Authored by William G. DeFoore, Ph.D.
Why positive aging? Because you're going to be doing it anyway, so why not figure out how to do it in a positive way so you can enjoy it?
Think about it...you are aging all of your life, cradle to grave. And you're working hard to create a happy life, so that you can do more of what you want to do and less of what you don't want to do.
We're going to look at two pieces of research that will help you to enjoy your aging process. One focuses on how you feel about your age, and the other one shows the benefits of a positive perception of aging.
An excellent article on positive aging by Yagana Shah cites research that shows how feeling younger than you are may actually lead to a longer life span. Feeling young at heart leads to healthier behaviors and more resilience, the study reports.This is right along the lines of Ellen Langer's book entitled, Counterclockwise: Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility. In her fascinating book, Langer describes how she helped elderly disabled men to look, act and feel younger, simply by creating relationships, conversations and environments that took them 30 years into their past.
The conclusion to draw here is that how you feel about your health and your age has a huge impact on your actual physical, mental and emotional well being.
Here are some steps you can take toward feeling young and healthy:
Attitudes are formed subconsciously, long before you even become aware of them. For example, your attitudes about aging have been programmed since you were a child. This is nobody's fault, it's just the way it is.
The good news is that you can change your attitudes! And it's very important that you do, otherwise your health, your future, and your aging process is in the control of people you may never have met, and people you may not even agree with.
Researcher Becca Levy reports in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology that a positive attitude about aging extends life by 7.5 years, more than twice the impact of healthy body mass, diet, non-smoking and exercise factors.
This is nothing short of earth-shaking news, when you think about it. Conventional wisdom would tell us a positive attitude is great, but what really impacts your health and longevity is diet, exercise, non-smoking and body mass. But this study completely contradicts that viewpoint.
So now let's look at some ways that you can change your attitude:
This is a tool that works...but only if you use it. Remember, your attitudes are deeply embedded in your subconscious mind, so it will take a lot of repetition of your new beliefs for them to fully form your new positive aging attitude.
Aging is life itself, so make sure your attitudes and feelings work well for you!
What if you could get younger next year?
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