There’s no denying that we all want to live to 100 and beyond without being so frail or weak that life cannot be enjoyed to its fullest.
And we know of all the stories on the Internet… the healthy 75-year-old who drops dead from cancer, versus the chubby 98-year-old who smokes like a chimney and has one slice of cake a day.
While we can just tell someone to follow the Mediterranean Diet and call it a day, it’s just dodging the question.
What’s REALLY the secret behind the people who reach the big triple-digit milestone?
Is there a way to discover common factors within all of the lucky centenarians, or is it all just dumb luck?
I recently had clinical neuropsychologist Dr. Mario Martinez on my podcast to give me the insights he’s discovered after 30 years of research into healthy longevity.
The video is below, but this episode was too good and it deserves its own article.
The 4 Universal Traits Of Happy, Healthy 100-Year-Olds
So what’s the secret sauce to a longer and healthier life?
As Dr. Martinez has figured out, the answer isn’t the usual culprits of genetics, lifestyle, environment, lifestyle, socioeconomic status, or even family health history.
They can play a part, but they aren’t the big movers:
“Genes have only a 20% impact on your health and longevity. The remaining 80% is linked to what you hold in your consciousness — how you view yourself and the experience of aging.
“… while we do inherit our genetic predispositions for health, illness, and longevity, living a long and healthy life actually hinges on your ability to transcend and defy the limitations our culture teaches us about aging.”
“A long, vibrant life is primarily linked to what I call centenarian consciousness — an outlook you can learn and bring into your life no matter how old you are or what your family genetics happen to be.”
As Dr. Martinez told me on the podcast, “Aging is an interaction between the predisposition of genetics, the belief systems that you have and the environment that you live in and how you teach illnesses to your body.”
So what are these four universal factors of health and longevity in healthy centenarians?
“Growing older is the passing of time; aging is what we do with time based on our cultural beliefs.”
This aspect of consciousness relates entirely to how you perceive aging and growing old as two separate things.
An easier way to think about it would be the principle of attribution.
Let’s say we live in a culture where a Porsche is a car for young people — you’re bombarded with ads of hot women and handsome guys posing with it.
You buy the car at age 30, you get out of the car after driving it and your back aches a bit.
Attribution in this instance would be “I have to do some stretching and I’ll be fine”, since you’re 30 and it’s culturally acceptable to have a Porsche.
But what happens when the same situation occurs except you’re 70 years old?
People will tell you “You’re too old to be acting like a teenager” and your doctor may say “You’re too big for the car and you need anti-inflammatories for your back ache”.
The idea is the following: Healthy centenarians do not assume their abilities will diminish with age, nor do they lose their childlike curiosity for new learning.
It’s not so much about doing reckless things when you’re older, but recognizing the human body is an incredible machine with an otherworldly way of learning independent of your age.
“The present moment is never too late to make commitments.”
This relates to time consciousness and how one perceives the compression and expansion of time.
If you are somebody who is low on time consciousness, you live in the “urgent present” (i.e. time is moving too fast) and you do not perceive yourself as having free time.
This creates high cortisol production and chronic inflammation, both of which fortunately can be reversed.
But similar to the first factor of longevity, healthy centenarians are simply not held back from cultural norms that dictate how they are supposed to prepare and plan for their futures.
In other words, these long-living individuals
It’s the difference between THINKING old (bad) and BEING old (a natural part of life).
The best way to demonstrate this factor is through debunking the common assertion of “As you grow old, time passes by faster”.
What ultimately shrinks time is a lack of novelty, and here’s how…
If you are in line waiting to buy stamps, you’ll be under the impression that time is slowing down because you’re so bored. But if someone later asks you how long you think it took to get through the line, it will be less time than what it actually was.
If you are having fun with something exciting, you’ll think time is passing by so fast. But if someone asks you how long you think that exciting thing took, you’ll say it lasted forever.
Does it make sense yet?
The brain of the centenarian is geared towards a type of learning centered around novelty and curiosity, which creates the perception of elongating time.
“Illnesses are learned; the causes of health are inherited.”
This is the difference between believing in genetic predisposition (inherited causes of health) and believing in genetic sentencing (inevitable illness)
I mentioned before that there is some inevitable deterioration with older age, but it is minor at best.
3-4% of illnesses are indeed genetic predispositions and there’s nothing you can do about them.
But the other 96-97%? They are the result of an interaction between your genetic predispositions, your beliefs, your environment, and how you “teach” illnesses to your body.
This is not the type of thing you can solve with “quick fix” meds as this type of consciousness takes years to fully formulate and live out.
There’s not much else to say here, but Dr. Martinez summarizes the important takeaways in his book The MindBody Code:
“It is not primarily genetic endowment. Rather than inheriting illnesses, we are genetically predisposed to maintaining good health! But notice how these centenarians are not trying to live a long time.
It is how they think and live that accounts for their longevity. I also found that their longevity is not so much about what they eat but how moderate they are with their eating.”
“Forgiveness is a liberating act of self-love”
This is the difference between self-significance (high consciousness) and self-neglect (low consciousness)
It comes down to what I have been saying for years — trust and love in your SELF!
If you have 100 people in your life who love you yet you do not believe you are loved, you won’t experience any of the psychoimmunological benefits of love (oxytocin, endorphins, serotonin, etc.).
But if you have 100 people in your life that don’t care about you yet you think they love you, your belief system will have you experiencing all of the psychoimmunological benefits of love and will overtake reality.
This is not about being naive or living a pollyanna lifestyle… centenarians have a “healthy narcissism” to them because they truly believe people love them, which makes themselves more lovable and keeps emotional vampires at bay.
Because they’re programming themselves with beliefs where they love and trust themselves, it is only naturally for them to extend that positive energy towards other people.
Easy to say yet difficult to do.
Here’s an example to show how this works…
Let’s say your wife of 60 years dies when you are 82 years old, and you don’t want to “die” with her.
To avoid getting sick with unrequited love, you mourn by celebrating their life and reflecting on how happy you were for having known them.
(So if their favorite restaurant was Denny’s on a Saturday night, that would be a great place to celebrate)
Similar to healthy narcissism, we’re seeing the difference between healthy sadness versus morbid sadness.
Between repressed anger versus righteous anger that is expressed in a healthy way and then let go.
Even if you’re just fooling yourself, your biology is going to be all right because it is TRUE TO YOU… and so it ends up being true in reality.
Biocognition Theory: The Future Of Gerontology Research
The four factors I highlighted above stem from a theory of mind, body, and culture coined by Dr. Martinez in 1998 called “biocognition”:
“…how cognition and biology coemerge with their cultural history in a bioinformational field that seeks maximum contextual relevance.
His theory of Biocognitive Science is based on research that demonstrates how thoughts and their biological expression coemerge within a cultural history. Academic science continues to divide mind and body as well as ignore the influence cultural contexts have on the process of health, illness and aging.
For example, cultures that support growing older as a positive development associated with increased wisdom and abilities have higher numbers of centenarians living healthier lives than cultures that view aging as a process of inevitable deterioration.”
So rather than treat mind and body as separate components to be treated in isolation, Dr. Martinez is saying they have to be combined together while also examining how your cultural beliefs can have biological consequences on your health.
We teach our biology to respond to the fabric of the culture we are surrounded by, rather than the world itself (I.e. “I have my world and you have your world),
And to be clear, culture is ANYTHING: Nothing more than collected beliefs about what matters for survival and meaning – aesthetics, wellness, longevity, wealth, etc.
Our lives are shaped by “cultural editors” (i.e. those who shape our lives) in terms of what we see them do and what they tell us to do, and combined with our experiences we have our cultured brains that work for or against us.
Think of it like seeing light: We can’t see every single wavelength of light, but only what’s between ultraviolet light and infra-red light.
Within our biological equipment and the limited range we have in our frame of reference, see see the fabric of culture we’re surrounded by and we project our real/imagined reality on it… thereby dictating what our psychoimmunological response will be.
The late political commentator Andrew Breitbart was partially correct when he said politics is downstream from culture, because it turns out human health and well-being are also downstream from culture too.
I am particularly fond of Dr. Martinez’s biocognition theory because it lines up with my findings that aging does not have to necessarily lead to deterioration if you live a fully optimized lifestyle, nor do we have to be victims of our genetic profiles.
How Is This Different From The Biopsychosocial Model?
If you’ve been around the psychology field before, you’ve probably heard of the biopsychosocial model that attempts to explain how human health is related to a mix of biological, psychological, and socio-economic factors.
The problem is that this model is missing out on anthropology — how we create tribes and leaders.
It’s missing psychoneuroimmunology — how thoughts and emotions affect the nervous system, immune system, and endocrine system.
It’s missing the cultural aspects we just talked about.
But simply adding these three things is not enough because we are complex biocognitive beings. Each field has their own blindness to each other in a way where they won’t take advantage of each other:
“Dr. Martinez argues that current mechanical models of the life sciences study disease by reducing the body to pathological parts. He proposes that the healing process must include the cultural history that contextualizes the mind-body expression of health, and challenges the cultural beliefs that perpetuate genetic helplessness.
Biocognitive theory integrates research in psychoneuroimmunology, neuroscience, and cultural anthropology to conceptualize and address the causes of health, the learning of illness, and the biocultural ingredients of longevity as integral bioinformational fields that cannot be reduced to their cognitive, biological or cultural components.
Dr. Martinez offers a new model of PNI he calls cultural psychoneuroimmunology that takes research from the constraints of the lab to natural settings in cultural contexts.”
As such, it is imperative we adapt a new model that looks at the root causes of diseased aging, rather than the effects of it.
Can We Really Blame Technology For A Lower Quality Of Life?
A major example of our failure to examine what allows people to live to 100 and beyond is the obsessive “blame game” we play with modern-day technology.
I was actually floored when Dr. Martinez told me he does not see smart devices as the reason why so many young adults cannot think critically or discern.
We both agree that a PhD in today’s world is equivalent to a high-school diploma back when I was a teenager with respect to how representative they are of human intelligence.
But Dr. Martinez says the technology is a symptom of the two core philosophies being used to indoctrinate America’s youth: Social constructionism and post-modernism.
The first one effectively says “there’s no such men and women, everything is culture, biology is a construct”.
Read the Wikipedia definition for yourself and see if I’m over-exaggerating:
“Social constructionism is a theory in sociology, social ontology, and communication theory which proposes that certain ideas about physical reality arise from collaborative consensus, instead of pure observation of said reality. The theory centers on the notion that meanings are developed in coordination with others rather than separately by each individual”
The second one is just word games without any establishment of a moral compass.
I mean, even the literal definition is itself a big word game:
“…an intellectual stance or mode of discourse that challenges worldviews associated with Enlightenment rationality dating back to the 17th century. Postmodernism is associated with relativism and a focus on ideology in the maintenance of economic and political power.
Postmodernists are “skeptical of explanations which claim to be valid for all groups, cultures, traditions, or races, and instead focuses on the relative truths of each person”.
It considers “reality” to be a mental construct. Postmodernism rejects the possibility of unmediated reality or objectively-rational knowledge, asserting that all interpretations are contingent on the perspective from which they are made; claims to objective fact are dismissed as naive realism.”
No matter which bastardized perspective of education you take, both of these philosophies do not give you any foundational understanding of who you are or what you want to be.
It also drives the obsession with reaching youth through external means (supplements, creams) instead of looking at your belief system and how your culture impacts it.
As for what is behind these forces, it’s difficult to say.
Some malevolent chaotic force that’s swinging the metaphorical pendulum all the way to darkness so we may experience light one day? A spiritual bankruptcy? An evil cabal purposefully pushing this onto humanity?
I can’t say for sure, but what I can say is that both philosophies are rooted in collectivism… the belief that we are inherently all the same without any individuality.
Because when enough people buy into collectivism, they can be controlled and democracies can be tilted towards totalitarianism.
This is in sharp contrast to a Republic, which leads to the freedom of individuals and the recognition that some cultures are smarter than others.
You think a healthy 100-year-old centenarian gives a fuck about political correctness or has any shame in who they are?
They simply do not care because they know who they are and they are content with who they are… so much so they can even laugh about it.
And that’s about as political as you will ever see me go in an article. 😉
The COVID-19 Pandemic: An Example Of Biocognition In Action
The best way to see all of these centenarian principles in action is through the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdowns that ensued.
Life is inherently cyclical, especially over hundreds of thousands of years.
Major changes such as viral epidemics and political shifts are not novel, but rather an archetype of processes that have happened before us.
What COVID-19 forced us to do was switch from a “forest” consciousness to a “cave” consciousness.
The latter is not unfamiliar to us as we have 150,000 years worth of “cave” consciousness, so the problem is when we go back into “cave” consciousness without understanding what it is or how it works.
This is why so many people felt deprived, depressed, and even went into a perpetual state of panic.
And panic is nothing more than an extreme level of fear that triggers excessive amounts of immune-suppressing cortisol, which ironically makes you even more susceptible to the virus:
“There’s extensive professional literature on the placebo (positive) and nocebo (negative) effects on illnesses, based on where we place the cause of what is happens to our bodies.
There’s a possibility that COVID-19 was already in the US and people not knowing it existed, treated the symptoms (which are similar to other upper respiratory viruses) as a cold or the flu.
Now, because we know COVID-19 is a different virus than the common flu, people are being tested with a stronger nocebo attribution.
Additionally, people with compromised immune systems from other underlying illnesses, make the flu as well as the COVID-19 more lethal.”
So what can you do to keep healthy in a cave? What kind of epigenetic history do we have as a Homo sapien that tells us what we can do in a forest and what we can do in a cave?
For the latter, a very bio-symbolic ritual that helps us feel safe is fire.
Fire was something you set up at the end of the day to cook your meals, provide yourself with a source of light and heat, and keep wild animals away.
The fire triggers the epigenetic memory of safety and connections, which puts you at peace during a situation where your movement is restricted.
And while you are in this cave, you have the golden opportunity to ask yourself what has meaning for you.
What do you need to give up? What do you need to pursue?
A lot of people were undergoing a stressful catastrophe, which meant they either went into meanings or drugs.
For those individuals who chose meaning, many found their old jobs no longer had any meaning.
Which probably explains why so many young people quit their jobs en masse in 2021.
CONCLUSION: Go Forth And Live As Long As You Can!
As much as my discussion with Dr. Mario Martinez was enlightening and I learned a lot of groundbreaking intel, it’s not surprising to see the great Hermetic teachings pop up in the form of our beliefs and how our culture shapes them.
We currently live in a world where aging is seen as something to hate and elders are disposed of as “boomers” who don’t have any wisdom or insight to offer the world.
When we engage with these primitive ways of viewing the world, we hold ourselves back from discovering what our great-grandparents have done right that’s allowed them to live to 100 years in full health and vibrant joy.
If you want to learn more about Dr. Martinez’s clinical research into how cultural and transcendental beliefs affect health and longevity, your first step should be reading his pivotal book The MindBody Code.
This book is his primer into cultural psychoneuroimmunology and his first foray into discovering what allows people to reach the age of 100 without being at death’s door.
He also has another best-selling book called The MindBody Self for a far deeper look into the cultural aspects that tie into mind and body health.
Dr. Martinez also has a YouTube channel with +200 free videos that elucidate many of the concepts shared in this article.
Last but not least, please visit Dr. Martinez’s website if you want to privately work with him in an individual or group setting.
He’s had an insane level of success working with executives, thought leaders, and entire corporations that want to maximize their culture (and improve their health in the process).
Raise Your Vibration To Optimize Your Love Creation!
PS – If you want to see what I’m personally doing to guarantee I live to the young age of 120, join The Fully Optimized Health Private Membership Group.
It’s your greatest opportunity to fully optimize your health and gain total access to me and my network of high-level men and women living their highest and best life.