As we get older, many of us sometimes feel apprehensive, concerned, and even scared about aging. I’m no exception. In fact, this is quite natural.

I was recently thinking, what are some simple, natural ways to slow down aging, that are applicable to most people? And after contemplating this question for a few days, came up with 3 simple and intuitive “secrets” to slow down aging.

These simple ideas are derived from an analogy, by considering a question about grapes and raisins. How does a young and juicy grape turn into an aged, wrinked raisin? To understand this better, let’s consider the traditional process of making raisins from grapes.

Grapes are harvested, the connecting stems are removed to allow the grapes to be separated out, and they are placed out in the sun to dry under hot and dry conditions. After several days of such treatment, the grapes turn into raisins.

What is the key factor in transforming grapes into raisins? In a word, dehydration. The grapes lose water, and as a result, their skin starts wrinkling. With continued heat and sun exposure, more water is lost, and the grapes literally shrivel up into raisins.

Now, if you wanted to keep the grapes fresh, what would you do? The answer is common sense: prevent or slow down the drying process as much as possible. And how to accomplish this? Here are 3 effective ways 1) keep them relatively moist, rather than in dry conditions 2) keep them cool, rather than in hot conditions and 3) keep them connected in clusters, while taking care to separate out the good ones from any rotten grapes.

This is of course a very simplistic analogy, and human beings are dramatically more complex than grapes. But the analogy does provide us 3 natural, simple strategies to slow down aging:

1) Keep yourself well hydrated
2) Keep yourself cool, literally as well as metaphorically
3) Keep yourself well connected with others in your community

Let’s briefly examine each of these 3 strategies a bit more.

1) Keep yourself well hydrated

To stay well hydrated, we need healthy hydration habits. And quality of the water we drink is as important as quantity… one of my favorite topics!

In a nutshell, drinking water should be pure and free of contaminants, and should have healthy mineral electrolytes. However, there’s much more to hydration. Here is an article on Healthy Hydration, and here are Top Ten Hydration Tips. And see here for EMDROPS, a simple yet unique formula for improving hydration & health.

2) Keep yourself cool, literally as well as metaphorically

It is well understood that we need healthy levels of sun exposure to help formation of natural Vitamin D in our bodies. Conversely, we also need to avoid too much sun exposure during the hottest parts of the day, particularly during the summer months.

Perhaps even more important, we need to develop the internal habit of staying cool, calm and collected as much as possible, even in the face of difficult circumstances. It is scientifically proven that stress is a key underlying factor in a variety of chronic disease conditions. Although stress cannot be eliminated, research shows that how we perceive and react to stress makes a huge difference in how it affects us.

I believe that keeping ourselves internally “cool” (calm, happy, optimistic) can not only help to prevent disease, it can slow down the aging process as well. And probably the best way to promote inner harmony is to keep our faith and consciously make efforts to strengthen spiritual habits within ourselves (such as happiness, contentment, honesty, kindness and gratitude), while avoiding ego-based fears and cynicism.

3) Keep yourself well connected with others in your community

It is scientifically well established that healthy social connections dramatically improve health and wellness, at any age. So it makes intuitive sense that such connections would also have the power to minimize problems associated with aging… provided that at least some of your connections are those who inspire and help you to stay optimistic and smiling. Conversely, it also helps to minimize socializing with those who tend to bring you down.

And how can we develop or strengthen healthy social connections? First and foremost, treat yourself kindly, be your own best friend, and start with points #1 and #2 above. When we take care of ourselves through healthy habits such as staying hydrated and optimistic, we naturally attract more social connections of the right kind!

I’m convinced that these 3 simple strategies are valuable for slowing down aging, and implementing these will surely improve happiness and health as well. But will these really work for you? It’s rather straightforward to find out. Try out any of these for a few days, and observe how you feel and look!

And every time you enjoy some raisins or grapes, let that be a gentle reminder of what they teach us about aging and staying young.