Age is largely a State of Mind, and we are only as old or as young as we feel.
Sure, doctors talk about all of the health changes associated with “Old Age,” they are just approximations, nothing more.
Many of us know firsthand people defying the “hands of time”, looking, thinking and acting the age of someone decades younger. Hang on I know lots of people defying Father Time, I am one of them.
Out lifestyle: healthy diet of Real Food, avoiding sugar, exercise, avoidance of pollutants, +++ all plays a part in how well we fare as we get older, but so does attitude.
The research is clear, and intriguing, that a positive attitude about age can help us to stay happy and healthy well into the Golden Years.
The way we view old age likely has a real effect on your physical health.
In a study by researchers from the University of Exeter, 29 people between the ages of 66 and 98 were asked about their experience of aging and frailty, as well as their beliefs about attitude’s importance in health.
Most of the people believed they were in good physical shape, even those who were not did, 2 people identified themselves as old and frail. The negative outlook led to a “cycle of decline,” including stopping participation in social activities and exercise.
The researchers described the negative state of mind as a “self-fulfilling prophecy,” in which a person’s beliefs lead them to live a reduced quality of life.
On the other side of the coin, believing we are strong and healthy increases the changes that we will act that way, the mind is powerful.
Our mindset as we age can help us live longer, provided it is positive. Older individuals who reported positive self-perceptions of aging during middle age lived 7.5 years longer than those with less positive self-perceptions of aging.
The researchers noted that the effect was “partially mediated by will to live.” Research has also linked a person’s views on aging with the development of chronic disease and other health problems.
For instance, people with negative age stereotypes earlier in life were more likely to develop brain changes linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
Another study found that older people with positive stereotypes about aging were 44% more likely to fully recover from severe disability than those with negative age stereotypes.
Positive attitude may promote recovery from disability via several pathways, according to the study:
- Limiting cardiovascular response to stress
- Improving physical balance
- Enhancing self-efficacy
- Increasing healthy behaviors
- The mind-body connection is also highlighted in research showing the importance of maintaining a sense of purpose in our lives as we age.
Feeling and believing that our lives have meaning and a sense of direction is linked to a lower risk of multiple health problems, including certain types of stroke, cognitive decline, dementia including Alzheimer’s disease, disability and premature death.
Eat healthy, Be healthy, Live lively
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