From Dr. Jane's Notebook
How Old Are You Really?
Sometimes I work with 30 year olds, who because of their stresses and strains, feel
more like age 50. More often though, I meet people in their 60s, 70s and 80s, who feel
much younger, but trapped in their aging bodies.
The concept of "chronological age" vs. "mental age" is well
established in psychology. The first refers to age in years, the second refers to
emotional and intellectual growth. But to really get at the heart of the matter, you may
also want to consider "How old do you feel?" Several factors come in to play
- Physical Health. Staying healthy has become a real feat. In years past,
the cause of illness may have been somewhat more predictable; but today, health and
wellness have become very complex matters. It is no longer sufficient to wait until middle
age to become concerned with preventive medicine. We owe it to ourselves and our loved
ones to take care of ourselves from the start. Our children need to learn how to stay
healthy, and we need to serve as role models for health-conscious living.
- Mental Health. Mental health is as complex as physical health. The
effects of anxiety and depression are real. When our lives are filled with uncomfortable
circumstances and problems are not being solved, we run the risk of accumulating stress
and strain. It is important to sort things out and get things "off your chest"
on a regular basis so that life does not become a series of "loose ends".
- Occupational Health. With the rate of inflation and changing value of
the dollar, salary can be a harsh way to evaluate your success. Feeling good about your
work, your family responsibilities and your hobbies, provides an important source of
self-pride. Rather than looking at dollar figures, consider how you feel about the quality
of your work, your work ethics, and your personal growth. It is very important to feel
good about the way you spend your time... or this can become a great source of premature
- Relationship Health. We have a great impact on those around us. Humans
are very important to each other, and we are greatly effected by each others' attitudes
and emotions. Our problems are simply not ours alone. When we have a problem, someone else
is usually feeling it too. Over time, relationships become more intricately involved and
it is important to take an active role in directing their course. The truth is that every
"player" has an equal part in our relationships, and we all retain the rights to
change unhealthy ones.
- Remember: You're only as pretty as you feel! This line from an old song
by the Jefferson Airplane, suggests that how we look is often a function of how we feel
about ourselves. Whereas self-praise makes us feel proud, confident and
attractive...self-criticism makes us feel inferior, unsuccessful and ugly. To feel better
about yourself, practice self-encouragement and stick up for yourself!
As we look toward Thanksgiving and consider the things we are thankful for, you may
want to acknowledge your many successes in life and be thankful for all the healthy areas
of your life. My warmest wishes for the holidays...
ęCopyright, 1990, 1995, Jane R. Rosen-Grandon. All rights reserved.
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Last Updated October 24, 1998 by Gary M. Grandon,