by Josef DellaGrotte, PHD, LMHC, CFP-physio
Just as we seem interested in getting to know how to save the forests and the trees and how the “big oaks” and others survived while others died, how about that other big complementary but missing piece: our aging bodies and minds?
We read in the annals of phenology how some trees…have the life sucked out of them by invasive bugs. Is this happening to us–our bodies–through a different process? Is the association between aging and body-mind degeneration simply natural, inevitable, irreversible? Or is there another path available, though much less traveled by?
Check out the statistics (Google, etc.), and we see that the highest rates of orthopedic and pain disorders, the greatest prosthetic replacement of body parts (people are increasingly getting these earlier in age) is in the United States followed by the major Western countries. Not only on the physical side but also the level of related mental disorders…the highest rates of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and the variety of dementias follow a similar pattern (surprisingly, very little in most of the “underdeveloped” countries).
We might begin to consider an expansion of conscious concern, not only about the land, air and environment but about our body condition. Even the health of the brain is most directly fed by the activities of the body, above all, good functional everyday exercising. Both ecologies–the earth and the body-mind–are part of the warp and woof of essential needs (perhaps the next step beyond what the famous psychologist Abraham Maslow identified in humans as a “hierarchy of needs”). The means to cultivate, develop and improve both body-mind and the environment are now becoming known and available. The biggest missing piece is interest and motivation, where to begin and how.