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Integrity Enough Not to Fear Death!

By: , Posted on: May 27, 2021

Frank John Ninivaggi, M.D., author of Learned Mindfulness – Physician Engagement and M.D. Wellness.

Life Reviews are pausing to reflect how the meaning of recent experiences comprises one’s past. The past embraces subjective feelings tied to memories of attachments from childhood flowing through adolescence, adulthood, and later life. Reviews are further readings after the first, second, third, or more reflections about one’s life. These real-world activities are dynamic and change sequentially, responding to psychological, situational, and medical influences.

Authentic Integrity is upright emotion with thought enhanced by Life reviews. Mindfulness, authenticity, and personal integrity broaden a resilient quality of life. Mature well-being strengthens when emotion enriches reason. Integrity is psychological wholeness, freedom from self-deceit. Mindfulness brings hidden parts to awareness. The body’s integrity creates soundness and degrees of self-transparency, seeing all sides of complex issues, the positive, negative, and indeterminate in decision-making. Integrity is a life undiminished. Having built secure internalized relationships helps counter the inevitable losses and feelings of loneliness that later adulthood brings. This strength is greeting endings and misfortune with a firm handshake.

Why Life reviews?

Life reviews are not an anti-aging perspective; they are aging embracing enhancing self-efficacy. Life reviews can break into well-defended emotional strongholds hardened by time. Fortresses of conflictual feelings and obdurate fixations can be revisited, opened, and reexamined. Life reviews mobilize emotional intelligence, augmenting the cognitive formulations relevant to current real-life and future activities. Maturing wisely can ward off feeling helpless. Vulnerability to falling into bouts of hopelessness when the actual loss of capacities or debilitating medical problems emerge can be averted. The physical pain of arthritis is a common ailment affecting 23% of adults and 50% of those over 50, a reminder of one’s frailty and limitations for working as one had in the past. These realities with separations and losses of capacities, friends, and loved ones are the triggers for unwelcomed feelings. Sadness, loneliness, and irritability converge with endogenous biological factors and prompt clinical depression, the most frequent cause of emotional suffering in later life. While diminishing the quality of life, depression has many disabling signs and symptoms. Life reviews provide information and options previously unavailable by helping to prepare for the next moment, the near and later future. This bold aim includes optimizing the deep-seated static functioning of already senescent cells. Life reviews permit freeing yourself from groupthink to reflect on yourself.

Insight: The Mutative Factor in Life Reviews

Insight comprises degrees of understanding thoughts, beliefs, mood, and behaviors. The capacity to see clearly how decisions and competing alternatives are managed emerges. Insight opens vistas to changing hardened convictions by self-reflection on self-certainty as circumstances change. Targets of intervention go further than merely considering the signs and symptoms of diseases, disease management. Targets transform to become goals for refining health, lifestyle, quality of life, and increasing enthusiasm—optimized lifecare management. How Life reviews look and show themselves is different for everyone. Fresh material provides further resources to tap for forwarding overall growth at each new study.

Biohacking Your Longevity

The current term biohacking has been introduced to mean making small incremental changes in diet, exercise, and adding nutraceuticals, vitamins, and relaxation techniques to improve health and well-being. Biohacking is interfering and intervening in the harmful effects of aging. These adverse effects include emotional and physical stress and oxidative changes in cells, tissues, and joints. The healthy mitigation of senescence with age-related decline introduces novelty. Core to these targets is “infamm-aging,” chronic low-grade inflammation that develops with advanced age and accelerates the processes of biological aging.  Life reviews hack into these as proactive tools that bring entire life narratives forward. For example, before medical diagnoses occur, one can intervene and use preventive measures. Understanding this can temper the full impact of genetically pre-programmed processes. At any developmental age, a life review changes at each engagement to elicit such lifestyle alterations.

Life and Death as Bookends of Lifecare

Death needs proper attention early on, notably with mid-life reviews, lifecare. Death may be explicitly felt or sensed subliminally. Physical pain typically evokes emotional suffering, and both persist for more extended periods than in earlier days. As people age and medical problems emerge, the sense of relevance core to integrity links to help or hinder one’s secure emotional base. Life accountability provides an opportunity to accept thoughts, actions, and consequences emerging in the review, a nontrivial life skill. Periodic Life reviews expose the background of one’s current life. These mediating factors show that circumstances are not inevitable—future change is an actual human potential. A life with meaning through maturity can organize with integrity. Endings, loss, death, and dying can be felt as harsh, especially those of close family members. Losses can lead to loneliness and isolation, fostering sadness, if not depression. Loss is inevitable and can be endured over time. It is a significant opportunity for reflection and enrichment, especially with these profound emotional experiences worked through and internalized. This article, however, intends to create an impact without such violence. It is the diplomacy of thoughtful reflection. Accepting responsibility for one’s life after age 65 shows personal integrity—the best choices made, including corrections to poorer ones. Such reflection is neither arcane nor merely an academic argument. Rebalancing life’s horizons seen in focus is part of mindful well-being.

Life Reviews: How Often and the Triggers for a Review?

Life reviews are healthy perspective-taking toward life cycle changes. Negative views are defensive distractions avoiding confrontation with life’s inevitable realities—notably, the end of life. Life reviews are recommended throughout life, however triggers prompting Life reviews are loss and ending events. Any abrupt or insipient separation from an event, person, job, living situation, or state of health is a reason to pause. Considered reflection requires time or a series of times to contemplate and record past experiences leading up to the “here-and-now.” Life reviews are not an “app” or a logical event or sequence; they are mindful in application and bias and noise are expected. Analytical, mathematical, and objective accuracy is less critical than subjective reiterations over time. Doing periodic Life reviews at any age is valuable.

Life Reviews: Proactive Lifecare

Reflective pauses expand future potential— therapeutic, healing, and restorative. Integrity enough makes this possible. In her 1957 seminal work on “character,” British psychoanalyst Melanie Klein (1882-1960), a champion of anti-fatalism, made clear the need for working through early memories for unfolding integrity in later life enabling feelings of gratitude and the sense of enjoyment. In Childhood and Society (1993), Erikson outlined eight stages or progressively accomplished “ages” of personal self-development; the last decades establish ego integrity vs. despair.

Life Reviews: A Wellness Perspective

Life Reviews are intentional pauses reflecting the elements of one’s past. Deep attachments from childhood flow through later life, giving it robust vitality, color, depth, and a contoured character. Is viewing our emotional past a wrinkle or a beauty mark? The answer rests on attitude and perspective. Having a wellness outlook is health oriented. Intelligent lifestyles create a human regeneration project. Establishing integrity enough not to fear death as a wellness perspective is creating health along the developmental line. Recalling and coming to terms with loss and unsettled emotions make up the wisdom of Life reviews. These teach-backs are knowledge-management skills creating resolutions for a coming future, not fatalism. Resilience as a positive adaptive response in the face of adversity builds and intensifies steadily. Being proactively involved in one’s healthcare—lifecare —is fundamental, the culmination of developmental abilities. Wise reflection is quality living supporting integrity enough not to fear death. Life reviews are the apex of discerning developmental abilities reconfigured and built anew over a lifetime.

Ready to read this book?

Learned Mindfulness, Physician Engagement and M.D. Wellness (9780128164846) is available to read on ScienceDirect and for purchase on the Elsevier Bookstore. Use promo code STC30 to receive 30% off your purchase + free shipping.


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Erikson, E. (1993). Childhood and Society. W.W. Norton & CO. NY.

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Klein, Melanie (1957). “Envy and Gratitude.” In Envy and Gratitude and other Works.

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Ninivaggi (2017). Making Sense of Emotion: Innovating Emotional Intelligence. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Ninivaggi (2020). Learned Mindfulness: Physician Engagement and MD Wellness. New York, NY: Elsevier/Academic Press.

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