Your Positive Attitude Towards Aging Can Add 7.5 Years to Your Life
Age is just a number, and numerous stories and records are available to prove that being old is only from the person’s perspective; it does not make the person weaker in any aspect. Becca Levy is a well-known psychologist specializing in senior people’s psychology. She has done several types of research and conducted many studies to identify psychological factors that affect older people’s cognitive and physical functioning and how they influence their longevity.
Levy was one of the pioneers to create a field of study that concentrates on how negative and positive stereotypes derived from the culture can have adverse and beneficial effects, respectively, on older individuals’ mental and physical health. She has won numerous awards for conducting longitudinal, cross-culture, and experimental studies.
Breaking the age code
She recently launched her new book “Breaking the Age Code: how your beliefs about aging determine how long and well you live.” In this book, she has included the gist of her years-long studies, interviews, and research she has conducted over her life. And according to this book, people can add 7.5 years to their lives by just carrying a positive attitude towards aging as people with positive thinking recover soon from severe disabilities, remember things better, perform physical functions faster, and live longer.
She mentioned that the US is going through a silver tsunami or gray wave because there are more older adults above 65 and children below five. And in the US, old age is stereotyped as weak; it is treated as inevitable, meaning decline, forgetfulness, and weakness. This stereotyping increases negativity among older people, resulting in more health issues. However, people who are confident and optimistic are still doing well in their respective occupations and are seeking less medical treatment.
According to Becca Levy, all people hold positive aspects for themselves; it’s just that they need to activate them, embrace positivity from their inner self, and enjoy their golden years of life. To strengthen her stand, she mentioned real-life examples of people who live their old lives to the fullest rather than hopelessly resting in bed.
Marathons are for all ages.
Sister Madonna Bruder is known as an “iron nun,” as she has participated in more than 350 triathlons since the age of 48. She was inspired by her father, who continued to exercise and play sports during his old age days. She started running after her priest’s suggestion to harmonize mind, body, and soul, which soon became her passion. She did not quit it as she began to age, but she embraced it well and recently won a triathlon at 91. Before this, at 82, she won the current world record for the oldest lady to complete an Ironman Triathlon.
Another old woman with similar energy to Iron Nun, Wilhelmina Delco, won the title of “the old lady who swims at the Y” at the age of 90. She started swimming at the age of 80.
Embrace brain exercise
The brain is like any other muscle in the body, requiring constant exercise to be flexible and robust irrespective of age. John Basinger, an American gentleman, at the age of 60, aimed to memorize all of John Milton’s poems “Paradise Lost,” which consist of more than 60,000 words. He accomplished his goal in 8 years and performed it over a 3-day marathon recital. At age 84, he still remembers it with some more poems.
Aging calls for celebrations
The world’s oldest Japanese lady, Kane Tanaka, celebrated her 119th birthday on 2nd January; she broke the previous records of old age people and posted her celebration on Twitter with the help of her great-granddaughter. As per CNN, she continued working at her husband’s rice shop until she was 103. In Japan, she is treated like a celebrity because, according to Japanese culture, old age is something to enjoy as a fact of being alive, rather than something to fear or resent.
It can be concluded that our physical and cognitive health does not deteriorate with age. It is not the number that matters. It is the inner self-perspective that affects health. Hence, holding positive affirmations can drastically improve the quality of life in old age.
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