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Friday, July 29, 2011

10 Ways to Recapture Your Elusive Youthful Spirit

At our summer karate picnic as I was organizing and playing with our youth students, a student’s parent asked my wife if I had this much youthful energy at home. She said an astounding “Yes”.

Keeping your mind young is not an easy task. We hit adulthood with tons of responsibilities at work and home that tend to grind away our youthful attitude daily. We need to combat these tendencies with diligent practice daily.

Wouldn’t you like to feel younger?

A Quick Distinction First…
Don’t mistake youthful exuberance with acting childish. To me, childish means acting immature and irresponsible. In our context, youth spirit means projecting a positive, light, fun, and energetic attitude throughout our day. For example, I remain very goal oriented and responsible but I attempt to go about those goals in a light-hearted matter.

Tips for recapturing your youthful spirit

1. Exercise is number one

It’s hard to feel youthful if you are gasping for air with mild activity. Children usually have quick spurts of energy followed by rest. Mimic this in your training by incorporating High Intensity Interval Training or a Tabata Protocol into your routine. Also, use compound weight exercises that work multiple muscle groups at the same time like many crossfit exercises. Our karate and kickboxing classes provide a terrific source of High Intensity Training and Crossfit exercises. High Intensity Training combined with compound exercises stimulates a hormonal response in your body that will make you feel younger.

2. Nutrition

To remain youthful, you need to eat properly. Easier said then done. Not only is temptation lurking everywhere like the candy dish in the office but the media portrays foods high in sugar as healthy because it has a little whole grain in it.

To stay young, commit to eating whole foods and avoid processed foods and food with added sugars. I go by the rule, “If my great grandmother wouldn’t recognize it as food, don’t eat it.” It’s tough at first because most of us have a sugar addiction, but once you break the habit, your taste buds awaken and food actually tastes better.

3. Cultivate Friendships

Researchers found the best indicator of happiest is not income level but the number of meals that we enjoy with others. I notice when I hang out with friends I tend to feel more youthful, energetic, and fun. I suggest cultivating and enjoying the people around you.

4. Reinvigorate Yourself by Going Outdoor

I find that spending time outside whether it’s working outside or taking a walk with my dogs always invigorates me. I find this as an important key to feeling good that many times I walk or ride my bike to the dojo because it puts me in the correct mood to teach awesome classes every night.

5. Work Playfully

Make work fun. It doesn’t have to get in the way of results. Who can resist spraying with others with the water hose when you wash your car? You still get the job done but with a little fun and much wetter.

6. Follow Children’s Lead

Children are great to bring out our inner child. Now, child psychologist believe that roughhousing with our kids is healthy and teaches valuable life lessons which is different than what was previous thought. Check out Take advantage of the moment and let your children remind you what it’s like to be a kid again.

7. The Art of Let Go

Becoming an adult and raising a family doesn’t need to make us big stiffs. Learning to let go and be spontaneous is a valuable art form. Try to break out of your deeply carved daily ruts. For example, change your morning routine, drive a different routine to work, try a new restaurant. For more ideas, read this great book called Keep Your Brain Alive.

8. Laugh and Smile

Many times, we don’t realize that we walk around with a scowl on our face. It’s not surprising that this can repel positive people and situations along with making you feel old. The remedy is to make people laugh. Constantly flash that smile. For example, I like to start friendly conversations with cashiers in the store. Believe me, they will remember you. When you glow with friendliness, you will see people’s total demeanor change for the better as soon as they see you arrive.

9. Use Pets as a Gauge

Anybody who knows me, knows that I love my dogs. But they can serve a valuable purpose. As Casear Millan, the dog whisperer, demonstrates, our dogs are direct reflections and connection to our attitude. Through their gauge, you can achieve and maintain a cool, calm assertive attitude. There’s nothing better than that. To find out more how this relationship works, pick up his book, Be the Pack Leader. It changed the way I think and goes way beyond just training your dog.

10. Do Everything with Enthusiasm

Many times, we preframe ourselves to be miserable. We think negative thoughts like “I don’t feel like waking up,” “I have to go to work,” or “I don’t feel like working out today.” These disempowering thoughts hold you back from that elusive youthful spirit. Instead preframe your mind for the positive, say to yourself, “I can’t wait to get this day rolling,” “I get to go to work,” or “I can’t wait to workout today.”

Regaining that youthful spirit demands you to find that spark again and fan it into a fire. But… reading this article isn’t enough. Taking one action within the next 24 hours will get you on right track. What action are YOU going to take today to bring back that youth spirit? What do you have to lose anyway?

Sensei Tim Rosanelli
Maximum Impact Karate
(215) 249-3532
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