Few people like to call themselves old. At 40, we savor articles that consider this age as the new thirties. At 70, it is hoped that medical advances will increase our life expectancy. Old age is a reality that we often refuse to face. Can we delay it with a positive attitude? It is quite possible, according to the latest studies conducted on this subject echoed by the BBC.
In 2003, researchers Hannah Kuper and Michael Marmot conducted the Whitehall II study among 10,000 civil servants working in London. As part of this research, they posed the following question to participants: “When does old age begin?” Researchers found that people who thought old age started early were more likely to have a heart attack, suffer from heart disease or be in poor health six to nine years after answering the question. physics in general. Thus, Kuper and Marmot established that the age attributed to old age would have consequences on the way we age.
Imagining that old age begins later would allow individuals to seek to maintain good physical shape, preserve their health and behave in a younger way. Conversely, wanting to age too soon would denote a certain form of fatalism, and individuals would then be less inclined to seek help to solve their health problems or to adopt healthier habits. In addition, conforming to stereotypes of the older person may increase other problems, such as losing reliance on memory.
Keep a positive image of old age
This is not the only study carried out on this subject. Becca Levy, a professor at the Yale School of Public Health, interpreted the results of the Ohio Longitudinal Study of Aging and Retirement, conducted on more than a thousand people aged 50 or over. Those who had expressed a positive idea about their own aging lived an average of twenty-three years after their participation in the study. On the other hand, those who had expressed negative ideas about this prospect lived only fifteen years longer. According to Susanne Wurm, professor at the University of Greifswald, the problem “is not so much to think about the negative consequences that old age causes; what matters is above all to want to continue to develop and grow mentally despite an advanced age”.
However, it should be understood that this research does not mean that a positive state of mind alone can be enough to slow down the aging process. Nevertheless, an elderly person who suffers should not give up on being in better health. If we adopt this attitude, we are likely to live longer and enjoy these years.