We live in a highly medicalized culture where we are encouraged to measure our blood pressure, our blood sugar, our heart rates and everything else, so we are constantly on the look out for 'what's going wrong' with my body. And Big Pharma spends huge advertising dollars on promoting the idea of taking pills, powders and potions for every small ailment for all the things we've found wrong with our bodies. They have a wonderful way of taking ordinary body matters and turning them into diseases. And when we become hypervigilent about our so-called 'symptoms' it's easy to make them worse because there is so much fear-mongering spread about any lump or bump we find, or anything else. When I was interviewing 100-year old Erwin, I was struck with how he never went to doctors until he was 80, and how since he stepped into their offices they now have him obsessively measuring his blood pressure twice a day even though his blood pressure is just fine.
We live in a culture where we strongly believe that as we age everything, like our health, goes downhill. Well our beliefs are mighty powerful in creating the biology to match our beliefs. So powerful that we can think ourselves well (it's called a placebo) or think ourselves ill (it's called a nocebo).
We live in a culture that has us so fearful of our diet and what we eat. Guess what all that stressing about what we eat does to our biology. Centenarians didn't grow up fearful of their diets.
And our culture gets under our skin in other longevity-eroding ways too. For example, the fashion culture would have us believe that if we don't fit into their self-created little 'one-shape, one size' boxes, there is something wrong with us (not their standards). And thinking there is something wrong with us is to put our biology into chronic fear mode which robs us of health and longevity. But two trees are alike, no two rivers and no two mountains...and for that body matter, no two humans either. I love this 2 minute clip from Katcha Sanderson - on how she thinks about body in ways that promote self-acceptance:
The real truth is there are as many shapes and sizes as there are bodies, even though looking at glossy magazines might make you feel as if this isn't true.
What is the natural shape of your body? AND how do you make friends with it and trigger healthful biology? Here's what we need to remember - a shape is just a shape until we add judgement to it. We don't look at letters of the alphabet and think an A is better than a Y.
We are deserving of happiness and feeling fabulous no matter our body shape and size. When it comes to body matters, our narrow cultural idea does not do our wonderful diversity of size and shape justice. Nowhere in any holy text that I've ever seen have I found any specific commandments that go anything like: "Though shalt have x, y and z measurements and weight x in order to be accepted into the Kingdom of Worthiness." We would do well to remember this.
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