I was listening to a podcast about a year ago and I heard a concept that for some reason I hadn’t considered before. And it completely struck me. It was an MD who specializes in longevity and he recommended the following exercise:
Calculate your age as it relates to the ages of those that you love.
I mean, I had dabbled with this concept of course, how old would I be when my children graduate, etc? But it mostly stopped there. He recommended taking it further, into your older years, when 5-10 years could be the difference of meeting grandchildren or even great-grandchildren, or spending your years traveling with friends or family members; passing along experience, wisdom, and life lessons to those around you.
If you live to be 90, how old will those you love be? What an impact our elders can have in our lives and what a blessing and gift YOU too can be for your loved ones!
Listen, life is unpredictable and we only have so much that we can control. We know that. Heck, given the current state of affairs, we all REALLY know that! There is SO much we can do to stack the deck in our favor for good health and longevity.
In our office, we have always loved doing some version of a “Wellness Workshop” for patients. I love the interaction and conversations about health these classes generate. We can be empowered in our health, rather than feeling like a helpless victim of circumstance. Because the REAL truth is that our health is more a factor of our habits, choices, and lifestyle than our genetics–which of course, we can’t control.
Experts estimate that 70-90% of our health is our lifestyle and environment vs solely genetic.
“Scientists speculate that for the first seven or eight decades, lifestyle is a stronger determinant of health and life span than genetics. Eating well, not drinking too much alcohol, avoiding tobacco, and staying physically active enable some individuals to attain a healthy old age; genetics then appears to play a progressively important role in keeping individuals healthy as they age into their eighties and beyond. “
So we have a HUGE say in how well we live and age.
For our Wellness Workshops, we use a catchy little acronym to hit on some pillars of good health.
The acronym is DREAMS:
- Diet & Drinking Water: Are you mindful of what’s going in your body and how it makes us feel?
- Respiration/Breathing: Simple breathing patterns to hit “reset” and manage daily stresses.
- Exercise: It doesn’t have to be CrossFit, but just getting in a good walk or hike regularly does wonders.
- Attitude: Mindset, coping skills, and tending to our mental health. I’m coming back to this one!
- Movement: Are you sedentary during the workday? If so, how do you balance that? Is your spine moving as it should? Chiropractic care allows for proper spinal joint movement that prevents wear & tear and facilitates improved communication via the spinal nerves, which go EVERYWHERE!
- Sleep & Social Connection: Sleep is THE place to start. That’s the thing I tell patients to keep an eye on and report back. If that’s not working, healing won’t happen. Social connections have been disrupted in 2020 but humans are creative at finding their people so it’s more important than ever to cultivate connection.
Our culture is very “outside in” when it comes to health and appearance. We are sold expensive skincare, lasers and nip/tucks to minimize the signs of aging. Those things have a place if they resonate with you. But to embrace those and ignore that your true health is an “inside-out” job, will on go so far.
And the fabulous thing is that embracing habits for longevity (do we really want to say anti-aging–I mean what is the alternative to aging, really??) also leads to a better NOW when it comes to health. Feeling better, having more energy, functioning better…the time is now!
There is another side to this conversation. Healthy habits do matter, but what if there is something that matters even more? Let’s explore that…
What are we taught to think about aging?
Our society has an unfriendly attitude toward aging, in my opinion. From the time we are young we are socialized to think about aging in a negative and limiting way. We don’t tend to revere our elders and their wisdom as perhaps other cultures do. We can change that! And we should. It serves us, selfishly, to be VERY mindful of our ATTITUDES about aging…after all, we can hope that we will be an elderly person someday! The Living Healthy List theme this month is Aging with Attitude and I think it is exactly our attitude that determines our aging!
Let me give an example. My husband is older than I am. I can recall, a few years back, complaining about something, some ache or pain. And he said, “well when you get to be 40 those things just happen.” My quick response was “I reject that thought.” And I’m intentional about doing just that!
As I talked to him about this article, I reminded him of that conversation. He was surprised I remembered that and said that he recalled his father saying that to him. Wow. Who of us hasn’t heard something along those lines? Those sayings can be like little viruses that are passed to us, and we pass them along unknowingly. We have beliefs about aging, health, relationships, money, etc that were passed to us and we pass them along, too.
How about those unexamined subconscious tapes we play? That’s where they come from! Mothers, Fathers, Preachers, Teachers have planted ideas that we accepted as true and if we were young enough, we never really examined them for their merit, they just settled into our subconscious mind and made themselves at home there.
What are YOUR ideas, thoughts, concepts about Aging?
So in thinking about aging, what are YOUR ideas, thoughts, concepts? Were they consciously chosen? We can choose to embrace any idea. Ideas exist in the ether and we can choose those we want to bring into our conscious thoughts. We can choose to embrace the idea that we will have the same health problems as our mother or father…or we can choose to embrace the idea that ideal health is our natural state.
YOU get to choose the idea that you latch onto–the idea of aging being negative and painful is out there, and so is the idea that those are the golden years for travel, free time and deep connections. But whatever we choose, when we think about it repeatedly, it becomes a concept. In this case, it becomes our “concept” of aging. And concepts have a way of showing up in the material world, in this case, in our bodies.
I like to visualize being a 98-year-old who walks 3 miles each day. I decided that would be the image I keep when it comes to aging. My grandmother would have a tiny little glass of Mogen David wine before bed, maybe I will do that, too. Occasionally, I even visualize what those years might look like, who might I be walking with? How will I spend my time? What great books will I be able to catch up on?
I tend to gently “call out” my patients who use age as an excuse for whatever physical manifestation they may be having. Because if aging causes X,Y or Z condition, then wouldn’t everyone that age have XYZ? I challenge them and I challenge YOU now to change your concepts about health and aging. It’s worth the time and energy to think about this deeply and create a concept that is positive about the inevitable process of growing wiser, calmer, more experienced…aging.
So our attitude about aging is the key to…
AGING WITH ATTITUDE!
(And maybe throw in a few antioxidants and good nights of sleep for good measure!)
Dr. Stacy is the perfect fit for you if you’re looking for that softer, more nurturing touch. Her approach utilizes a low-force, gentle technique that is safe and effective for you. She will take the time to listen to your concerns and answer your questions tapping into her vast knowledge of the many aspects of wellness.