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According Dr. Bergquist, an assistant professor at Emory University School of Medicine, thinking negatively about aging can have detrimental effects. Dr. Bergquist tells of five studied effects that positive thinking can do for your health in her recent CNN article.
1. Live Longer
According to a 2001 study done by Harvard and Yale researchers that spanned 22.6 years, participants that held a positive attitude toward aging lived an extra 7.5 years. Additionally, the study found that perceptions toward aging influences life span more than blood pressure, cholesterol, body-mass index, and activity level.
2. Reduce Disability
The Ohio Longitudinal Study of Aging and Retirement which was published in the Journal of Gerontology: Psychological, found that participants that had a brighter outlook on aging had a greater ability to carry out daily activities over 18 years, regardless of their ability in the beginning of the study.
3. Prevention Care
In the 2004 Ohio Longitudinal Study of Aging and Retirement, participants that perceived aging more positively were more likely take care of themselves, such as physical exams, eat better, and take prescriptions as directed.
4. Boost Memory
The fear of losing something may cause you to lose it. The Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, the longest-running study of memory and aging, found that expecting memory loss might contribute to actual memory loss. A study that spanned 28 years found that 60-year-old participants held negative views and stereotypes toward mental aging had an increased 30.2% chance of decreased memory.
5. Cardiovascular Health
According to the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, young adults who kept negative age stereotypes were more likely to suffer a cardiovascular experience the next 38 years. But the study found that participants that changed their view on aging from a negative one to a positive one reduced their risk of suffering a cardiovascular experience by 80%.
Dr. Bergquist’s article pushes the idea that self-fulfilling prophecies are connected to health. Whether a person views his or her future full of life, vigor, and tenacity, or disability, cognitive decline, and suffering may depend on perception alone.
Source: Dr. Sharon Horesh Bergquist, CNN HEALTH, “Five Powerful Benefits of “Pro-Aging” Thinking,” (January 2, 2015). http://www.cnn.com/2015/01/02/health/age-self-fulfilling-prophecy/index.html?hpt=he_c1
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