The Defy Aging Newsletter

Anti-aging psychology, holistic health, and wellness

a biweekly e-mail newsletter for helping you think, feel, look, and be more youthful and live with purpose.

Number 116

This issue:

Helpful Delusions


For one day, try having a "delusion" that you are decades younger than your chronological age. Note how it affects you. Consider whether you want to permanently adopt the "delusion."


In a recent psych consult a rather fit gentleman told me he was 63. I asked when he was born and  he said 1911. I asked if he remembered World War II and he said he was in school then. I wrote 2005-1911 and asked him to do the subtraction. He accurately computed 94. "Something's wrong." he said. "I'm only 63." Despite further questions, his belief was unshakeable.

We have many beliefs that are difficult to prove but help us be more successful. One type is our religious beliefs. Others include believing that you make a difference and Einstein's belief that "the world is a friendly place." There is a great deal of research that optimists are healthier and more successful than pessimists. Many successful people attribute their success to first believing they were successful (even though others and external trappings suggested they were not).

I once had a young, anorexic client tell me she was fat. I asked her go to the bathroom, look in the mirror, and draw what she saw in the mirror. As it happens, the mirror was only above the sink. The top half of her drawing looked like a normal person. The bottom half ballooned into obesity. Another interesting delusion is men who are convinced they are really women trapped in a man's body.

Yes, that rather fit 94 year old gentleman had some dementia. Yet his belief about his age helped keep him looking and feeling much younger. Perhaps we could learn something from him. Fortunately, you don't have to be demented to choose to believe in a "delusion."


We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.

~Kurt Vonnegut

The greatest discovery of my generation is that man can alter his life simply by altering his attitude of mind.

~William James


A haggard man enters the psychologist's office and stuffs a cigarette up his nose. "I see you really need me," said the psychologist. "I sure do." the man said, "Do you have a light?"

An avid duck hunter had a new retriever that could walk on water. He invited his pessimistic friend to join him on a duck hunt. A flock of ducks flew by and he shot one. The dog skipped across the water and retried the bird, getting little more than his paws wet. "Did you notice anything unusual about my new dog?" he said. His pessimistic friend replied, "I sure did. He can't swim."

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"Dr. Michael Brickey, The Anti-Aging Psychologist, teaches people to think, feel, look and be more youthful. He is an inspiring keynote speaker and Oprah-featured author. His works include:  Defy Aging, 52 baby steps to Grow Young, and Reverse Aging (anti-aging hypnosis CDs). Visit for a free report on anti-aging secrets and a free newsletter with practical anti-aging tips."

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