A new study by researchers at the University of Toronto has proven that when you feel negatively about aging you age faster. But there are some great ways to slow the aging process too.
Reporting on the findings from a new study into the psychology of aging, Alison Chasteen [professor of the University of
Toronto’s Department of Psychology] says, “People’s feelings about getting older influence their sensory and cognitive functions. Those feelings are often rooted in stereotypes about getting older and comments made by those around them that their hearing and memory are failing.”
The results of the research suggest that your attitude towards aging directly affects your aging rate.
To prove this, researchers examined three variables — self-perceptions of one’s abilities to hear and remember, views on aging, and one’s actual performance of both memory and hearing. This is the first time research has been conducted on this three factors in combination.
301 adults between 56 and 96 completed series of hearing tests and recall tests and ask a series of questions relating to their views on aging and about how they fet about their own hearing and memory abilities, including questions like “Are you good at hearing names?” and “Can you easily converse over the phone?” They were also asked to imagine a series of scenarios—such as being blamed for a car accident because of their age—and were asked how much each question concerned them. These questions measured how positively or negatively individuals felt about their age.
The results showed a direct correlation between attitude and hearing and memory functions. “Those who held negative views about getting older and believed they had challenges with their abilities to hear and remember things, also did poorly on the hearing and memory tests,” said Chasteen…. There is a strong correlation between the two when a negative view
impacts an individual’s confidence in the ability to function.”
Chasteen stated that when measuring an elderly person’s cognitive functions it is imperative to consider how they feel about their age, because their attitude will have a direct affect on their performance. “Changing how older adults feel about themselves could improve their abilities to hear and remember.”
The problem is that there are so many negative stereotypes about aging and these affect the way elderly people feel about themselves. Constantly hearing that they are inferior or incapable will directly affect their functions.
But there are answers. The key is to help elderly people to achieve a positive mental attitude about their age. This will slow the aging rate.
One way to slow the aging rate is to replace negative attitudes with positive ones. And one of the best ways to achieve that is through Vipassana Meditation, which you can read about it our Practical Guide To Mindfulness and Meditation,
But the science is clear. A negative attitude will affect an elderly individual’s hearing and memory functions, where a positive attitude will improve hose functions and slow the aging rate.