curio #487 Is old age just a mind set?

Age might just be a state of mind. Consider the "counterclockwise" study in 1981, which placed 8 men in their 70s into a 5-day time warp. They lived like it was actually 1959. They stayed in a house "set" in the 1950s, complete with Ed Sullivan on black-and-white TV, Perry Como on a vintage radio, and “current” magazines and books lying around--as well as portraits of their younger selves. There were no mirrors. The men used the present tense to discuss events, sports, and movies from the '50s. After 5 days, the men showed remarkable improvements in mental and physical health compared to a control group. The young researcher, Ellen Langer, decided not to publish the results because the sample size was so small and the results so unbelievable. But she went on designing experiments that showed people's mindset could impact their health. Elderly people aged more slowly when given the responsibility of caring for a house plant. Women's blood pressure dropped after having hair cuts they thought made them look younger. House cleaners lost significantly more weight after being told their work was a form of serious exercise. So in 2010 she recreated the "counterclockwise" experiment, this time as a reality TV show--the results were remarkably positive once again. Amazing!

LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS CURIO

New York Times: "What if age is nothing but a mindset?"

24 Replies

oldestnewest
  • I do believe in the power of the mind, we don't know enough about it, but I feel certain that the mind has a powerful influence over how we feel.

    and so I conclude that from now on I am aged 20 years younger than my real age ....and so I can lie about my age without any guilty feelings

    VERY interesting article Ant64 or should you be Ant 44? thank you for posting it

  • I so enjoyed your post Ant, I am amazed by the power of our minds!! The 'placebo' effect is another example of 'thinking positively' can change the outcome of physical ailments! :) huff xxx

  • Thanks Huffer I get these in my email daily and the good ones I think would be of interest to others I share. Ant :D xxxx

  • Quite honestly, I believe in this concept..., in theory.

    In practice, it becomes a bit more..., or, truthfully, incredibly more difficult to put into practice on one's own.

    I was raised with the belief that MOST problems were only "all in your head" and could be overcome with patience and attention towards correcting the situation.

    However, several years ago, I began having a few health problems: some severe, others only partially debilitating and finally, two years ago, a pulmonary 'collapse' which left me helpless as a newborn, a bit over 15 lbs lighter and with a diagnosis of COPD.

    I've been steadily recuperating since then and am now, not back to my prime by any means but am about 900% better than I was and am only using oxygen 3 or 4 hours a day in the evening before bed.

    My point to all this is that until these health problems began about 7 years ago, I stumbled along in my life still thinking I was around 34 years of age. Then one day a bagger in a grocery store called me "Sir" and I knew the game was up...; if not up, then beginning its slow descent.

    I'm less than 60 days away from my 72nd birthday and even with my pre-pulmonary problems have always felt mostly top of the line.

    The trouble comes in, at least to some degree, with how one is treated as they age; automatically, people begin reacting to you differently, being deferential when it's not really needed or desired, giving odd looks when you begin acting in a way not "conducive to your age" (that is to say, silly perhaps..., or just plain goofy), something you were inclined to do with impunity until the "lines and sags" began their appearances.

    What I'm saying is that the constant 'categorization' by our culture as being 'old' is a whole 'nuther thing to overcome and, alas, is all too often given in to because of its pervasiveness.

    Otherwise...., I feel fine.

  • Maybe this fits you as well as it fits me, Dmactds?

    When I am an old woman I shall wear purple

    With a red hat that doesn't go, and doesn't suit me,

    And I shall spend my pension

    on brandy and summer gloves

    And satin sandals,

    and say we've no money for butter.

    I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired,

    And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells,

    And run my stick along the public railings,

    And make up for the sobriety of my youth.

    I shall go out in my slippers in the rain

    And pick the flowers in other people's gardens,

    And learn to spit.

    You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat,

    And eat three pounds of sausages at a go,

    Or only bread and pickle for a week,

    And hoard pens and pencils and beer mats

    and things in boxes.

    But now we must have clothes that keep us dry,

    And pay our rent and not swear in the street,

    And set a good example for the children.

    We will have friends to dinner and read the papers.

    But maybe I ought to practise a little now?

    So people who know me

    are not too shocked and surprised,

    When suddenly I am old

    and start to wear purple!

  • Jenny Joseph, I believe, written when she was around 29:

    barbados.org/poetry/wheniam...

  • Correct

  • Toci ..I love this ...I almost got a ASBO as I was shouting in the chemist ,they shut me in a room...anxiety.....I've always been in trouble ,as I don't conform very well ,I'm a free spirit!, rock on!!

  • Full conformity is soooooo boring. Long may free spirits live!

  • I too feel this way as an aging baby boomer in a nursing home very often I get the feeling the doctor just gives you an extra tablet to keep you quiet and try to avoid hospital referrals but my birth sign is Leo and Leon like I am if I feel I am not getting the right treatment I speak up for myself and so far this year I have got further than ever in the management of my ill health.

  • Good for you, ant. We need to watch out and check we are getting the treatment we should be getting. Self-management is to be commended.

  • I don't think doctors do it with any real evil intent..., just that they're trained to look at things in a certain way and, like any good shade tree mechanic, they react and make predictions predictably.

    After my last hospitalization, my lung doctor suggested I have a few glasses of wine per night as it's good 'for what ails you'; also another doctor tried to get me on a statin drug for my cholesterol which is a bit high.

    Both of these, wine and statins, have an adverse effect on muscle tone and, especially when you're an 'old geezer', are not something I felt very secure about ingesting.

    Instead, I take Niacin (nicotinic acid), vitamin C and watch my diet for the cholesterol with good effect and, as far as the wine, I assured the good doctor that in my life, I'd absorbed more vino than him and any three of his buddies combined.

    He smirked and gave me an "oh well, I tried" shrug and that's where it is now. For the last two years I've been completely alcohol free for the first time since my mid teens and for the past nearly 6 years, tobacco free since the same early age.

    Sometimes it pays to go with your gut feeling.

  • I know just one tablet on top of another then another,before you know it you've got many more things wrong with you,docs think they are doing their job....NO....filling us with more drugs ,keep pharmacuticals in big buisness get paid on how many people they can get addicted. Absolute crap!

  • Love it Toci. I decided when I was 60 earlier this year I was going to do exactly what I wanted. I now sit at the front of the bus regardless of who gets on! I stick my tongue out at bus drivers who don't wait for me and I refuse to jump out of the way of young people who walk into me. I stand there and glare at them :)

    I have always danced and sang in pubs when I got the chance and drink what I want. I still play darts and always will and I wear what I want regardless of others. I laugh as much as I want to (a lot) and if men or anyone treat me as invisible I just speak louder so they can't ignore me :d

    Wow betide anyone who tells me to shut up..... ha ha ha

    Might have to get a purple hat now! x

  • I don't think you need one!! :)

  • :) :) x

  • Kindred spirits....... xx

  • Hmm set my mind whirling. I'm almost white haired and my husband often says "why don't you dye it?". I wonder maybe I will, pink and purple. Oh the look on his face would be worth it.

  • A temp dye of outrageous colour would serve him a good laugh surely Suzy?

  • Morning Rib, Ha ha going hairdressers this week will ask her what's available. Hope you are OK today. Take care xx

  • OMG! please Suzy don't join the purple rinse brigade they are like witches on wheels sat on their Madge mobiles over here in Southport. :D xxx

  • Excellent post - thank you.The mind is so powerful and is largely untapped! :)

  • Thanks sirjames I often get curios like these in my email and the better ones I now share this one has not only run its course but is still going on thanks folks for all your comments. :D

  • very interesting thank you xx

You may also like...