Reprinted from "Healthy Aging" by Andrew Weil, published by Knopf.

Pay attention to your breath. Many cultures identify breath with spirit, seeing the breath cycle as the movement of spirit in the physical body.. Simply minding the breath is a way of expanding consciousness beyond the ego, of experiencing transcendence.


  • Connect with nature. You can do this by walking or sitting in a natural setting; a city park will do just fine. Allow yourself to slow down, drop your usual routines, and just absorb the influence of the place.

  • Make a list of people in your life in whose company you feel more alive, happy, and optimistic. Make an effort to spend more time with them. Our spiritual selves resonate with others, and that connection is a healing.

  • Bring flowers into your home and enjoy their beauty.

  • Listen to music that you find inspirational and uplifting.

  • Admire a work of art that raises your spirits: a painting, sculpture, or work of architecture.

  • Reach out and try to resume connection with someone from whom you are estranged; practice forgiveness.

  • Do some sort of service work. Give some of your time and energy to help others. The possibilities are endless but do not include just writing a check to charity.
  • The suggestions above are intended to help you become more aware of your spiritual self. Any activity that makes you feel more alive, more connected to others and to nature, less isolated, more comfortable with change, is beneficial. It will enhance your physical and mental health. It will help you accept the fact of your aging. It will help you to age gracefully.

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