My attitude about aging certainly has changed.
The older I get I realize my 20s and 30s weren’t “all that,” and that I have so much to look forward to.
How do you picture yourself in old age?
Do see yourself as frail, weak and less healthy than you are now?
It’s sad to say, but a lot of people do. They think the older you get, the worse your health gets. But this doesn’t have to be true for you…
There are a lot of changes you can make now to prevent yourself from going down this road. Changing your diet and exercise habits are among the most important. But there’s one other thing you need to change to age well that’s almost effortless…
Aging: A self-fulfilling prophecy?
Numerous studies demonstrate just how much your self-perception about aging can work for or against you when it comes to aging well…
It turns out that if you buy into the negative stereotypes about aging, you may very end up less healthy and independent in your older years. In other words, the more you believe aging is bad, the worse it will be.
For example, a recent study from researchers at the University of Michigan found that couples tend to share similar beliefs about aging and that those beliefs impact how both partners age. In the end, couples who view aging negatively become less healthy and mobile than couples who view aging positively.
And a 2015 study found that older people with negative perceptions about aging had a slower walking speed (a measure of physical strength and stamina) within two years than people with more positive perceptions.
A 2011 study found that older adults performed worse than younger adults when they were told they were taking a memory test. But when older adults took the same test under a different name (they were told it was a language-based test), they did better. That’s because older adults automatically believe they have worse memories due to aging (even if they don’t) and that belief becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
So the message here is to stay optimistic about your mental and physical health as you age. But beware. Even if you try to stay positive, other people around you can influence your attitude…
Another recent study found that if you surround yourself with “negative Nancys” that talk about aging in a bad light and feel worse about their own aging — their negative mindset can be infectious.
“We know that the images in the world and age stereotypes play a role in how people perceive their own aging. But subtle experiences of discrimination in interactions with strangers and sometimes with your own kids or partner — that is feedback that people take to heart and either rebel against it or begin to believe it,” said Jacqui Smith, a researcher who participated in some of these studies and is the principal investigator in a project on well-being in midlife and old age.
Say no to stereotypes
So be an aging rebel. Don’t succumb to stereotypes. And if you notice a negative attitude or perspective lurking in your own mind, nip it in the bud.
The best way to do that is to adopt habits that make you feel strong and healthy. Eat well, exercise, hang around positive people and practice hobbies that you’re passionate about.
You’ll feel happy, healthy and productive, which will help reinforce the belief that aging doesn’t have to be a slippery slope into convalescence.
via: INFORMATION NIGERIA