Staying Fit, Healthy and Strong for the Rest of Your LifeTo optimize fitness for life, there are 6 key areas that should be attended to on aconsistent, life-long basis. We can slack our attention for brief periods without muchconsequence, but get back on track quickly and the results are better. On the SeniorFitness.com website these 6 topics are the 6 Critical Keys to Dynamic Senior Living.Each of these categories has a significant bulk of knowledge to be understood to get thebest results, but here I try to break it down into some simple strategies that, if appliedsimplistically without a lot of study, will produce highly rewarding lifetime benefits. These6 topics are listed sequentially in the order found on the Senior Fitness website. Theseare: ANTI-AGING, EXERCISE, NUTRITION, REST/RECOVERY & RELAXATION,SUPPLEMENTS, and THINKING & ATTITUDE.ANTI-AGING- Slowing the processes involved in aging, and delaying theirconsequences. This topic argues that there are practical lifestyle choices that lead tolonger, fuller healthier life. There is a developing anti-aging technology based on scientificinvestigation of the aging processes in humans. We are building an understanding of howthe body ages, what speeds it up and what slows it down. We now understand the agingprocess at the cellular level, and every day this understanding gets better. A growingbody of medical practitioners is specializing in this field of Anti-aging Medicine, and itmakes sense at this time to seek them out as our physicians of choice. You can find thesespecialists listed at these sites: http://www.worldhealth.net/pages/directory/ and http://www.lef.org/Health-Wellness/InnovativeDoctors/. These are search pages where you canfind one near you.Strategy: Make it a primary interest to understand the causes of aging, whatcan be done to slow the process and avoid its greatest hazards; make it ahobby.The primary mechanisms of aging are:OXIDATIVE DAMAGE - damage by ‘free radicals’ at the molecular level. Free radicalsare charged ions or molecules that have the potential to grab or forcibly donate anelectron. They are created in many metabolic interactions in the body, and are producedby immune cells to create inflammation in order to damage invading organisms. Thebody creates numerous antioxidants to control the potential damage these free radicalscan create. Free radicals are defused in multi-step chains of reactions, involving manydifferent antioxidants. Particularly critical are our mitochondria - the energy plants ofeach cell. They are bathed in an environment of free radicals resulting from their ownoperation, and depend on locally generated antioxidants to prevent DNA damage. Themost important of these are glutathione peroxidase and superoxide dismutase. We alsoget a wide variety of antioxidants from food, particularly fruits and vegetables, but alsofrom animal sources. When antioxidant levels decline, due either to reduced endogenousproduction or insufficient dietary intake levels, free radical damage accelerates and healthgenerally declines – aging is faster. Taking vitamin C and E are helpful, but not sufficient.Strategy: Eat a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, preferablyorganic; take a broad-spectrum antioxidant supplement; take supplementsthat increase endogenous antioxidant production. (More in our discussion ofSupplements.)GLYCATION - bonding of sugars to proteins (or fats) that stiffens tissues and destroystheir function. Elevated blood sugar is the enemy of aging well. Chronically elevatedinsulin is highly pro-inflammatory. Glycation is the primary damaging mechanism in
Metabolic Syndrome and Type-2 Diabetes, the cause of which is eating incorrectly.Strategy: Keep blood sugar levels well below 100 mg/dl – shoot for fastingvalues of 84 or less. Eat smaller meals spaced 5-6 hours apart and nosnacks between meals (drink water when you feel hunger); eat nothing afterdinner, go to bed on an empty stomach; get off grain-based and starchyfood "products" which raise blood sugar and insulin; eliminate sugar-baseddrinks and sodas; forget desserts and sweets most of the time. Over-eatingassures a short life! (More in our discussion of Nutrition.)INFLAMMATION - a natural immune system activity used to initiate a repair process forinjury or defense against invading organisms that becomes more prominent, damagingand indiscriminate as we age. The root cause of increasing inflammation with age isgradual rise of Nuclear Factor Kappa-Beta (NFKB), a protein that acts as a switch toturn inflammation on and off in the body. Scientists describe NFkB as a “smoke sensor”that detects dangerous threats like free radicals and infectious agents. In response tothese threats, NFkB “turns on” the genes that produce inflammation. As we age, NFkBexpression in the body increases, provoking widespread chronic inflammation andsetting the stage for diseases ranging from atherosclerosis and diabetes to cancer andAlzheimer’s disease.Strategy: Eat foods that are rich in anti-inflammatory components, therebylowering NFKB and inflammation, such as; omega-3 fatty acids from fish,phytoestrogens, curcumin, garlic, licorice, ginger, rosemary, grapes/redwine and pomegranate. Keep insulin levels low by eating only low glycemicfoods. (More in the discussions of Nutrition and Supplements.)SENESCENCE - human cells stop dividing after about 50 divisions due to loss of ourchromosome’s telomere length; this shortening with every cell division appears to setour maximum lifespan limit at somewhere near 120 years. All of the aging mechanismsmentioned above drive cells toward senescence and shorten their lifespan, so adhering tothe strategies above will help. The only known practice to promote significant increase inlongevity is caloric restriction. The most important single habit to form is eating modestly!But, recent studies have demonstrated that Resveratrol, vitamin D and Quercetin all turnon the same genes associated with longevity that are activated by caloric restriction. VeryImportant – telomeres shorten more rapidly in sedentary bodies than in physically activebodies. Physical activity is critical to longevity.Strategy: Eating; same rules as under Glycation. Supplement withresveratrol (>200 mg/day), quercetin (>1000 daily), take vitamin D (1000-10,000 IU/day) year-round unless you work in the sun regularly. (Have yourblood levels measured – supplement to get into the 60-90 ng/ml range.)Finally, exercise for life – never quit.Summary: Slowing the aging process is accomplished by doing things that inhibit thedamage from these aging mechanisms or slow the rate at which the damage is done. Insome cases there is hope that specific types of damage can actually be reversed, and wecould, in fact, grow younger in some respects.Specific genes and their expression are evident in long-lived individuals, and nutrition,exercise, sleep and supplementation dramatically control the activation of these genes.It is in our power to add as much as 30% (current estimates) to our healthy life span, anddelay the onset of the degenerative illnesses associated with aging. Consider how muchmoney that amounts to if you were able to work only an extra 5 years before retiring. Thisis a venture (an adventure to some of us) worth pursuing! Now let’s lay out the strategiesfor optimal aging.
EXERCISE - The primary driver for reversing age-related functional decline.The body is a demand-driven, adaptable, living system that requires movement andmuscular activity to maintain its function. Look what happens to someone bedridden in ahospital; muscle mass, flexibility, strength, bone density and range of motion all drop likea downed helicopter, in just a matter of days. The unseen effects are equally damaging;every organ reduces function and slows its activity. Lack of movement is devastating tothe human body.Aging is very much like a longer version of being bedridden. Slowly, over decades, thesame decreases in capability occur AND the antidote is the same: MOVEMENT. Startmoving and your ability to move will improve. Walk, run, dance, stretch, lift weights, playgames that require physical motion and the losses due to aging will reverse. A sedentarylifestyle will quickly slow our metabolism, making it easy to get fatter and weaker, whilereducing immune system function yet increasing inflammation with time.Exercise, be it occupational or recreational is highly anti-aging, and if we have beensedentary for much of our life, exercise can rapidly reverse many of the losses of aging.It is one of the fastest ways to “reverse age”. Along with improved ability to move, manyother changes take place. Blood sugar levels will regulate downward and remain moreeven, stored fat will be reduced, insulin sensitivity will improve, blood pressure will comedown and your heart will get stronger. Your vascular system will actually start buildingcollateral arteries around blocked vessels, improving blood flow to your heart and otherorgans. The bodys repair mechanisms speed up, things heal faster, the immune systemgets stronger; you get sick less often and you recover more quickly from virtually everymalady. But lie on the couch, watch TV, drink beer and eat potato chips with all your sparetime and the disabilities of aging will overtake you like a Mongol army.On the website we consider three classifications of exercise as fundamentally important,and encourage engaging in all three for life. These are:Weight Training - to trigger your anabolic, or muscle-building process; muscle youneed to look good and move well, be stronger than you look and dissolve fat 24hours a day.At every age, muscles get stronger and bigger with the right kind of exercise - Every Age!But walking and soup-can exercises will not build us more muscle. To get your body toreverse the normal age-related wasting away of your muscle structure and strength youmust start building it again. This means training with weights at levels which cause musclegrowth - everything else is ineffective.Nearly all the problems related to weight training occur because of insufficient recoverytime or, as it is called in the gym business, overtraining. The primary cause is pushingtoo much weight too often, not allowing for complete muscle system regrowth andneurological and hormonal recovery. A 4-day/week workout schedule will work forsomeone under forty; a 3-day/week schedule can be ok for someone under 50, but takemy word for it, past 60 we are far better off with a week or more between workouts.Now at 71, I have been achieving the best muscle growth I have ever made by picking uppersonal record weights, for one rep, over partial/strong range of motion, holding it for 5seconds before putting it down, and watching with amazement as my strength increasesworkout after workout. And the one criterion for timing the workouts is: If I can’t push, pullor lift more than last time, I didn’t wait long enough for full recovery or the incrementalweight increase is too large. This form of weight training is called Static Contractiontraining, and I will probably never go back to my old 3-day split again. This is so effective
at building old muscle, and there is so little time spent at the gym to accomplish it, and somuch time out of the month feeling energized compare to the old approach, I see no pointin going back. On the website check out Pete Sisco’s – Static Contraction Training for afull write-up on the method.Strategy: Make strength training the heart of your exercise program for therest of your life; consider Static Contraction Training as the most effectivemethod available.Aerobics - to maintain and recover your heart/lung/vascular fitness.When you push your aerobic limits, your cardiovascular/pulmonary system improves; itscalled the training effect. Your body adapts to the measured stress by becoming moreefficient at getting oxygen to the cells, and the cells become more efficient in performingall their various functions. The bottom line is that the perceived effort in climbing a flightof stairs goes down; you dont have to breathe as hard to get to the top, and you recoverfrom being out of breath faster. The best part is that you only need to gradually increaseyour effort to 20 - 25 minutes per session, and only 2-3 sessions a week to achievedramatic, life-changing improvement.Recently, Laboratory studies have show that even greater benefit is produced by IntervalTraining - varying the pace over the duration of the training session by pushing into youranaerobic limit (increase output until your breathing cant keep up) every five minutes orso, then throttle down until you catch your breath and your heart rate comes back to itsbaseline aerobic rate. According to Dr. Al Sears, measured increases in lung capacity andvolume result in laboratory studies. This is exactly what you will experience in most well-run Spinning classes.On the other hand, endurance running is an enormous stress on virtually all the bodysorgans and systems. In many respects, because it raises cortisol levels dramatically,while suppressing testosterone production, it is a formula for rapid aging. In his new bookPACE® - Rediscover Your Native Fitness, Dr. Sears shows how lung capacity actuallydecreases faster in distance runners than in those involved in other forms of exercise. It isa two-edged sword best used in moderation.Strategy: Make aerobic training part of your lifetime fitness program,incorporating interval training, and allowing age-appropriate recovery timebetween sessions. Your body will tell you if you are overtraining – you will stopenjoying it or something will get chronically sore – listen to your body.Yoga, Pilates, Stretching & Balance - Building poise, posture, flexibility, strength,endurance, balance and grace, while connecting with the spirit within - speed andpower arent the whole story.The importance of posture, fluidity of motion, flexibility and balance are undeniable interms of aging gracefully. We believe that the swift and the strong dont have a corner onhappiness, and hope you will take time to find the value in these milder forms of exercise.Dont kid yourself that they are not strenuous, but they build a strength that is moreevident in the grace of movement, more like a dancer than the sinew and bones look ofthe marathoner or the bulging bulk of a power lifter.The ancient Asian Martial Arts forms bring in the moves of combat in which the elementsof speed and precise movement foster improvements in balance and reaction times. Themilder forms such as Tai-Chi are highly suitable to this cause of senior fitness.It is extremely important to incorporate some form of stretching into our exercise toprevent the loss of range of motion as we age. Aging tries to stiffen all your tissues, andstretching several times per week is the proven antidote.
My personal approach is to integrate stretching into my weight training. I stretch themuscle set that I just worked for 30 seconds after each set, including the warmup set. Imaintain a high level of flexibility and avoid injury with this approach. For non-workoutdays I have a daily routine using body-weight poses, doorway stretchesStrategy: Take a Yoga or Pilates course; incorporate the positions andmoves into a gentle daily routine that pulls all muscles to full length and alljoints through full range. Don’t create pain, but hold the stretch long enoughto fully relax the muscles, usually 25-30 seconds.NUTRITION - the Raw Material for Senior Health and Lifetime FitnessFood provides the basic materials that build and sustain the body. In our prime we canseemingly eat anything and digest it, absorb it, assimilate it and utilize it. But as we age,stomach acid and enzyme production decrease, digestion worsens, absorption andassimilation of nutrients becomes less effective. Mechanisms for getting nutrients intoour cells, and waste products out, become less effective. The basic starting point for anyanti-aging effort is to eat all the necessary nutrients and enhance the mechanisms fordigestion, absorption and assimilation.We tend to think of our body as a self-contained object like a chair or, maybe a machine,the same today as we were yesterday. Nothing could be further from the truth. We areconstantly tearing down and rebuilding every organ, cell and DNA molecule we possess.Even our bones are constantly replacing themselves. The material for all this renovationis food. Any deficiency in the needed materials, even short term, and our body willcleverly sacrifice one part to repair another; like scavenging muscle for protein to repairsunburned skin. Any prolonged deficiency will soon cause some aspect of our physiologyto malfunction, causing “dis-ease”.So, our current purpose is to eat so well that we get all the nutrients we need to maximizeour health and life span, and to avoid functional decline and pain as long as possible. Atthe same time we need to avoid or minimize intake of any substances that are toxic to ourlife processes.The primary differences between how we eat today and that of only 150 years ago lieswith Industrial farming, industrial animal production and the food manufacturing industry.In the past we took real produce (fruits, vegetables, nuts, herbs, seeds and grains), realanimals (birds, mammals, sea creatures) and some of their life-giving outputs such aseggs, milk and we prepared them at home and ate very well. Today most of what peopleeat has been processed, refined, adulterated and vastly altered from its natural state.Nutrient levels are far below levels of 150 years ago, while toxin content from pesticides,herbicides and chemical fertilizers are at levels which clearly harm us over a lifetime ofexposure.We have adopted habits of eating things ‘made’ from foods that are not at all foods. Mostreal foods are found around the outer walls of a supermarket, but the bulk of the innerisles are stocked with “food products” that are full of cheap sugars, nutrient-depleted grainflours and oils that are so modified as to be unusable by our cell structures. In the nameof shelf-life and expedience we have taken to eating a vast array of pseudo-foods that aretruly slow poisons, rather that sources of life and capable of nurturing our health.Strategies:Eat real foods; avoid “food products” that come in bags, boxes or, in manycases, cans. Minimize consumption of pastries, cakes, cookies, candy or
anything with sugar in it.Eliminate soft drinks, sugared or diet, from your life – learn to drink water.Eliminate all High Fructose Corn Syrup from your diet.Eat nothing containing hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils. Useonly natural, unrefined oils (extra-virgin olive, coconut, avocado) or butterfor cooking.Eat free-range/grass-fed poultry and meats; eat wild-caught fish and seafood. The omega-3/omega-6 fat ratio is unhealthily changed in all animals fedindustrial feeds.
REST, RECOVERY and RELAXATION - Time for the body to repair andstrengthen itself.SLEEP - Most of the reconstructive work your body does happens while you sleep.Deprive yourself of this vital activity and you will, to some degree, age more rapidly anddecrease your performance in virtually every aspect of your life. Yet, one or the biggestcomplaints of our senior population is that we dont sleep well, we dont feel rested whenwe do and dont have inadequate energy when were awake.We now understand that one night with five hours sleep causes an immediate measurableincrease in blood sugar and baseline insulin levels. String a week of those together andyou begin to slide into metabolic syndrome – mid-body fat increases, blood pressure,total cholesterol and LDL all rise, HDL falls, immune response falls, stress hormonesincrease, insulin baseline climbs. Live like this for a 30 year career and you will almostcertainly earn yourself full-blown, chronic type II Diabetes, and likely heart disease, cancerand dementia along with it. The fastest way to all these metabolic diseases is chronicinsufficient sleep.Humans have a primary and fundamental requirement for 7 – 8 hours undisturbed sleepevery night. You can quickly recover from a one or two day loss, or as anyone with anew baby comes to know, even from several months of modest deprivation, but it takesa toll on your longevity. It degrades the body’s ability to regulate energy production inharmony with the normal circadian cycle of light and dark. A pattern of poor quality orinsufficient sleep speeds up all the aging mechanisms and opens us to early onset of thedegenerative diseases associated with aging.Strategy: Order your life to get enough sleep on a daily basis to feelenergized and avoid fatigue.If you have trouble sleeping, getting to sleep and staying asleep, there are several thingsto consider changing in your behavior patterns.Strategy: First, start winding down the day earlier than before, turn off theTV, cut down the amount of light in your rooms, stop reading anythingstimulating or intense before retiring.Second, use a non-dug sleep aid based on some of these components:valerian root, passionflower, hops, vervain, chamomile, 5-HTP or l-tryptophan, magnesium, calcium. Melatonin works for some (makes meagitated after initial drowsiness). GABA can be useful. Avoid caffeinebeyond late afternoon, do not use alcohol within 3 hours of retiring – when itwears off, arousal follows.Sleep apnea and snoring (including your partner’s) lead to worsening medical issues– see a sleep specialist ASAP. By the time one gets to this stage of sleep deprivation,full blown metabolic syndrome has typically set in. This condition is one that acceleratesphysical degeneration; it self-worsens health rapidly, and must be fixed. The key toresolution is to lose weight, regain a lean body and to strengthen the muscular support forthe base of the tongue. When we pack on lots of body fat, the tongue gets fat as well. Aheavy tongue overwhelms the muscle structure supporting it during sleep – not the onlycause, but a major contributor to the problem.
RECOVERY – A critical thing to understand about aging is that REPAIR TAKES LONGERthan it did when we were young. The number one reason for injury in older athletes istoo much stress without adequate recovery time. We may be able to push/lift the samepoundage as when we were younger, but we better not do it as often. The time betweenworkouts needs to be lengthened or overtraining will lead to some manner of injury, or asense of growing fatigue will lead us to give it up. Whatever physical output you use tokeep in shape and stay strong, reduce the frequency so that muscles, ligaments, tendonsand nerves have time to fully heal before the next hammering. This applies to everythingfrom pumping iron to dancing.Strategy: listen to your body for signals of overrunning the healingprocesses; aches, pains and fatigue are signs that tell you to allow moretime for repair.SUPPLEMENTS – to make up for the losses of agingLook at supplements as tools to make up for the slowing of energy production with aging.This is the key factor; aging is, at the heart of it, a gradual reduction of the rate at whichour cells can produce energy. Every process slows as a result. To counter that, considerthese categories of supplements:● Digestive Supplements – Aging reduces our ability to digest, absorb, assimilateand utilize nutrients from food. The key considerations are lower production ofstomach acid and other digestive enzymes with age, disruption and imbalance ofour gut bacteria population and lack of fiber in todays popularly consumed foods.Address this by taking Betaine HCl and a digestive enzyme complex with allmeals; digestion will be complete and the stomach will empty faster, heartburn/reflux will be resolved in most cases.● Nutritional Supplements – Make up for a low-quality diet and for the fact thatnutrient content of our entire modern food chain is a fraction of foods of 150 yearsago by taking a vitamin-mineral-food extract complex such as Life Extension Mix.It will be hard to find a product that is more complete in this aspect. Also critical issupplementing omega-3 fats – look for products with DHA, EPA, and GLA and tryfor 3-6 grams a day● Disease-Specific Supplements – Aimed at specific areas of disease or functionalweakness, in spite of having to carry warning labels that they don’t cure diseases,there are effective supplements that fix things gone wrong. I’ve been keeping myknees functional for 40 years with various joint formulas. I’m keeping my arteriesfrom reclogging with LEF’s Endothelial Defense and Wellness Resources’ CardioHelper and Leptinal. I keep energy production peaked up with LEF’s MitochondrialEnergy Optimizer and CoQ10. Whatever ails you, there is something out therethat can help. You have to scour the market place and compare products andintelligently evaluate their composition, then use yourself as the lab rat to evaluatetheir effectiveness.● Hormone Maintenance Supplements – Our hormones of youth decline withage; we slowly lose our lust and hustle, desire and ambition. But products aboundthat can slow this process. Hormone levels and balance can be greatly restoredto eliminate many of the physical and emotional impacts of this aspect of aging.
These may work well into our 80s, and when they stop, there is bio-identicalhormone replacement. I personally have spent more energy on understandingthis process in men, and treating my own changes as they occur, but womenhave a good range of products available as well. For men, the key ingredientsare Chrysin, Muira puama, Maca, Nettle, Ginger, Tribulus , Horny goat weed andDHEA. DHEA is better assimilated using a transdermal crème; a product I use isTestroMax for Men from Life-flo.● Sports/bodybuilding Supplements – Most of these work on enhancementof nitric oxide production, super-loading of creatine and other ATP-boostingelements or increased testosterone production. Post-workout supplements tryto put back what was drained out during a workout to promote rapid repair andmuscle regeneration and restore energy levels. I specifically like Force Factor andHypershock (by Myogenix) to get me ramped up for a workout and Aftershock orMyotein to start the recovery afterward. There are dozens of similar products onthe market; a terrific source for information on this whole subject of bodybuilding iswww.bodybuilding.com.Strategy: Make use of supplements to extend our body’s functional life andfitness. Count on nutrients for real health; they build and heal us from thecellular level up. Drugs mostly trick the body and there are normally seriousside effects to their long-term use.My favorite publication for learning the latest science related to aging, health andsupplements is Life Extension Magazine. This is high quality publication with crediblereporting and well documented articles. The life Extension Foundation funds numerousstudies around the world in the science of this field, reviews virtually every study of meritaround the world and reports on all aspects of accumulated knowledge. Then if thescience warrants it, they create a supplement product to put that knowledge to work. Wecan offer our readers a free 1-year membership to Life Extension Foundation, includingthe monthly magazine. This is an awesome opportunity to stay current on practicalstrategies for optimizing your personal health and aging process. Just click the link: https://mycart.lef.org/Cart.aspx?item=MEMBFREE12M&source=ED. If you get a dialog boxasking for a mail.lef.org user name and password, just copy & paste the link in the URLbar in Internet Explorer and it should take you to the proper shopping cart page to sign up.Firefox browsers put up the unwanted dialog box, which you can’t get past. Once on thecart page, select/check the free membership box and then Checkout. Fill in the form andyou’re a member.THINKING and ATTITUDE - One person’s junk is another’s treasure; it’s alla matter of thinking and attitude. Mental fitness leads to physical health.Are you a glass half-full person or a glass half-empty person? Is this life mostlypleasurable and worth living or painful and largely a drag. Reality is personal; everythingis experienced through a sort of internal filter system that our genetics and experiencesform over time. Everything we experience is really an interpretation of sensory inputs; thesignals bombard us through our eyes, skin, ears, nose and mouth, and millions of sensoryneurons in our gut, lungs, muscles and joints. We make sense out of it as we can, andcall it reality. When we remember something from the past or imagine something in thefuture, we use the same mental pathways to re-experience or pre-experience events or
situations, and we assign emotional meanings to those experiences as they are in ourmind.The critical thing to understand is that THOUGHT or THINKING is made up of the samestuff as our sensory inputs. In other words, thinking is a process of internally creating orre-creating the same words, sounds, images and feelings that we use to sense the worldaround us. But the interpretation of those experiences is something we can change at will,if we know how.We dont get a users manual for the brain, we just assume that we are using it correctlyas we grow up. As we mature, we become aware that some people seem to be runningtheir brains better than others. We develop strategies or behaviors for responding to theworld around us. And we get locked into behaviors that sometimes are not serving us wellat all.Do you have ways of dealing with the world that you would change if you could? Wouldyou like to be excited about activities you now avoid, or motivated to change patterns ofbehavior that no longer serve your greater good?My purpose is to present tools available to change our thinking, our feelings and ourattitudes for the better. I was 38 years old when I bought a copy of “Unlimited Power” byAnthony Robbins, and when I finished the book I was a vastly more optimistic person thanwhen I opened it. I was also vastly more equipped to deal with the world and its peoplearound me. I had never understood that I could change my thinking, feelings and attitudesabout anything in a heartbeat. I thought I was stuck with my feelings and emotions thatseemed to beat me up on a regular basis, that I was stuck with a sadly disappointingME. The book introduced me to a basket of tools for personal change – change thatreally happened when I decided it should. No longer a matter of wishing to be different, Ibecame able to alter any aspect of my being pretty much on command.Neuro-linguistic Programming or NLPNLP began as a study of successful strategies for psychotherapy, and focused on threevery effective therapists who could bring about rapid change and healing in patients, butseemingly had no idea of how they accomplished that outcome. In studying the methodsof these therapists, Richard Bandler and John Grinder began to see common languagepatterns used by them to get inside their patient’s cognitive processes and make changefor the better. That led to exploring the nature of cognitive or thought processes to answerthe question - what is the nature of thought, both conscious and unconscious?They rapidly came to understand that thought is a construct of our sensory inputs andthat language is a primary component of our experience. The words we use internally torepresent a situation or circumstance elicit our behavior in that event. In fact, words areabstract symbols we use to represent very large patterns of images, sounds, sensations- both touch and internal, smells and tastes and the gut feelings that make up muchof what we experience as emotions. An example of that would be to imagine that youare swimming in the warm Australian waters over a beautiful reef, and you hear theword "Shark!” By now you have already undergone a cascade of images, sounds andemotions just from reading this line - you may be nearly unaware of it or you may havefelt a huge shudder of dread, depending on your experience. The point is that it wascompletely internal - you were not there in reality - yet a single word elicited a vast patternof internal experience and perhaps strong emotion.As they shared this understanding of language and thought with others of similar interests,methods of therapy began unfolding rapidly. NLP began expanding in many directions,but all related to the concrete understanding of how the brain catalogs and interprets
our sensory experience. Many Psychiatrist and Psychologists became practitioners ofthese developing therapeutic strategies and certification programs developed to trainpractitioners. The NLP community produced a vast catalog of rapid phobia cures, mental/visual patterns to effect rapid emotional change, word/language patterns to reframe anexperience to make it less powerful, strategies to create rapport with others very quicklyand ever so much more. There are even techniques for change based on timelines - themethods we humans use to distinguish events of the past from those of the present orimagined events in the future.Neuro-linguistic Programming or NLP is a powerful collection of tools to rapidly andpermanently change the way our brain works, if we want such a change. If you haveever wished that with a wave of your hand you could change your experience tobetter serve you, you should embark on the NLP journey - it will change your life inany way you choose. Start with these web links: www.purenlp.com www.nlp.comwww.nlpcoaching.com www.nlpco.com www.nlptoolbox.comHypnosis for Change - Ancient and mysterious; a powerful modern tool for change.Hypnosis is another way of making nearly instant changes in behaviors, thinking and theway activities and circumstances make you feel. A trusted, skilled hypnotherapist canassist you in rapid change of behaviors you wish to alter. There is no need to fear thisapproach, when it works incredibly fast and changes are lasting.An interesting aspect of this change stuff is that one targeted change in a behavior patternoften leads to a cascade of new attitudes and extension of interests and activities. Sochange what you wish, but be listening to your loved ones to see if they still love the newyou. You may need some fine adjustments along the way.There are also many resources for learning Self-hypnosis, with which the same changestrategies can be self-induced. You just have to remember that you are relying on anamateur. We found Hypnosis Network to be a great source of information and training forself hypnosis and hypnotherapy. Find them at www.hypnosisnetwork.com/?kbid=1624.Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) - Rapid emotional and physicalhealing by melding acupressure meridian stimulation with linguisticsuggestionAnother breakthrough technology - the Emotional Freedom Technique or EFT - combinesthe use of the acupressure meridian points with verbal elements of NLP to effectremarkable emotional transformations and healing as well as rapid modification of thinkingand behavior patterns. This technique is the simples of all, and it is effective even withzero skill. You just memorize the sequence and location of the meridians, make up astatement of the positive outcome you want and tap the meridians in sequence whilerepeating the statement. Yes, a practitioner can do this for us and probably get to the rootof our issues more skillfully than we can as armatures, but once we own and understandthis tool, we can quickly apply it to any thing we wish to change in ourselves. The homepage for Gary Craig, the developer of EFT, is: www.emofree.com. You might go there forsome of the history and the original training DVDs. Gary has retired – we wore him out Isuppose – but has handed the reins to the folks at www.eftuniverse.com where the EFTcommunity will continue to provide wisdom on the practice and certification programs forpractitioners.Strategy: Use one or all of these techniques to change whatever you wishto change in yourself, to take your life in whatever direction you wish it togo. We can seldom change others to fit our needs; we can always changeourselves to better handle reality.
The Bottom LineGet used to the idea that life in this body is finite – we all get to die. In the mean time weare on this earth to be a part of each other’s journey through whatever time we can share.Living is a GOOD enterprise, a gift we should make the most of. Pay attention to whatbuilds up this body and makes it healthy, fit and strong, and walk away from that whichtears it down.Order you life so that you are doing what is interesting to you, but find interests which areconstructive. Work to make life better for those around you, act with integrity and honesty,nurture the relationships you form, especially those with people you love. Surroundyourself with people you like and respect, and distance yourself from liars and con-artistsand the jerks that can’t get along with most others. Learn to manage stress by havinga sense of being in control of your circumstances – if you live as if you had completecontrol, whether true or not, you will have far less stress, and likely live longer and betteras a result.The strategies presented above are all strategies for taking charge and responsibility ofour being and our outcomes. They all, if implemented, lead to a richer sense of havinglived well up to now, with more of life’s riches to come. When we finally come to thatunavoidable winding down to physical failure and death, I believe there will be a senseof gratitude and thanks that pervades our last days for a life well lived. That’s been myexperience.Good Living - Frank