The key to mental and physical wellness is a healthy brain.
So says the creator of a 12-week community program to begin in Newcastle on Wednesday.
The longevity program, titled "Healthy Brain, Healthy Body, Happy Life", is based on the idea that a healthy brain and mind will lead to a healthy body.
Brain-function researcher Arlene Taylor, who created the program, said an unhealthy brain and mindset would lead to unhealthy choices.
"For example, obesity is now a worldwide pandemic and is linked with some 50 diseases. In most cases, obesity reflects a mindset," Dr Taylor said.
"Everything does begin in the brain, starting with a mindset."
The charity, 4D Living - Lifestyle Health Clinic, will host the course at Warabrook.
Co-founder David Stojcic says the program is linked to the idea that health is "brain-mind based".
It is also "based on the assumption" that health is determined by lifestyle (70 per cent) and genes (30 per cent), Mr Stojcic says. [Some research suggests the nature-nurture split is closer to 50-50].
Mr Stojcic said the lifestyle component comprised an area of research called "epigenetics".
"If we have inherited poor genes, we do not need to despair. We have 70 per cent control of our health.
"If our choices are well-informed and correct, we can enjoy the greatest quality of life over the longest possible period of time."
He said the program included 14 strategies linked to encouraging longevity through lifestyle.
Dr Taylor said the program begins with the philosophy that the brain is a person's "most powerful tool".
Each strategy relates "back to the brain in some way".
Positive change begins with the right frame of mind and "continues with appropriate self-talk and knowing how to use willpower the way it was designed to be used".
The program seeks to instil ways to follow through on the strategies for "the rest of one's life".
Dr Taylor said the brain and body "work best in balance".
"They each need to be healthy and ideally functioning at optimum levels.
"Thomas Edison thought the brain was so important that the body's chief task was to carry the brain around.
"An unhealthy body can't carry the brain around safely and efficiently."
She added that a healthy body "may not be too excited about carrying around an unhealthy brain".
Mr Stojcic said his organisation "believes in a very strong connection between lifestyle and overall health".
"We believe that chronic diseases could be prevented and, in most cases, reversed if people choose to live a healthy lifestyle," he said.
"We teach people what a healthy lifestyle looks like in terms of diet, exercise and mindset."
However, the program is not about compulsively counting calories, deprivation or over-exercising.
"Rather, it embraces the exponential power of science in creating synergy between the brain and body, unlocking potential for health and longevity," a program statement said.
It aims to increase the potential for "living healthier and younger for longer".
4D Living is also interested in ways to prevent dementia.
Mr Stojcic quoted academic research that suggests that the risk of dementia can be significantly reduced by up to 28 per cent.
This could be achieved if people "stick with a healthy lifestyle, avoid depression, have good education levels and exercise regularly".
The program's 14 strategies aim to "significantly reduce the risk of depression and dementia".
They aim to help people "enjoy physical, mental and social wellbeing".
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 4958 3670 or 0410 025 894. Website bookings are at 4dliving.org.au.