Researchers Find That If You Think You’re Old, You’ll Age Faster
Your attitude towards something can directly affect the outcome. This is known as the self-fulfilling prophecy, where you unknowingly cause an event or outcome to come true simply by expecting or believing that it will happen. If you think you are old, chances are you will age faster. Several studies demonstrate this self-fulfilling prophecy, and they share key insights into how your attitude affects both your physical and emotional health and ultimately how quickly you age.
One study by researchers at the University of Exeter asked 29 people between the ages of 66 and 98 about their experiences with aging to determine what impact their attitudes and beliefs had on aging.
Participants had varying degrees of physical health. Some lived in care homes whilst others lived alone. The majority of participants indicated that they were in good shape, even though there were others in better condition.
Two people identified themselves as old and frail, even though they were in better physical shape compared to other participants. Their negative perceptions of their age led to a marked decline in health through participants removing themselves from social activities and exercise.
In another study, 660 people participated in a community-based survey known as the Ohio Longitudinal Study of Aging and Retirement. Again, the findings were telling. Positive perceptions of aging during middle-age led to increased longevity of 7.5 years.
People with positive perceptions of aging were 44% more likely to recover from severe disabilities.
According to the study:
“Positive age stereotypes may promote recovery from disability through several pathways: limiting cardiovascular response to stress, improving physical balance, enhancing self-efficacy, and increasing engagement in healthy behaviors.”
The studies reveal the importance of how your view of your age can affect your health. It is a clear self-fulfilling prophecy that cannot be ignored.
While your lifestyle (healthy eating, exercise, etc.) has a very tangible and important influence on your health and should be used to complement your attitude and views, the importance of views toward age cannot be overstated. There is a clear and significant connection between the perception of age and a person’s health (both positive and negative).
The message then is simple. Start to make a conscious decision to not act your age. Choose to be happy. Choose to be positive. Choose to seek out new experiences. Failing to do so and falling into the trap of believing you are old can become a self-fulfilling prophecy, with your mind and body following suit. What follows then, surely, is a rapid cycle of decline in your health.
By, Nick Darlington (source: https://www.lifehack.org/427346/researchers-find-that-if-you-think-youre-old-youll-age-faster)
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net