AgeProof: The Science Of Us

 
 

In this first blog on AgeProof.Life I want to talk about teams.  This week we’ll talk about some of the science behind teams, next two months about picking teams. No, this isn’t a sports article about the CAVs and the Indians, thou it could be. It is about your finance team and your health team.  You see I just co-authored a book with NBC’s Today finance editor Jean Chatzky—newly published last week—that gives you a recipe for achieving the two most important things most need and want as we get older: not running out of money and not breaking a hip.  

You might be skeptical: “What does a 401(k) have to do with trans fats? What does homeowner’s insurance have to do with a beautiful EKG? And, for the love of your preferred diety, what does credit-card debt have to do with a herniated disk? 

So let me go back to the beginning of this idea and tell you how Jean and I joined together for a one‑of‑a‑kind look at how you can make your health and wealth work together.

We were both involved in a TV pilot called “The Experts”.  The pilot included fashion-makeup, legal, home fix-it, etc “Experts” in addition.  The show was to be like “The View”, and all of us “Experts” thought it was informative and fun; but the two plus days of pilot filming in LA didn’t garner show funding.  Soon afterward, however, Jean called to relate that she learned so much she’d like to write a book. Together! The pilot taught her that our different areas of interest shared eight important ways to stay well and eight just as important ways to stay flush. These areas intersect and your future happiness depends on them. By diving into the science behind them—we’ve developed a new approach to help you. All drive toward the ultimate goal: AgeProofing your life by keeping your body young and your finances secure enough to go the distance (send this column to your kids—you want them to be AgeProof, too).

Today (and for the next two columns) I’d like to share some of one of these eight key areas with you—“The Science of Us” or as we say, while both finances and health are private, private does not mean solo. This month the “Science”, next two months, a smattering of how to use that science and your gut feelings to pick your team members. 

In this world of social media and sharing, of likes and favorites, of posting a photo of your favorite black bean burrito recipe (with pics), it seems that everything we do is public: monumental moments (“We’re engaged!”), insignificant moments (“Puppy pooped on the porch”), and everything in between. Your world infiltrates the worlds of those around you.

Still, a few bastions of isolation remain— the things in your life that you tend to keep private and celebrate or struggle with on your own. From our perspective, those three islands of privacy are the doctor’s office, your financial statements, and your bedroom. Now, you can certainly make the case that close groups of friends may share secrets about their sex lives, and we’ve all certainly seen more and more people publically announcing health issues and victories. But traditionally, these three areas— money, health, and sex—are ones that we all consider to be intensely private and personal. 

So often, people are afraid to involve others in issues dealing with those three areas. (OK, we’ll leave the sex stuff to those experts and just focus on our main areas of expertise.) People think that the mountains they need to climb when it comes to climbing out of debt or trying to break an addiction are mountains they have to climb by themselves with no support, no advice, no assistance. Why? Because they’re embarrassed—embarrassed that someone will judge them or think less of them because they drink 12 sugared sodas a day or spent 10 grand on window treatments for the guest room that nobody uses. And that’s tough, we know, because we’re all proud, social creatures. We all want people to like us and respect us—and not judge.  Bottom line: It’s totally understandable that we hang the privacy sign on our doors. It’s just not OK. So the question is: How do you change your handling of your health and your wealth from an individual sport to a team sport? We think it helps simply to look at team structures all around you—whether in sports, business, or entertainment. 

You are the CEO of your body. You are the CEO of your bottom line. But who else is going to help you get where you want to go? The what is key, but do not be mistaken, the who is more important. You want to make sure your team members are top-notch, have the time to be devoted to your issues, and will keep everything you share with them as confidential as it needs to be. So your choice of team members may be more important than anything else (save whom you chose as your partner in life—who, by the way, is an important member of both your health and your wealth teams).

By taking ownership of the direction you’re heading in, you will not only empower others, you will also empower yourself—by acknowledging that the help of other people doesn’t make you weaker, but stronger. As we’ll explore in the next article in this series on AgeProofing with teams, your team isn’t made up just of professionals. It’s made up of a mixture of pros, relatives, and friends—some of whom who are integral parts of your team from day to day, and some of whom play roles more intermittently. The whole team strategy is all about two things: one, opening yourself up to treat health and wealth as shared endeavors; two, knowing whom to have on your team and the roles that they can and should play.

There’s strong evidence to support this approach. The basic biology of human interaction shows it. When you bond with others (and connect with them in meaningful ways), your body releases oxytocin—this is a feel-good chemical related to better health. (Now, we’re not saying that you want to snuggle up to your accountant—unless your significant other is said accountant.)

Further evidence involves what are called mirror neurons. These are structures in your brain that essentially trigger it to make you act like others around you; you “mirror” their actions. When you surround yourself with people who are doing things you want to do (perhaps including a personal trainer or a friend who’s notably frugal), you’re triggered into copying those behaviors. Some of the groundbreaking research into this phenomenon showed that good (and bad) health habits can spread almost like a virus among social communities—that people reflexively start adopting the habits of their networks. This is one of the main reasons you read headlines about how it’s better to have a circle of friends who have healthy habits, because you’re more likely to follow their lead—not because of any peer pressure per se, but because you naturally conform to the group’s actions. The same can be said for financial habits. If your social circle frivolously spends money without thinking about the bigger picture, you’re more likely to follow in their free-spending footsteps. You absorb the atmosphere of the relationship through mirror effects in the brain. How does a doc know if you’re depressed? She feels it herself when she talks to you.

This is all just a scientific way of saying that your body and brain want you to have strong networks that will help you.   Now, we know that constructing a team isn’t easy, especially if you don’t have any potential members, or just those who come and go— like a general doctor once a year or an accountant in April. As we show you how to construct a team over the next two columns, we’ll consider some of our overall principles for putting an effective team in place.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to send questions—to AgeProofLife@gmail.com, and some of them we may know enough to answer (we’ll try to get answers for you if we do not know). 

Young Dr Mike Roizen (aka, The Enforcer)


You can follow Dr Roizen(and get updates on the latest and most important medical stories of the week) on twitter @YoungDrMike, or download and rate his podcasts released every Tuesday at 7 am on RadioMD.com(That podcast is also available on iHeartRadio.com and Tunein.com). We’ll give you Jean’s coordinates on the 10th   

Michael F. Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer at the Cleveland Clinic. The Wellness institute also features the disease reversal programs of the center for Lifestyle Medicine including The Esselstyn Program for Preventing and Reversing Heart Disease, and, Lifestyle Essentials, and the new Brain Health and Wellness Shared Medical Appointment Program, and the new hour long Lifestyle Medicine Consults, and the integrative medical clinics (with features of medical acupuncture, rekki, obesity management, and Integrative Medicine consults, a great website where you can order than new aromatherapy, and more) of the Cleveland Clinic, both located at 1950 Richmond Road in Lyndhurst. Call 1-877-331-9355.  He is the co-author of 4 #1 NY Times Best Sellers including: RealAge: Are YOU As Young AS You Can Be? and YOU: The Owner’s Manual. An updated paperback version of YOU Staying Young arrived recently. This column is based on the new book: AgeProof: Living Longer Without Running Out of Money or Breaking A Hip.

He is Chief Medical consultant of the eight year running Emmy award winning Dr Oz show-- See what all the fun is about, and what I, The Enforcer, is up to . Check local listings or log onto DoctorOz.com for channel and time—it’s on every day in Cleveland.  

Karlo Dieron