One of Sigmund Freud’s most accurate and startling discoveries about the human psyche was the pervasiveness of the ”death wish.”

Eric Berne took this idea further with his concept that we set the age and cause of death at an early age. For over 10 years before his death, he told colleagues that his life contract called for him to die at age of 60 of a heart attack. And he did just that!

Elvis Pressley apparently believed that he would die at age 42, the age at which his mother died. And he fulfilled his expectation.

In working with over 30,000 chronically ill patients, I observed depression and poor self-esteem at the root of most problems. I was shocked, in 2002, to hear from ordinary audiences ”Oh, no” when I began discussing my concept of living healthily to age 140.

Clinically, we know that at least 40% of Americans are depressed enough to need therapy; I now suspect that another 40% are at least depressed enough that Freud’s idea of a ”death wish” is alive and well.

While these concepts may not appeal to those with few emotional reserves, or to those who have set a life contract to die early, I believe that significant numbers of energetic, enthusiastic individuals are ready to redefine old age, providing a new concept of longevity. These may live healthily to a minimum of 100 years, some to 120. And if they embrace the essential activities encouraged by my research, they may live healthily 120 to 160 years, just by adding a few simple activities. These individuals may truly set the stage for Homo Noeticus, as defined by Caroline Myss. They will not consider themselves elderly until at least 120 years of age.

There are on the internet several ”games” and tests of longevity, some by insurance companies. According to one of these, my life expectancy is 100, while another gives me 116 years. At least that one is approaching my belief!

Consider the current life expectancy in the U.S. of an average of 76.9 years. Now you may increase your life expectancy in the following ways :

Average Expectancy
76.9 years
Being a woman
2.6 years
No smoking
6.0 years
Body Mass Index between 19 and 24
6.0 years
No street drugs
1.5 years
Average alcohol intake of one drink per day
3.0 years
Exercise at least 7 hours per week
6.0 years
Average for a woman
101 years
Average for a man
98.4 years
But if you are a married man, add 2.6
For an average male life of
101 years

Marriage does not help women live longer!

These simple common-sense habits give you a potential of living well to 101 years.

Now, how do you add another 39 years?
Keep your DHEA level healthy
13 years
Keep your calcitonin level optimal
13 years
Keep your free radicals low
13 years

There is, of course, a genetic component, which may add or subtract about 20 years.

Thus, all health-conscious individuals should live at least 120 years, while those with the best genetic potential could live to 160. Last fall DISCOVER magazine featured an article by a geneticist who believed that 150 years is quite feasible. Perhaps future discoveries will extend this potential even further. I will address each of the ”over 100 years” essentials in the coming issues.

C. Norman Shealy, M.D., Ph.D. is the father of holistic medicine. Register and get his book 90 Days To Self-Health free

Skip to content