I have focused most of my professional life on investigating the best evidence I could find for healthy longevity. In my view, healthy centenarians (100 years and older) are the best living examples of what works to sustain healthspan. After many years of searching for patterns that transcend culture, genetics, gender, socioeconomics, location, and life style, four perceptual modes for interpreting the world and four exalted emotions for responding to the world, surfaced in my extensive ethnographic work with centenarians. That was my beginning of mapping centenarian consciousness.
Cententenarians personal histories range from privileged lives to horrendous pasts. What these time outliers have in common, is their capacity to embrace good fortune with humility, and vicissitudes with dignity: powerful anti-aging cultural psychoneuroimmunology.
But rather than prolong your attention with further allures, let me get to their existential essence. The unique four perceptual modes include how they interpret time, aging, health, and self-valuation. Their four most salient emotions in response to their world are gratitude, generosity, curiosity, and admiration.
To the best of my knowledge, the centenarian mapping of their meaning-making I discovered, is a missing link in the longevity research community. While they correctly concentrate on biological markers, life-style, genetic, and epigenetic profiles, the meaning-making of the cohorts they study is sorely missing. I propose that without parameters that include the perceptual and affective interpretations of the world, gerontology in general, and longevity research in particular, are missing the biology of consciousness that strongly affects the process of growing older from molecules to biocognitions.
For the reasons I outlined here and in my books, I define growing older as the passing of time, and aging as the assimilation of cultural portals that define how our biology should respond to the passing of time. To evaluate my model, I constructed a questionnaire, Centenarian Consciousness Index (CCI), that measures the loading of the perceptual and affective factors that I identify as centenarian consciousness. We then correlate the respondents' profiles with their biological markers of aging. Most important, after evaluating the correlations, we can teach biocognitive methods to reverse biological age and incorporate a life of centenarian consciousness.
I will have more to say about my (CCI) assessment instrument, as the research progresses. Also, I will be presenting my model of Mapping Centenarian Consciousness at upcoming international conferences on longevity. The future is bright for the young at heart who want their mindbody to remain young as well.
Such is the way of the Drift...
For more comprehensive details read The MindBody Code