policy Press.
MacKinlay, E. (2010). Ageing and spirituality across faiths and cultures. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Phillips, J. E., Ajrouch, K. J., & Hillcoat-Nalletamby, S. (2010). Key concepts in social gerontology. Sage.
Richmond, L. (2012). Aging as a Spiritual Practice. Penguin UK.
Jeste, D. V., Ardelt, M., Blazer, D., Kraemer, H. C., Vaillant, G., & Meeks, T. W. (2010). Expert consensus on characteristics of wisdom: A Delphi method study. The Gerontologist, gnq022.
Koenig, H. G. (2010). Spirituality and mental health. International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies, 7(2), 116-122.
Lavretsky, H. (2010). Spirituality and aging. Aging health, 6(6), 749-769.
Ott, U., Hölzel, B. K., & Vaitl, D. (2011). Brain structure and meditation: How spiritual practice shapes the brain. In Neuroscience, consciousness and spirituality (pp. 119-128). Springer Netherlands.
Reichstadt, J., Sengupta, G., Depp, C. A., Palinkas, L. A., & Jeste, D. V. (2010). Older adults' perspectives on successful aging: Qualitative interviews.The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 18(7), 567-575.
Schalk, R., Van Veldhoven, M., De Lange, A. H., De Witte, H., Kraus, K., Stamov-Ronagel, C. & Bertrand, F. (2010). Moving European research on work and ageing forward: Overview and agenda. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 19(1), 76-101.
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