Positve Mindset Can Lengthen Your Lifespan

August 9, 2017

There are lots of sayings like “mind over matter” which illustrate how powerful the brain can be when it comes to not feeling pain, or acting determined when pursuing our dreams. Our minds are the driving force behind our survival, and our perspective filters everything we do or experience. But our brain might be even more powerful than we previously thought, with a recently discovered, powerful effect on our body. Your everyday mental outlook can affect how you are aging physically, and even help extend your life.

You Are As Young As You Feel

As we get older and hit certain decade milestones we start to remember stereotypes of older people we’ve seen on TV, and worry about growing into those memory-frazzled, fragile characters. Unfortunately, the power of suggestion is so strong that after a study in Texas asked seniors to take a memory test, the participants reported feeling five years older afterwards – even when they had done well on the memory test!

Researchers from Yale and Berkeley decided to put the power of positive thinking to the test. For four weeks, test subjects from age 61 to 99 met with researchers for 15-minute sessions. The group who was shown words such as “wise,” “senior,” and “old” had no physical improvements after the study when it came to walking, balance, or rising out of their chairs. However, the group who spent their time writing about physically active seniors showed more physical improvements in their own fitness than another study that had its participants do six months of exercise. The results are clear: our bodies are much less limited than we perceive them to be. Being surrounded by senior stereotypes in marketing and movies which create negative connotations of older people actually prevents them from being their healthiest selves.

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