What we think will happen, happens.  As we grow older, we become what we think we will become.

A lifespan difference of 7.5-years is the impact of how we think about how we age.  This is the research findings of Yale University Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Psychology Becca Levy based on her past 20 years of research.  Positivity versus negativity impacts how we live and our will to live.

The Journal of the American Medical Association suggests older adults who hold an optimistic attitude are 44 percent more likely to recover when dealing with a potentially chronic illness or condition.  It’s what happens with the energy that comes from a positive perspective.  It motivates us to make choices more likely to include exercise, eating and drinking for health, and more active socialization.  Positive self-awareness leads to choices that are more life sustaining.

One of the hopeful aspects of being human is our ability to think, and re-think.  We are resilient in ways that are astonishing.  This isn’t just for the young at heart, it is for anyone at any age who chooses to examine their beliefs about life and aging.  It is possible to revise ones thinking and improve one’s life.

It’s a misconception to think aging makes a person more set in their ways.  Now, more than ever, as 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day, we embrace a population of people who have been introduced to a lifetime of significant changes in how we think.  The average 65 year-old was born into a home or community where someone had a wireless radio.  From their early childhood through today this person has lived through the introduction of the TV, VCR, Internet, Email, MacBook, iPad, all the way to Androids.  “Set in their ways” does not seem logical when so many of today’s 65 year olds were in some way involved with work that supported developing this astounding and ongoing technology.

When the normal changes that come with aging happen, it is our attitude that will predict how we make the transition from younger to older.  Our life experiences, and how we choose to view the world we live in, will hold the greatest impact on how we age.

Ramona Hunt, MS                                                                                                                     Director of Leadership and Development                                                                                                                    Touching Hearts, Inc.

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