Norms depict statistical deviations from the mean. Outliers fall into the extreme right tail of the longevity normal curve. When it comes to cultural norms, outliers set beyond-the-pale patterns of behavior that defy life expectancy predictions. What determines the uniqueness of outliers across cultures, is their defiance of mediocrity, sameness, restrictive rules of living, cultural portals of age, health, and longevity.
How longevity outliers live, based on their beliefs about their Private Journey of Self, is best exemplified in healthy centenarians (100 years and older). Individuals who, independent of their cultures, ethnicity, geography, genetics, and socioeconomics, remain healthy and excited throughout their prolonged lives. They are our best teachers of how to cultivate meaning for long and productive lives. And although life style and environments are important, their centenarian consciousness is what appears to be the main constituent to how they defy longevity norms.
For the past 25 years, what I call centenarian consciousness, has been my passionate area of scientific inquiry, ethnographically detailing close to 200 healthy centenarians from the so called Blue Zones and beyond. But rather than focusing on what most studies attempt to understand (diets, genetics, location, socialization), as an outlier neuropsychologist/anthropologist, I looked for their longevity outliership.
To my surprise, I was able to identify four perceptual modes (mindscapes to interpret self-in-the-world), and four biocognitions (exalted emotions and higher cognitions), independent of their cultural horizons: How they perceive time, aging, health, and self-significance. How they emote their perceptions with generosity, gratitude, admiration, and curiosity. Most significant about these unique patterns of biocognitive meaning-making, is their anti-stress and anti-inflammatory psychoneuroimmunological benefits: Necessary components to grow older with the causes of health.
Centenarian Consciousness MindBody Scapes
Time: The present is never too late to make commitments. We have all the time in the world to control quality rather than duration of space.
Aging: Growing older is the passing of time - aging is what we do with time based on the beliefs we assimilate from our cultures.
Health: Illnesses are learned and the causes of health are inherited. Genetics only accounts for 20% of centenarian longevity.
Self-Significance: Inclusive narcissism where the recognition of personal value is owned unapologetically as well as acknowledged and celebrated in others. An invitation to coauthor excellence.
Generosity: Graceful offering without quid pro quo.
Gratitude: Graceful receiving without quid pro quo.
Admiration: Recognizing and celebrating, without envy, laudable behavior in others.
Curiosity: Excitement about discoveries, making ordinary life findings, extraordinary.
The best news I can share about my work, is that centenarian consciousness can be learned at any age, and the usual epigenetic biological markers of aging (DNA methylation, SNPs, glycosylation, and others) can be reversed.
For more comprehensive details read The MindBody Code
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