By Jennifer A. Gage PhD, CHt

How old are you? Or more importantly, how do you think a person your age should act? One of the things that I’ve noticed repeatedly among my clients, friends and family members is that many of us have some very self-limiting ideas about how one should feel, think and behave at a certain age.

Many people simply assume that because they’ve reached a certain age that they can expect to have X, Y or Z medical problems. Others assume that they should experience some decrement in their physical or mental abilities. This is very dangerous thinking. It is dangerous because it sends a message to your cells to create these very conditions.

Hundreds of scientific studies have proven that your body actually responds to the words you say and the thoughts you think. This can yield either good or bad results. Consider the placebo effect, for example. Patients who firmly believed that a certain blue pill would make them better actually did get better despite the fact that the doctor had only given them an inert sugar pill. On the flip side, if you keep saying “My mind isn’t what it used to be” or “Now that I’m in my fifties my metabolism has slowed down” your body is not going to make a liar out of you.

As such, it is critically important that you monitor your self-talk. Are your words about old age positive? Do they support health and longevity? “Every day I am getting better and better” or “My mind is sharp and alert” are good statements to be telling yourself on a regular basis if having a vital, long life is your goal.

It is also a good idea to keep a “mental file”, if you will, of older people who are accomplishing great things despite their age. The next time you read about a man in his seventies running a marathon or see an older woman putting the 20 year olds in her aerobics class to shame affirm to yourself. “That’s how I’m going to be at that age!”

Still doubtful your thoughts can make a difference? In their book Successful Aging, authors John W. Rowe, M.D., and Robert L. Kahn, Ph.D., showed that the influence of genetics shrinks proportionately as we get older. Instead, social, mental and physical habits were deemed the critical determinants of physical and mental well-being.

If you would like to update your mental programming about old age you are encouraged to set up an appointment with Dr. Jennifer Gage. She can show you how to use self-hypnosis to reprogram your mind for greater health and longevity.