You don’t have to be a psychologist to understand human behavior. In fact, you’re surrounded by oases of wisdom. You only have to think of the things your grandmother says.
An old Spanish proverb says that “More knows the devil for being old than for being the devil”. It’s certainly true that wisdom isn’t only a matter of intelligence, skill, or academic study. In fact, you acquire a large part of your learning from your lived experiences.
Your grandmother could probably speak at length about this. The life experience of our elders leads them to be aware of many things we’d do well to remember from time to time.
Appearances can be deceptive
This saying could lead you to be mistrusting. However, there are two elements to it. Appearances can be deceptive in both a good and a bad way. Either way, you should never judge a book by its cover.
This can be just as relevant in the area of mental health. You shouldn’t assume that someone’s doing okay just by the way they seem to be. Human suffering can’t be seen with the naked eye. In fact, even though a person might smile and seem cheerful, they could be suffering deeply on the inside. They may seem calm on the surface but feel many emotions.
Take your time
Rushing around doesn’t make you any more skillful or precise. Furthermore, you spend a lot of time thinking about what you have to do later, without paying any attention to what you’re doing at the moment. While you’re having breakfast, you’re thinking about lunch, when you’re working, you’re thinking about when you finish for the day. In fact, sometimes, even when you have finished for the day, you go back to thinking about work.
It’s wise to keep this in mind when considering your emotional well-being. Doing things slowly and staying focused helps you feel better.
Eating, taking a shower, and going for a walk become completely new experiences when you give them the full attention they deserve.
In psychology, we use mindfulness to achieve this. It means becoming aware of the sensations and experiences of the here and now. This slows you down, allows you to assess the situation, and to stay calm in times of stress.
Don’t worry about what others think
Luis de Góngora, the Spanish poet, criticized the luxury and ostentation of his time in the poem “Ándeme yo caliente y ríase la gente” (“As long as I’m warm, let the people laugh”). What he actually meant was, who cares what people think? Cervantes also referenced de Góngora’s phrase in his famous Don Quixote.
This teaching has been passed down from generation to generation. In fact, from time to time, you should take a moment and ask yourself if you’re living your life by your own rules or those of others.
How many times do you stop yourself from saying something just because of what others might think? How much energy do you waste worrying about other people’s opinions?
It’s worth asking yourself these questions from time to time. Then you can work out whether you decide to stay silent or, do as you please and “let the people laugh”.
Better be safe than sorry
Taking care of your physical health when you’re well will help you stay that way. If you then become unwell, your previous good habits won’t allow the illness to affect you as much.
This is the same with mental health. Cultivating your emotional well-being won’t stop you from feeling sadness, discomfort, frustration, or anxiety. However, it’ll stop you from becoming too caught up in them.
Taking care of yourself means doing a little for yourself every day. Making sure that you eat properly, get enough exercise, and staying in touch with those you love. In other words, putting yourself first.
The Wisdom of the Elderly
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