Where are the PSAs for Longer, Healthier, Happier Lives?
“If a previously unidentified virus was found to diminish life expectancy by over seven years, considerable effort would probably be devoted to identifying the cause and implementing a remedy. In the present case, one of the likely causes is known: societally-sanctioned denigration of the aged.” - Dr. Becca Levy
MEA is full of geeks, especially when it comes to reframing aging and introducing regenerative principles into our lives.
But, if there was one piece of social science research that most influences MEA’s mission, it’s Yale’s Becca Levy’s studies. She has shown that when someone moves from a negative to a positive mindset about aging, they gain 7.5 years of additional life (presumably, that’s a happy life if they have a positive perspective on aging). There’s a new book called “The Expectation Effect: How Your Mindset Can Transform Your Life” by David Robson that amplifies this research in chapter 10. And Becca’s book “Breaking the Age Code: How Your Beliefs About Aging Determine How Long and Well You Live” is worth picking up as it’s barely four months old. Here’s a fireside chat I did with Becca around her book launch.
Ironically, we spend multi-billions of dollars annually on Public Service Announcements to get people to stop smoking and/or start exercising. Still, the effect on the longevity of a 50-year-old who takes either of those steps is substantially less than it is if they were to embrace the unexpected pleasures of aging. Hard to believe but also hard to refute when you see Becca’s well-respected, peer-reviewed research.
So, where are all the PSAs that promote positive aging mindsets, including the simple philosophy that a long life is a good life? I can’t find any. But, I think MEA friend Ashton Applewhite’s post “I Hope I Get Old Before I Die” is an excellent place to start with a pro-aging message. And the next time someone makes an ageist joke, remind them of the graphic smile that the U-curve of Happiness defines.
In so many ways, life gets better with age.
P.S. Is something shifting in your life? Are you struggling to figure out what’s next in your career or calling? Then reserve your spot in MEA’s online course “Living and Working On Purpose.” Get an early bird discount when you enroll by this Friday, October 7. The 8-week course starts October 15.
Learn how to live and work purposefully from 30+ business experts and thought leaders, including Arthur Brooks, Dan Pink, Lynne Twist and Richard Rohr. This 8-week guided program offers insightful tools to help you shift your perspective to uncover your inner and outer purpose, create micro goals to transform your life, and find new opportunities to flourish in life and work.