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Just Say "No" to Old Age: Leading Expert Says Aging can be Slowed


Nike-dunk-transformer-shoesJust Say NO To Old Age: Professor X isn't the only one with incredible mental powers: recent research says that you might be even better at brain-boosting, helping heal yourself with the power of a positive attitude - while he can't even summon up the mental energy to stand.

The power of positive thinking might make us sound infinity percent more likely to wear hemp and say "man" an inappropriate number of times for science reporters (i.e. ever), but it's real research at Harvard.  Professor Ellen Langer has conducted several studies into "mindfulness theory", researching just how much your attitude affects your actual body.  The answer: quite a bit.

One of Benjamin Button's many stories-within-stories in F. Scott Fitzgerald's short story, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, involves the tale of a clock built for the New Orleans train station that is designed to run backwards, in the hope that it will resurrect the First World War dead.

With a similar result in mind, in one experiment Langer shut several septuagenarians in a hotel that had been redecorated in mid-eighties style, eliminating all evidence of the last two decades.  Subjects were instructed to act as if they'd really gone all Doctor Who, and after only seven days they were faster, stronger, better than before.  Stronger for seventy-year olds, anyway, and certainly stronger than a control group who didn't get this amateur time-travel and were basically left to think about how damn old they were.

This raises a number of interesting questions, and if you don't think so then we hate to bear bad news but aging applies to you too.  How can we best apply this technique to our own lives?  And if you can feel younger but have to listen to 80s music to do so, is that too high a price to pay?

Dr Langer's theory is that all the external reminders that "you are old and broken" can convince the brain and body that it must be so.  It's quite possible - anyone who talks about brain and body as if they were separate items isn't using either properly, so all kinds of unconscious instructions could affect your health.  There's no "be healthy!" switch, and this can't prevent aging (that's a job for the gene-workers) - but it can slow the clock down.

Posted by Luke McKinney.

Can we reverse aging by changing how we think? 

Comments

Fascinating research. I am my own laboratory being 56 years old and still training in Kungfu and Tai Chi with a childlike mind. I feel fitter and younger now than when I was 18. It is all in the mind, you just form positive beliefs and stay detached from societal expectations of ageing - this is the secret!

Power of positive thinking = hemp and "man" ?
Guess you never heard of Norman Vincent Peale.

A person's mental state very often has a bearing on how aging can & will affect them. A person who accepts aging, entropy, the inevitable breakdown of mind & body will SHOW those effects more visibly than someone who actively uses & engages their mind & keeps their body active.

This is proof that lifestyle, mindset, activity & diet have as much effect on one's body as heredity & the kind of DNA one has.
It affects the immune system & growth of younger people as well.

i certainly believe that age is a matter of our mind. Yes, there are different ages for our various body organs and it does vary from person to person. Brain and the hypothetical mind ( not just an organ of the body ) appear to have no age limits, though memory and recollection may have aging effects. The thoght processes can be very constructive depending on the positive attitude and association only with the moments we are living continually. We then become ageless in a way! It is the other organs that fail us to death. AGE IS A MATTER OF MIND!

It´s not a matter of positive thinking. If you learn that your brain can be used as a tool, you can, for instance, regenerate a shattered kneecap, an ailing intervertebral disc and correct malfunctioning organs. I have been taught how and being 73, have a physical capacity about the same as my 32 year old son, who practices extreme sports since when he was 11. Mi digestion is better than his and I survived a gangrened peritonitis.
The curious fact is that about 100 persons suffering column, joint and other problems, whom I offered to teach my system, never read even the first page of the booklet that I wrote, in which I stress the fact that my knowlege comes from studying yoga, karate and other disciplines, extracting the more simple and specific variations. It´s just a matter of focusing your willpower through your brain, in order to achieve anything you need. It takes some time and discipline to learn.

Simon -

Your lifestyle " system " seems interesting. The prevailing philosophy of " Growing old gracefully " - Letting nature run its course & letting the more negative aspects of age wreak havoc with one's body - just doesn't fly like it did with our parents & grandparents.

My father & step - mother opted to " grow old gracefully ", they didn't seek out much, if any, physical or mental stimulation, they both had a history of strokes & cardio - vascular problems & Parkinson's, & I most definitely want to AVOID a similar fate.
If anybody in my new town opens up a Tai Chi or Yoga ( or similar ) studio, I'm in, if I can afford it.

life sucks game over none too soon somebody wipe my backsides. cheers.

dirk:

It's precisely that attitude that breakdown ( of mind & body ), acceptance of it, acceptance of aging's negative effects, & surrendering to " the inevitable " that leads to people being warehoused in facilities where they HAVE TO wear disposable diapers & have their backsides wiped. A LOTTA people would like to avoid that & be healthy, active older people.

Whether productive old age is acheived via major life - style changes affecting mind & body, or via massive infusions of hormones or maybe nanites, I'm for it. Don't want to be an old prune of a guy wearing adult undergarments & schlepping arund an oxygen tank.
Nothing wrong with that..... !!

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