Fuck Getting Old
I absolutely adored the original Sex and the City series. I found plenty to love about the recent return, but for the love of god, all the references to them being old drove me fucking crazy!!
Your Biology Obeys Your Psychology
Guess what, you’re gonna feel as old as you think you’re gonna feel! That is not some airyfairy shit (btw I used the word shit to imply the misconception that things you cannot back up with double-blind studies are too ‘out there’ and not practical, but lately I’ve been trying to implement not using the word shit when referring to things that are not, in fact, shit, so as not to water down their importance) This is in fact, backed by lots of science.
Some of the myriad health benefits of positive thinking include:
*less distress and pain
*reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and cancer
*better ability to handle stress
I chose to write about this after just having been back in NY to celebrate my father’s 85th birthday. My father is a product of his upbringing, experiences and beliefs as are we all, but as I always recall he was bound tightly to the dogma around the inevitability of the harsh degree of demise the human body must endure as you get older. Ok yes, everyone ages, but HOW we age varies immensely!
I remember him saying whenever we spoke in the last decade or more, many times in relation to different ailments “that’s just part of getting old” or “Marl, this is what happens to you when you get old like it or not.” If like my father, whom I really don’t wish to malign here, who made choices like substituting V8’s for vegetables and Bran Buds for dietary fiber intake, taking up smoking again at 80 (Marlboro Red 100’s no less) [because he promised himself that if he lived to 80, and I do believe he was a bit surprised to have arrived there, that he could smoke again. No judgment I swear but I probably don’t need to tell you that he is not the picture of health now and it’s not just because of his biological age. One of my best friend’s father is 95 and he could run circles around my father. Not long ago he was playing tennis almost daily still and always had close family, community and means. He’s a pretty generally happy and positive guy too! I don’t mean to sound unsympathetic towards my own father, who’s not always had it easy, and I know about addictions and making poor choices, but rather, only to share that what you do and think now, and on the daily, will dictate how you feel long into your future.
Another area in which mindsets can really matter is exercise. A study by Ellen Langer and Alia Crum(2007) on hotel room attendants whose work involved strenuous physical activity, found that two-thirds of participants had the mindset that they were not exercising enough. They felt that their physical labor was “just work” and not “good exercise.” “Once it was pointed out that pushing heavy carts, vacuuming, and lifting heavy mattresses qualified as sufficient exercise, they showed improvements in weight, blood pressure, and body fat over the course of four weeks. The control group had no changes.” A small change in perception measurably impacted their physiological health! Here’s your reminder to give yourself credit for the activities you do day-to-day because it all ‘counts’.
Genetics Load The Gun, Lifestyle Pulls The Trigger
Whether positive or negative, thoughts have the power to alter our genetic code. Cells evolve and learn according to new experiences, and make special proteins that can rewrite genetic code.
According to expert Bruce Lipton, PhD, “It’s well known that our genes are made up of predetermined DNA when we are born. However, the cells in our body are affected by our thoughts, meaning our belief system determines how genes are expressed. Lipton believes that different genes are turned off and on according to the way our brain functions and responds to the world around us. This could mean that a person who has a genetic predisposition toward self-sabotage or addictive behaviors can consciously redirect the way this gene is expressed, if at all.”
If you haven’t heard of Joe Dispenza yet, his work is beyond worth your while! Check out this 30 min video on how to destroy negative thoughts.
While working at The Strategic Coach, I read Dan Sullivan’s book My Plan For Living to 156, (you can get the free ebook from that link but know they will call you, lots, and I say that with love and admiration for the persistence we learned there, about the program, which I highly recommend where apropos btw) and along with the other entrepreneurs in the workshop that day, I did the exercises, including one called the ‘lifetime extender’. Without butchering the tool and concept, I’ll say that several factors are to be taken into consideration whilst looking at the quality of one’s life, especially looking towards your future- the importance of having purpose, having satisfying personal relationships, and having the means to not worry about your comfort, About this idea, Dan says, “Most people’s notion about how long they’re going to live is an oppressive thought. They feel confined by a certain number of years, an age expectation based on family history and averages. But what if you could extend your lifetime? How would adding extra years impact the way you live now? My goal of living to 156 may sound outrageous at the outset. But in reading this book, I think you’ll find that the imagination can have a huge impact on our behavior, and a simple mindset shift can literally change every thought in your brain.”
The quality of our lives is something we create and cultivate, it’s not a birthright. If you think that because you’re a good person, that’s enough to keep you safe from illness, or that because your parents did get sick, that you will too - it’s simply not that simple.
Personally I have every intention of continuing to age for a long-ass time, as long as I feel good, but I don’t intend to ever succumb to the idea that I’m falling apart steadily from now until I die.
Remember this proven fact, that reinforcing the body’s natural vital energy + immune system, and nourishing it with exercise, healthy foods and positive thoughts, is the most effective way to promote a vibrantly healthy lifestyle!
Ways to improve the dialogue between mind and body I use, that you can try are:
**set the tone for your day by saying to yourself or out loud, “I’m grateful for the great day that’s ahead of me”, and think of 3 other things you're grateful for, before exposing yourself to anything else
**do “windshield wipers” in your bed to adjust your spine after sleeping -got this tidbit from my Chiropractor years ago and find it to be very valuable, especially if low back pain plagues you sometimes
**when moving throughout your day, hold yourself up tall, pull in your abdominal muscles, tighten your legs and squeeze those glutes, do curls with your groceries, but use all incidental movement as a chance to feel good in your body. It counts!
**nourish your body with food choices that you know are good for you and tell yourself, “i love and nourish my body and it loves and nourishes me right back”
**when you lay down in bed before sleep, do a quick mental scan of your body, tell each part/limb/organ that you love it, Try something akin to “all my cells are working optimally and I’m grateful for my continuously vibrant health” that’s my mantra. I’ve personally used this technique to cut off a cold or sickness before it got a stronghold. That may sound a bit woowoo for those who don’t know me, but if you do know me, it’s very on-brand!)
On my way home to finish and post this piece, I caught this Jay Shetty podcast episode with Daniel Amen and it’s timeliness was not lost on me as it points out the flaws in the kind of positive thinking that is a blanket of “don’t worry, be happy”. Amen points out the difference between Accurate and Positive thinking and conveys, and this is in my opinion, a most important distinction, that you really believe it can be true. Often the belief necessary to arm yourself in positivity and vital health (and in manifestation!) must be accompanied by action, or put another way, a little bit of healthy worry about your health that spurns better choices, can be positive too. Take actions that will reinforce your (new) beliefs.
I am aware that some people may struggle more than others to find the positive mindsets or the belief behind a positive statement, and sometimes it’s something that needs to be addressed in terms of neurobiology, hormones, food sensitivities and/or toxicity. Those are all subjects I’m going to dive deeper into. Stay tuned for when I share detoxification methods for cleansing your mind, body, spirit and environment next.
If I’ve convinced you to tweak your mindset around your health, I’m elated! Thank you for being open, thank you for letting me live my purpose by sharing information that's potentially useful and important to your wellbeing, and whatever you do....
don’t fucking call me old! :)