Death is not as terrifying as old age
Throughout ages, people dreamed about being immortal and searched for the legendary elixir of youth. Many scientists in the world look for ways to extend the human life.
There are many who believe that we should not try to resist the aging process. They say that it is as pointless as trying to revive an old dying tree or renovate an old wooden house whose walls are falling apart. According to this view, all we can do is to influence the process of aging in a limited way by reducing the symptoms and preventing extreme suffering as the nature takes its course.
Then, why does the body age? One of the reasons is our own attitude that conditions the body to speed up the process. We fear illness, immobility, and helplessness that come with the old age. Our aging process begins when we start dwelling on such thoughts and fears.
The way our aging process progresses greatly depends on our psychological attitude towards aging and death.
Unlike all other living organisms, we are able to influence all life processes in our body by using our mind. There are countless examples of people who became ill with a disease as a result of being preoccupied with fearful thoughts about it. There are just as many examples of individuals who conquered terminal diseases by maintaining a positive mental attitude.
Our thoughts have the power to make us healthy or ill; they can also make us younger or older.
Aging is the matter of attitude
When we start reflecting on our age, we usually think in terms of different milestones and stages of life: getting married, bringing up children, menopause for women, retirement, and so on. When we are strongly convinced that there is nothing we can do about the natural progression of the aging process, we program ourselves for premature aging. As soon as we notice our first wrinkles, the thinning of our hair, or pain in our joints, we pronounce the diagnosis: “I am getting old.” We think that it creates the necessity to become less active, conserve energy, and lead a restful life. It does not occur to us that we brought these signs of aging on ourselves by incorrect diet, laziness, and lack of youthful enthusiasm for life. We shorten our life ourselves by incorrectly using our psychological powers. Our aging process gets under way because we subconsciously anticipate it.
The crucial period is the age between 40 and 50. During that period, we should pay particular attention to our hygiene and the condition of our skin, hair, hands, feet, and nails, to the flexibility and strength of our joints and muscles and to the overall shape of our body. Easy movements, straight posture, flexibility, flat abdomen, clear and bright eyes are the physical qualities of people who are not affected by aging. It is a mistake, especially for women, to avoid their image in the mirror as soon as they notice the first wrinkles on their face or fatty folds on their skin. Even though they try not to look in the mirror, they are subconsciously troubled by questions such as: “Is this really me? Has life worn me out so much? Do I look awful? Am I already getting old?”
Such concerns take away our enthusiasm for life and our interest in the way we look. When a woman stops admiring her own body and even accepting the way it looks, she allows the aging process to set in.
The mechanism of aging
The mechanism of aging is not completely known. There are several theories. One of them (hormonal theory) proposes that aging results from imbalance between old and new cells. This is caused by two related factors: our hormones “age” and the contact between the hormones and our cells becomes weak. Hormones are the means our brain uses to communicate with our cells.
Each cell has receptors that receive the hormonal signals. When the receptors do not react to hormones anymore, the cell undergoes aging and eventually dies. To use a simplistic analogy, our body is like a TV set, our brain like a remote control able to turn it on or off and switch channels, hormones are like the remote control’s batteries and finally the receptors are like the contacts connecting the batteries with the remote control.
When the batteries get old, they still work for a while but cause oxidation on the contacts’ surfaces. Even though there is nothing wrong with the TV set or the remote control, the system starts working erratically and eventually quits working at all. If the batteries are replaced and the contacts cleaned, everything starts working again. Something similar takes place in our body but the process is more complicated. This, however, is only one of the theories. Our body works according to a blueprint provided by nature; nevertheless the number of years we live on this planet depends largely on our daily attitude towards our body’s maintenance.