Defy aging with mental ABC’s

Some people feel old at 80, others at 40, and others at 50.
There was only one time in my whole life when I felt “old.” That was on my 25th birthday.
How did I ever go from being the youngest person in the class–too young to hear the other girls’ secrets, too young to date, too young to drive–to being a quarter-of-a-century old?
I was astonished at the revelation.
But at 26, I got on with the rest of my life and I’ve been too busy ever since to worry about being “old.”
But I want to age well. That’s why I’m so interested in Michael Brickey’s book, “Defy Aging.”
Brickey, who looked at thousands of research articles and hundreds of books in the field of health and longevity, has written a book that author Bernie Siegel calls “an excellent road map and tool kit to assist you in creating a longer, healthier, more joyful life.”
Brickey says everyone should be ready to live decades longer than their parents and grandparents. From the birth of Christ to the year 1900, we gained three days a year in life expectancy.
Since 1900, we have gained an average of 110 days a year. In the last century, life expectancy in the United States increased 62 percent.
“For some people, these additional decades will be characterized by disability, depression, and pain,” writes Brickey. “For others, it will be a purposeful time of vitality and continuous renewal.
“Beliefs, attitudes, and lifestyle make the difference.”
Brickey has come up with four attitudes, 36 beliefs, and four coping skills that are the key to vital longevity, which he calls the “mental ABC’s” of healthy and happy longevity.
Of course, attitudes are very important if you want to age well. Optimism and cheerfulness, gratitude, dealing with things with flexibility, and embracing change will help you age well.
It’s also very important to be resilient. It’s hard to get old. There’s so much loss. Everyone loses friends and family members; some lose mobility and have health problems.
Interestingly, centenarians, as a whole, have good coping skills and don’t dwell on losses, disappointments, or resentments.
But most important of all is your beliefs about aging. Our minds and bodies try very hard to fulfill our beliefs and expectations.
Of course, just believing something doesn’t make it happen, but our beliefs set up self-fulfilling prophecies and behaviours.
So what are the 36 beliefs that researchers say make a difference? Here are a few examples:
I listen to my body and am proactive to foster good health.
I always have a mission, whatever my age.
I cultivate my sense of humour. I cultivate fond memories and let bad memories wither.
I am a lifelong learner.
Every age has its benefits. I don’t need many material things to make me happy and successful.
I am a trailblazer, who leaves behind conventional thinking about longevity.
That last one is the most important belief of all. Don’t listen to the nay-sayers and your ageist friends.
Remember, if you want to live long and healthy, you have to believe in yourself.
So why not follow the mental ABC’s to happy, healthy longevity.
Marie Snider is an award-winning health writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at thisside60@cox.net

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