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Are You Old or Young?

Are You Old or Young?

The typical American way of handling the polarity of old and young is to fixate on being young forever. But the image of America as the land of eternal youth is grossly at odds with reality.

If we look beyond the false duality of “old” and “young,” what we find is a different reality: The body is a network of messages constantly being transmitted and received. Some of these messages nourish and sustain us, while others lead to disorder and breakdown.

Life-nourishing experiences go far beyond cell biology. The tenderness of a mother watching her toddler walk for the first time feeds the baby’s body (witness how a baby languishes when motherly love is withdrawn, even for a day). To a growing child, the sensitive encouragement of a teacher is as important as a hot lunch. What makes for a straighter spine, vitamin-D milk or self-esteem?

Once we reach adulthood, gaining the wholehearted respect of co-workers wards off heart disease as effectively (and much more naturally) as counting milligrams of cholesterol. Respect makes the heart feel trusting and confident, two ingredients that belong inside any healthy body. The decisions we make in terms of our basic happiness and fulfillment are therefore exactly the ones that determine how we age.

It has dawned on medicine that nurturing is immensely valuable physiologically. If newborns are touched and caressed, their levels of growth hormones increase, and the protective coating of the motor nerves, myelin, becomes thicker. A mother’s loving urge to cuddle her baby translates directly into life-sustaining biochemical reactions.

Babies deprived of loving attention can become emotionally stunted or dysfunctional. The instinct for emotional nourishment proves more powerful than does that for physical nourishment.

Adapted from Ageless Body, Timeless Mind, by Deepak Chopra (Three Rivers Press, 1998).

Read more: Deepak Chopra's Tips, Spirit, , ,

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Deepak Chopra

Acknowledged as one of the world's greatest leaders in the field of mind body medicine, Deepak Chopra, M.D. continues to transform our understanding of the meaning of health. Chopra is known as a prolific author of over 49 books with 12 best sellers on mind-body health, quantum mechanics, spirituality, and peace. A global force in the field of human empowerment, Dr. Chopra's books have been published in more than 35 languages with more than 20 million copies in print.

176 comments

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11:05AM PDT on Jun 2, 2012

Thanks Deepak.

2:46PM PDT on Jun 1, 2012

good article

11:11AM PDT on May 29, 2012

In my early sixties now, and I feel much younger than that...in fact, I keep dancing and exercising and laughing...all important, I think.

12:12PM PDT on May 27, 2012

One day at a time.

10:01AM PDT on May 24, 2012

Lovely truths!
If we all treat each other with respect,dignity and warmt everybody will end up with better health.

6:09AM PDT on May 22, 2012

Hugs to all of you! :):):):)

5:08PM PDT on May 16, 2012

BOTH : )

2:12PM PDT on May 14, 2012

Thanks!!

4:42PM PDT on May 9, 2012

@Zee k- am in my '70's too. Agree- I like where I am at. Youth and aging are indeed beyond cell biology. Some fail to embrace the fact that years do pile up- instead of fighting the outward looks, they should look inward- nurture their spirits, exercise mind and body, adopt a healthy and meaningful lifestyle , and practise attitude of gratitude. My $ worth of thoughts.

2:55AM PDT on May 6, 2012

Thanks for the article.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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