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Aging, In the News, Mental Health

The secret to living longer? It’s all in the ‘tude

Those seeking the so-called fountain of youth should start looking inward – turns out attitude can make all the difference in staying healthy and living longer. A recent Chicago Tribune piece highlights various studies that show that developing a positive outlook on the aging process has a significant effect on your overall health and happiness.

Harvard psychologist Ellen Langer, PhD, says that beliefs and expectations are to blame for elderly people setting limits on themselves:

“What we want to do is not get older people to think of themselves as young, but to change their mindsets about what it means to be older.”

Rather than declare failure when they aren’t as nimble on the tennis court or spry on the stairs as they used to be, older people should recognize that anything is still possible; they just may have to try a few different strategies, Langer says.

Laura Carstensen, PhD, founding director of the Stanford Center on Longevity, also points out in the piece that many things get better with age, such as emotional satisfaction, stability and a deeper sense of gratitude:

The misery myth is one of the most pernicious myths, because when you think the future is really bleak you don’t plan. When you think, ‘I’m going to be the coolest 80-year-old and will start a line of clothing for old people,’ there is so much possibility.

Previously Elderly adults turn to social media to stay connected, stave off lonelinessCan good friends help you live longer?, Video from Stanford’s longevity roundtable now available and Experts weigh in on how aging population affects us
Photo by Jeffrey Smith 

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