Less must-do. More want-to. | October 2022
Did you know that what you believe about aging can affect how long you live and how healthy you are? And some of your aging beliefs may have been instilled in you when you were as young as four? Unfortunately, the U.S. is a country where views on aging tend to skew negatively, unlike Greece, Korea or China where aging is celebrated. Our society assumes older adults have physical or mental impairments and they are set in their ways, unable to learn or change. If we live with these thoughts as our own, it can have a tremendous impact on our health and our future.
Becca Levy, Professor of Epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health and Professor of Psychology at Yale University, has written a new book, Breaking the Age Code: How Your Beliefs About Aging Determine How Long & Well You Live. Through scientific research, Levy has found that positive beliefs about aging can benefit all aspects of the aging process, and the physical ailments we think are a normal part of aging, like hearing loss, cardiovascular issues and memory problems, are in fact a result of negative societal views on aging. She says that by changing our outlook on aging, we can actually change the way our genes operate and even add 7.5 years to our lifespan.
Positive thinking about aging makes sense as having a positive attitude in general seems to be a more pleasant way to approach life. The result of positivity is more than just turning a frown upside down. A more upbeat attitude may provide many health benefits including:
- Better stress management
- An increased life span
- Less instances of depression, pain and distress
- Enhanced resistance to illness
- Better cardiovascular health
- Greater likelihood of leading a healthier lifestyle
If you tend to be a pessimistic individual, don’t despair! With a little practice and patience, it’s possible to adopt a more positive outlook. Here are some tips:
- Work to recognize where negative thoughts occur and consciously shift your focus
- Surround yourself with positive people
- Practice positive self-talk — don’t say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to a friend
- Seek out laughter
- Get good exercise and a good night’s sleep
In her book, Dr. Levy offers evidence-based tools for shifting negative views of aging, for yourself or those around you. One tool she says is effective is age-belief journaling. When you make note of how age is portrayed in society, whether positive or negative, and recognize when older people aren’t included in messaging, you can begin to challenge those beliefs and help to shift negative mindsets.
Feel good about aging at Duncaster, with a warm, welcoming culture of positivity and inclusivity. Here, we celebrate and support aging to help you be your best possible self. Call Lisa Greene, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, today at (860) 380-5006.
Sources: Breaking the Age Code: How Your Beliefs About Aging Determine How Long & Well You Live by Dr. Becca Levy, Mayo Clinic, American Medical Association