Change Your Mind, Extend Your Life.
I recently ran across this BBC article: “Can You Delay Aging By Refusing To Act Your Age?” Need I tell you how much I hated the title? What does it mean to act one’s age, anyway?! That said, I loved the content of the piece, which offered two more studies that reinforce Yale’s Becca Levy’s research which shows that changing your mindset on aging can provide you with a longer and better life.
One of the studies asked people to say at what age “old age” starts. It turns out the later you think old age starts, the better your health relative to comparably-aged participants in the study. It seems that asking the simple question of when old age begins provides much more information about a person than you might think.
It might be, for instance, that the question prompts people to think about their physical health, and if they have underlying health issues or a poor lifestyle, they might not feel that well and are moved to think old age is coming sooner. The researchers found that people who think old age starts later in life tend to be more conscious about their health and fitness.
I couldn’t agree more. In fact, one of my biggest lessons of the past five years is that the world needs more Public Service Announcements to help us see the unexpected pleasures of aging. Reframing aging could be one of the most critical public health initiatives of the 21st century.
When do you think old age starts?