Meet Salonpas® Wellness Warrior, Andrea Brandt, PhD, MFT, who has over 35 years of clinical experience as a renowned psychotherapist, speaker, and author. In her work, Dr. Brandt reveals positive paths to emotional health that teach you how to reinvent and empower yourself. She emphasizes the mind-body-heart connection as a key to mental, physical, and emotional wellness.
Dr. Brandt has written a new book, Mindful Aging: Embracing Your Life After 50 to Find Fulfillment, Purpose, and Joy which outlines a specific process for embracing the aging process. She has dedicated much of her work to the development of methods for overcoming the stigma of aging in this country and to growing older with purpose.
“I had quite a role model in my grandmother, who showed that we have the potential to be vital and engaged until our dying day, and that we never should live according to others’ values or to settle for an unhappy life,” Dr. Brandt shares. “Don’t get me wrong, she wasn’t perfect, but she taught me some valuable lessons about the agency we have, no matter what our age, to steer our own lives for the better.”
A featured media expert, Dr. Brandt has appeared on numerous television programs, radio shows, and podcasts. She is a contributor to Psychology Today and has written blog posts for The Huffington Post, Mind Body Green, Psych Central, and more. Long recognized as a pioneer in the field of treating anger issues, Dr. Brandt is the author of 8 Keys to Eliminating Passive-Aggressiveness, Mindful Anger: A Pathway to Emotional Freedom and her newest book, Mindful Aging: Embracing Your Life After 50 to Find Fulfillment, Purpose, and Joy.
Salonpas® sat down with Dr. Brandt to learn about mindful aging:
How do you define “mindful aging”?
Mindful aging means accepting and embracing the changes that come with getting older. It means appreciating and making the most of the years you have left to live. And it means seeing life through a lens of realistic positivity—you can’t always control what happens to you, but you can control how you interpret and react to life’s inevitable ups and downs.
What events led you to write your book Mindful Aging?
Watching the women in my life thrive and live full lives well into their 90s inspired me to write Mindful Aging. They showed me how to view aging positively and how I could stay productive as I got older. Because of them, I was never scared of aging and instead saw aging as an opportunity, and so I wanted to share that mindset with others.
Is it possible to reinvent, re-energize yourself after the age of 50? What tools do you need to do that?
It’s absolutely possible to reinvent and re-energize yourself after 50. There are a couple of things you need to do to accomplish this goal: 1) See life with realistic positivity. 2) Connect with others—stay in touch with old friends, meet new people, strengthen your romantic relationship or find a new one. 3) Work through and release old traumas and beliefs that no longer serve you. 4) Eat well and exercise so that your body feels healthy and strong. 5) Do things that give you joy and make you feel productive. Finally, I think it’s important to give service. Give back to the community. Leave a mark that’ll outlast you.
Can you share some sample suggestions from your book about how to reinvigorate yourself after 50?
One of the bits of advice I give about reinvigorating yourself and finding your joy after 50 is to revisit your history. Our interests stay surprisingly consistent across our lives. Draw out a timeline of your life and write, decade by decade or year by year, what it was at that time that brought you the most joy. Include activities, people, travels, experiences, and so on. Think about what it was specifically about those things that made you happy. Then look over your list and think about how you can incorporate some of those joy-filled things into your life now.
Your first two books dealt with anger management. How did you transition to mindful aging?
Mindful aging is something I’ve thought about through my entire career. It wasn’t that I suddenly decided to switch from talking about anger to talking about aging; both subjects have always interested me. Anger interested me because it’s something we all experience, but don’t like to talk about. Aging is the same way. The baby boomers are now all 50 or older, and that’s a massive number of people who need advice on aging well. I thought this was a good moment for a book like Mindful Aging.
What are the major stumbling blocks that 50+ people have when considering “mindful aging?”
People stumble when they think there are right ways and wrong ways to age. Learning to age mindfully also doesn’t happen overnight. We’re so bogged down with society’s expectations of us that it can take some time to figure out what we want our later years to look like. And it can take some time and practice to feel comfortable in our older bodies. That’s where fun exercise classes and tasty, healthful food comes in.
Describe a perfect day for you that incorporates your mindful aging principles.
For me, a mindful aging day includes lunch with friends, a pole dance class (so much fun and such a good workout!), some hours working with clients, and dinner and a movie with my husband.
To live mindfully, you need to pay attention to your body, your desires, and your thoughts. If you listen to your body carefully, it will tell you what it wants and needs. And what it wants today may not be the same as what it wanted ten or twenty years ago. That’s ok. Honor yourself, and your changing wants and needs. And check in with yourself throughout the day with mini meditation sessions.
Mindful Aging is available for preorder on Amazon and will be released on October 10, 2017 wherever fine books are sold.