By Pat Farmer
The Baltimore Sun.
Have you seen Christiane Northrop, M.D., presenting her “Glorious Women Never Age!” on Public Television? This is a good topic for Women’s History Month, but the ideas apply to men as well. I hope I do her presentation justice.
From her website, http://www.drnorthrup.com, we learn that Dr. Northrup is a board-certified OB/GYN physician who practiced for 25 years. Now she is internationally known as a writer and speaker. She knows that our inner wisdom is the key to vibrant health. She said, “When we find the connection between our thoughts, beliefs, physical health, and life circumstances, we find that we are in the driver’s seat of our lives and can make profound changes. Nothing is more exhilarating or empowering.”
According to Dr. Northrup, how we are going to age is up to us. People think that aging is all about our genes. She pointed out that there was a study of a group of men in a monastery who had to act as teenagers, while the control group acted as they usually did. At the end of the study, the “monastery men” looked ten years younger. So, there are factors, such as behavior, which affect aging.
Dr. Northrup recommends that we need to reframe the term “aging,” which we think of as deterioration and decline, words that have a negative impact on our biology. It is all in how we look at and approach aging. One surprising statistic she offered is that people over age 90 are the fastest growing population, increasing 75,000 per year.
Citing the Ohio Longitudinal Study of Aging and Retirement, which showed that longevity increased by positive self-perceptions of aging, Dr. Northrup says that belief is more powerful than genes. She recommends that we stop participating in ageism, the stereotyping and discriminating against individuals or groups on the basis of their age.” We need to watch our language.