One Thing The Healthiest and Happiest People Never Do! From A 102-Year-Old Doctor
If there’s one thing Dr. Gladys McGarey says her mother taught her, it was the practice of letting go of things that drain your energy and focus on things that matter. After learning that lesson and with 102 years of experience under her belt, Dr. McGarey offers guidance on how to live a “long, happy, and purposeful life.”
Dr. McGary, a physician and holistic medicine pioneer, has slowed down a bit after ending her family practice of more than 60 years, but she still works as a consulting doctor, exercises everyday, and lives mostly independently in her Scottsdale, Arizona home.
The centenarian has a wealth of knowledge about how to live a life of joy amidst suffering. She has survived cancer, endured the painful trauma of losing her daughter, and went through a divorce when she was almost 70. The breakup of her 46-year marriage was one of the hardest phases in her life, Dr. McGarey writes in her latest book, The Well-Lived Life: A 102-Year-Old Doctor’s Six Secrets to Health and Happiness at Every Age.
Needless to say, Dr. McGarey was devastated after learning that her husband, who was also her clinic partner, left her for another woman. Dr. McGarey said she felt “stuck” and found it hard to move forward. But, she eventually made a choice to move on with her life, a key to overcoming setbacks.
“You just don’t get stuck in them,” Dr. McGarey told TODAY.com. “It’s a matter of choice: What do I choose? I chose not to be stuck in the pain and suffering. It hurt and I didn’t like it. There comes a point where it’s just not worth my energy to spend any more time on that. I’ve got the energy to do something that’s creative and pull myself out of that and work forward.”
What healthiest and happiest people never do?
Dr. McGarey says the healthiest and happiest people she knows never hold on to things that no longer serve them. Dr. McGarey believes that you’re making yourself miserable when you hold on to things or replay thoughts in your head over and over again. By doing this, Dr. McGarey says “you’re essentially torturing yourself” and you can end up getting “stuck.” And, life is too short for that, she added.
Dr. McGarey believes that everyone has life’s energy, fulfillment and joy, a combination that she calls “juice.” And, this “juice” should move in the direction where the person wants to be and how the person wants to feel. Otherwise, the person will get stuck and the energy doesn’t flow the way it should or could.
“If you’re spending your energy on something that is just keeping you miserable, uncomfortable or in a place you don’t want to be, start looking for what is out there…the world is all around you and it’s full of amazing, amazing things,” she told TODAY.com.
Practice letting go
Dr. McGarey is a firm believer of letting go of things that stop the flow of her energy. When you see Dr. McGarey dropping her hands and opening her fingers in a fluid motion, she isn’t simply doing hand exercises. Dr. McGarey said she is releasing things that drain her energy and moving forward to focus on more important things.
This is something she has practiced for years after seeing her mother do this when she faced tough challenges. Dr. McGarey said this was a way for her mother to release what wasn’t working, adjust her focus on what she felt was important, and moved on.
“Now that the gesture has become conscious, I realize that there’s great empowerment in knowing that whenever I notice something coming toward me, I can choose whether to take it in,” Dr. McGarey wrote in an article for NBC’s Make It. “And if it’s something I don’t want, I consciously give the energy back to wherever it came from.”
To get the optimal results from this practice, Dr. McGarey recommends moving around, turning on some energetic music, and taking a stroll around your house or neighborhood. As you walk, allow your body to move naturally and loosely. You might even indulge in a little dancing.
Then, Dr. McGarey says to:
- Identify an area in your life where you feel trapped. You may feel trapped in a relationship, a project at work, a certain way of thinking, resentment or something else. Feel the sense of being trapped or “stuck” throughout your entire body.
- Imagine being able to grasp in your hand what is making you feel trapped or stuck. You might even notice that one fist tightens up. Maintain this firmness. Grip your hand firmly.
- Really let it go. Hold your hand out in front of you while you’re still moving, palm up and fingers together. Next, drop your hand down and back while slightly opening your fingers. Release the “stuckness” as you go.
You can think or speak words out loud, such as, “It doesn’t matter,” or something similar that works better for you. After letting it go, pause to notice how life is now flowing through you.
How long do you hold on to regret?
Dr. McGarey understands that many people will have a hard time choosing to let go, especially if they have regrets over past mistakes. But, Dr. McGarey says she likes to think that people make the best decisions given the circumstances at the time.
However, for those who are having a difficult time letting go, Dr. McGarey recommends looking back to find the good that came out of your situation. For instance, Dr. McGarey says to ask yourself:
- Did everything go well, for the most part? If so, be thankful!
- Is there something funny about it? If so, laugh!
- Have you discovered anything new from it? If so, take pleasure in what you now understand and share it however you can!
In order to go on with your life, Dr. McGarey suggests to do everything you can to let go of your regret. Forgive yourself, and if necessary, ask forgiveness from others so you can move on with your life.