Mental & Emotional Health
Dr. Chris’s Anti-Aging Technique
Have you ever felt there are two parts of you? I have.
There is the body part of me that cannot do as much as it used to, and the mind part of me that thinks I am still 25 years old. The body part of me says: “I get tired faster. I cannot go for a four-hour walk as I used to or if I do, my knees will hurt. My back cannot carry heavy weights like it used to. I need to be in bed by midnight and have a good night’s sleep”. The mind part of me says: “I still feel 25 years old! Let’s go for a 4-hour walk! Let’s dance until 4 am!”
Very often those two parts of me get into a fight, my mind pushing my body to be more active than it wants and ignoring its needs, and my body responding with aches and pains.
In my thirty years in private practice as a physician, I have seen similar problems in many of my patients.
The key to solving this problem is to give our mind and our body a voice and to find a compromise that is acceptable to both parties. This is easy to do using two chairs facing each other (one representing the body, the other representing the mind), sitting alternatively in each chair, and speaking out loud. Studies I have done on my patients show that by speaking out loud, the experience is more powerful. This is my anti-aging technique.
Our mind needs to express its desires and our body needs to express its needs. There must be a dialogue between the body and the mind so that both parties are heard, understood, and respected. It is like a marriage. The difference, of course, being that there cannot be a divorce between our body and our mind. They can get angry and frustrated with each other all they want — the reality is that they are stuck together for life. They need to learn how to live happily and in harmony together. And they need to learn how to get older together, just like in any marriage, because as we age, the body’s needs and the mind’s desires change. It is better to learn early in life how to do this before our body gets hurt.
If not, the damage can be significant.
One of my patients pushed her body to carry very heavy grocery bags, followed by several hours of gardening. Her back began to hurt, but she didn’t listen to the pain and continued. In essence, her back was screaming for her to stop, but her mind didn’t listen. The result was that she ended up with a herniated vertebral disc, had to take anti-inflammatory pills, and was bedridden for several days. The anti-inflammatories gave her stomach pain. Being bedridden stressed her out, so she ate more junk food. But eating junk food made her gain weight, which depressed her, and she started spiraling down. Had she listened to her body and stopped gardening as soon as she experienced pain, she might not have herniated her vertebral disc, which would have meant no need for anti-inflammatory drugs, no stomach pain, no need to be bedridden, no weight gain, no depression, etc.
A lot of people are not aware of what their bodies need and how those needs change every year as they get older. They think their minds can make all the decisions. As a result, they push their bodies, and damage them.
So, let’s apply this to you:
If you could create a dialogue between your body and your mind, what would it sound like? What does your body need right now that it isn’t getting? What does your mind need right now that it isn’t getting? How can you make things better?
Chris Gilbert, MD, PhD, is the author, with Eric Haseltine, PhD, of The Listening Cure: Healing Secrets of an Unconventional Doctor (SelectBooks). An Integrative and Holistic Medicine physician, Dr. Gilbert specializes in the combination of Western and Eastern Medicine, and has dedicated her life to treating and curing symptoms and illnesses that other physicians haven’t been able to address.