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Friday, January 6, 2017

To Age Well, Change How You Feel About Aging

"Negative stereotypes about getting older can become a self-fulfilling prophecy."

Editor’s Note: Theory—Thinking bad thoughts about the aging process could actually be doing you harm according to this article in the Wall St. Journal. The article discusses the positive effects of aging and how to embrace the process.
From the article:

Scientists aren’t sure exactly how holding negative stereotypes affects health, but they say it’s clear that there is a connection, and it isn’t simply correlation. In test after test, negative stereotypes have been shown to lead to poor health results. Over the past two decades, dozens of studies from psychologists, medical doctors and neuroscientists have shown....

that older people with more negative views of aging fare more poorly on health than those with less-pessimistic attitudes.

Even when study participants have similar health, education levels and socioeconomic status, those with more negative outlooks about aging show greater declines in a variety of areas over time.
They have shakier handwriting, poorer memories, higher rates of cardiac disease and lower odds of recovering from severe disability, according to studies by Prof. Levy. They are less likely to eat a balanced diet, exercise and follow instructions for taking prescription medications as they age. They even die younger—the median difference in survival rates is 7.5 years.

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