Have you ever wondered why we just accept that our bodies break down as we age?
That with every passing year we’re just falling apart?
Where did this belief come from? And is it fact or fiction?
At this point, you may be thinking that of course your body falls apart as you get older. After all, everything old needs repairs.
Your car needs to have the oil changed and parts repaired at regular intervals. Old plumbing and wiring have to be replaced and updated. Even your old iPhone slows down (although that might have nothing to do with age).
So why wouldn’t you experience the same deterioration in your body?
Well, there’s just one catch here…
YOU are not a machine.
You Are An Organism.
This is a very important distinction, and one that unfortunately goes unmade all. the. time.
But the reality is, your body is a living process. It’s changing constantly — moment by moment.
Sensory cells in your body absorb information about the environment that signals the brain to make changes in hormone production, heart rate, respiration, digestion, balance, coordination and a number of other subconscious processes.
Bruce Lipton, a cellular biologist and author of The Biology of Belief, discovered in his research that environment is critical to cellular development.
It’s so important that the environment can alter cellular expression. Changing the environment in a petri dish actually determines the type of cell that will grow.
And cells are remarkably similar to your body in how they “perceive” their environment. They do so through the membrane which has sensory powers analogous with your own skin.
The key here, though, is perception.
What If Aging Is All In Your Head?
While it’s true that your environment influences your body, it’s actually only the stuff you notice — consciously or subconsciously — that affects you.
Back in 1981, a researcher by the name of Ellen Langer performed a small study where she had eight senior citizens confined inside a converted monastery that had been decked out to look like the year 1959.
The participants were instructed to speak and act as though it were 22 years earlier. And the results were remarkable.
All participants “reversed” in age. Their biometrics improved with increased flexibility, dexterity and even better sight.
While the study was never officially published, a British television show replicated the experiment in 2010 using aging celebrities as the test subjects. They demonstrated the same remarkable anti-aging results.
In both of these cases, the participants embodied their younger selves — they perceived themselves as younger not just in thought, but through all their senses.
And it should be noted that their improvements were far superior to a previous group who had been to the monastery and told only to reminisce about the past — not to inhabit it in mind and body.
So, if aging is just a mindset and we’re not doomed to a slow and painful physical decline until we crumble into our final resting place, why do so many of us hurt as we get older?
I have three answers for you…
Three Reasons You Hurt More As You Age
The first is that you have been conditioned to ignore your body’s messages that things are out of balance until it actually is too late and damage has been done — a.k.a. Injury.
Recovering from an injury is much more difficult than preventing one in the first place.
But even when you have had no significant accident or injury, as in the case of many of my clients, you are indoctrinated from a very young age that getting older means losing function. Getting older means breaking down and becoming irrelevant. Getting older means limitations.
With all of these — and many more — subconscious beliefs playing in your head, you will be sure to find supportive evidence. Because science increasingly shows that it’s not reality that forms beliefs, but rather your reality is a projection of what you already believe.
And finally, remember how I said that perception is everything? Well, the above falls into that category.
But in addition to that, the medical industry is obsessed with pain.
And rating pain.
On a one to ten scale.
How BAD is your pain, asks your doctor.
What does that make you perceive? A couple of things.
- Your pain.
- Something is wrong.
I mean, pain inherently means something is wrong.
But your experience of pain can also be altered by what you expect. Participants in this study were told that either immersing their hand in cold water would make an electric shock more or less painful.
Of course, those who were told that the cold water would lessen the pain actually reported feeling less pain.
So your doctor implying that pain is “bad,” inherently heightens the intensity, which in turn increases your brain’s interpretation that something is wrong in your body. This is BAD pain. Not good pain.
All this constant focus on pain with a negative overtone can actually make you more prone to pain. The more pain you experience, the more sensitive your nervous system seems to get to the sensation.
So, in sum:
- We ignore our bodies until we’ve got a five alarm fire going on.
- We believe that we are supposed to hurt as we get older.
- We focus our attention on perceiving pain and telling ourselves it’s bad.
This is why we hurt!!!
What a cluster, am I right?
Okay, so now, how do we pain-proof our bodies?
What To Do: How to Pain-Proof Your Body
The truth is, our medical industry basically has two approaches: chemical (drugs) or mechanical (physical therapy, surgery).
Both of these are useful options for the right cases.
But if your pain is not operable, PT didn’t help and you don’t want to pop pain pills until the day you die, how can we help you stay active and healthy for as long as you’re on this planet?
The answer is simple: help your body to perceive itself differently.
Broaden the sensory input.
Change the way your body is relating to itself and to the environment.
These practices, as I said, are deceptively simple. But their impact is profound.
And this is the basis of what I teach in Posture Rehab.
Enrollment is currently closed while the program undergoes an update, but you can click here to get notified as soon as we open the doors again.