Everyone should periodically take their mental health temperature by asking themselves if they feel hopeful about aging well and hopeful about their future.

I was at a seminar for professional speakers and marveling at the speaker's skill. Afterwards I asked him if he consciously crafted his speaking persona or if it just evolved. The more I thought about it, the more I thought about the relationships speakers have with their audiences.

Dull ones lecture, teach or inform. More interesting speakers entertain, play, have fun, inspire, or motivate their audiences. Then I asked myself what do I do? What came to me is that whether I am speaking, coaching, or doing therapy, I am helping people feel hopeful.

I see in my mind what people can be, what they can do, what they can achieve. I use whatever approaches connect for them to move them that direction. In the case of aging, it is believing that your life can get better as you age and that a big part of making it better is easy: little mind shifts in how you think about yourself and aging.

For example, you can choose to think of yourself as really younger than your chronological age. It is an easy belief to adopt and doesn't cost anything. Having that self-image prompts you, consciously and unconsciously, to seek ways to make it happen. After all, you don't want to make a liar out of yourself (psychologists call this avoiding cognitive dissonance).

Overture says that in July 2005, 56,693 people searched for "hope" on the Internet. Also in July, 654,592 searched for "love" and 8,334,440 searched for "sex." We often overlook hope but it is vital to our well being--and even to wanting to get out of bed in the morning. Asking yourself if you feel hopeful is a good way of taking your mental health temperature.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Michael Brickey, America’s preeminent 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 www.DrBrickey.com for a free report on anti-aging secrets and his free Defy Aging Newsletter with practical anti-aging tips. Hear him interview leading anti-aging experts and/or read the interview transcripts with the anti-aging experts.

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