April 23, 2022 New York Times article refers to study that found that median survival was seven and a half years longer for those with the most positive beliefs about aging

I recently came across an April 23, 2022 New York Times article which includes the following quote, which I found intriguing enough to take some time off from other work in order to write the current post; the quote reads:

The study found that median survival was seven and a half years longer for those with the most positive beliefs about aging, compared with those having the most negative attitudes.

The April 23, 2022 New York Times article is entitled: “Exploring the Health Effects of Ageism: Through more than three decades of research, the Yale psychologist Becca Levy has demonstrated that age discrimination can take years off one’s life.”

This is a great article; I accessed it through the Toronto Public Library website; as a resident of Stratford, I pay an annual fee to be a member of the library. The TPL is a tremendously valuable resource as is the public library in Stratford where I live.

One of my previous posts, from April 22, 2018, is entitled: Counterclockwise (2009) and Memory Fitness (2004) are two evidence-based resources addressing the passage of the years

I mention the previous post because the book Counterclockwise (2009) came to mind for me at once when I read the above-noted New York Times article. An excerpt from the April 22, 2018 post reads:

Counterclockwise (2009)

A book with a good overview of relevant research in this general area is: Counterclockwise: Mindful Health and the Power of Possiblity (2009).

A blurb (which I’ve broken into shorter paragraphs, for ease of online reading) at the Toronto Public Library website, for the latter study, reads:

If we could turn back the clock psychologically, could we also turn it back physically? For more than thirty years, award-winning social psychologist Ellen Langer has studied this provocative question, and now, in Counterclockwise, she presents the answer: Opening our minds to what’s possible, instead of presuming impossibility, can lead to better health–at any age.

Drawing on landmark work in the field and her own body of colorful and highly original experiments – including the first detailed discussion of her “counterclockwise” study, in which elderly men lived for a week as though it was 1959 and showed dramatic improvements in their hearing, memory, dexterity, appetite, and general well-being – Langer shows that the magic of rejuvenation and ongoing good health lies in being aware of the ways we mindlessly react to social and cultural cues.

Examining the hidden decisions and vocabulary that shape the medical world (“chronic” versus “acute,” “cure” versus “remission”), the powerful physical effects of placebos, and the intricate but often defeatist ways we define our physical health, Langer challenges the idea that the limits we assume and impose on ourselves are real. With only subtle shifts in our thinking, in our language, and in our expectations, she tells us, we can begin to change the ingrained behaviors that sap health, optimism, and vitality from our lives. Improved vision, younger appearance, weight loss, and increased longevity are just four of the results that Langer has demonstrated.

Immensely readable and riveting, Counterclockwise offers a transformative and bold new paradigm: the psychology of possibility. A hopeful and groundbreaking book by an author who has changed how people all over the world think and feel, Counterclockwise is sure to join Mindfulness [another book by same author] as a standard source on new-century science and healing.

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