Crack the secret of anti-aging? Expert: With the right attitude, you can live younger and younger, and you can extend your life by up to 7 years! | Vogue Taiwan

Try this: Imagine an elderly person, about the age of your grandparents, and list five adjectives that come to your mind. Are these five positive or negative? This was the question Dr. Becca Levy gave to students on the first day of the Yale Health and Aging course. Becca Levy is a professor of public health and psychology and one of the researchers on the phenomenon of aging in the United States. The students’ answers ranged from “old and confused” and “stubborn” to “walking a lot” and “kindness”, but most of the words were negative, especially the first few adjectives that came to mind.

Becca Levy in her new book Breaking the Age Code: How Your Beliefs About Aging Determine How Long & Well You Live mentioned that this would be a big problem. Research shows that negative cultural beliefs about old age can affect our physical health as we age. She calls it a “negative perception of age.” In other words, fear of getting older can actually lead to physical and cognitive deterioration, making us age faster. Becca Levy even found that your perception of age can increase or decrease your lifespan by seven to seven-and-a-half years. “Society’s perception of age affects our health. When it comes to aging, society is the cause and biology is the effect.”

Dr. Levy said that she does not deny the negative effects of aging, but not all changes are inevitable, and more importantly, we can change our thinking, so as to minimize the impact on ourselves. She put subjects in a positive environment in the lab, effectively improving their sense of balance, memory, and even their will to live.

MORCAMBE, UNITED KINGDOM – JUNE 22: Despite inclement weather pensioners raise a happy smile as they perform the famously British dance of comedians Morcambe and Wise next to a statue of Eric Morcambe, at Morcambe Bayon June 22, 2006, in Morcambe, England. Confidence & Happiness specialist, Scientist Cliff Arnall from the University of Cardiff has identified June 23, 2006 as being the happiest day of the year. His calculations were based on outdoor activity, nature, social interaction, childhood summers, positive memories, temperature and holidays. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

GQ spoke with Dr. Levy about her new book, learning more about her experiments to “find opportunities to extend probation”:

Can you give an example of how positive and negative perceptions of aging differ?

“Intelligent” and “creative” are positive words to describe aging, and “weak”, “old and confused”, and “aging” are negative.

Are American society’s perceptions of age generally negative?

Yes, the good news is that while there are more negative perceptions than positives, most people still have a positive mindset. When we asked, “What do you think about seniors, what are the top five adjectives that come to mind?” we found that the first few words were negative, but by the fourth and fifth words people mentioned positive words .

What are the benefits of getting older for people?

Some studies have pointed out that people’s metacognition will improve, their ability to resolve interpersonal and political conflicts will become stronger, they will be able to deal with problems in a creative way, their mental health will improve, they will understand different emotions better and they are good at adjusting their mentality. It is helpful in later life to be able to evaluate and learn from the different stages of an individual’s life in a meaningful way.

The book mentions that the popular saying that “aging is an inevitable mental and physical decline” is false. Meaning we don’t decline as we age, but in a different way, or is it less pronounced than we think?

There are many indications that growth and progress can be seen in our physical and mental health outcomes, and we have found that with a positive attitude towards aging, the results of research on the “inevitability of aging” will improve, such as age. The memory of the long subjects will improve.

In what ways can we change our established negative stereotypes about aging?

I suggest that people imagine diverse and positive images of older adults, come up with five positive role models, such as elders you admire, grandparents, or even loved ones who are no longer alive, admirable qualities you want to learn, like A sense of humor, work ethic, or social justice.

Negative perceptions of older people, that they are weak or confused, don’t necessarily lead to Alzheimer’s or dementia, but it doesn’t help prevent these symptoms, does it?

My experiments mainly study three mechanisms. First, behavioral mechanisms: People with a positive attitude toward age are more likely to engage in health-beneficial or preventive behaviors, such as healthy eating and exercise. Second, on the psychological level, people with positive attitudes can control their own lives and feel happy. The third is the physiological aspect, stress is a very important reason. We looked at different stress biomarkers and found that people who had positive thoughts about age had lower cardiovascular responses to stress and lower cortisol, a biomarker that reflects stress. That is, having a positive attitude toward age creates beneficial mechanisms that, in turn, reduce the risk of health-promoting, health-detrimental outcomes.

How to prolong life or improve health as we get older should be discussed at the psychological, physical and behavioral levels, right?

This book believes that age perception is an upstream factor, and changing the upstream factor can lead to a chain reaction that affects the downstream. Of course, it is not 100% effective, and a larger structural, social, and cultural background has to be considered. If we improve our attitudes towards age, there will be a chain reaction in the future that has positive effects on various mechanisms and, in turn, on health.

Research Shows Culture’s Pervasive Negative Perceptions of Age Make Us Age Faster? In a way, this cultural background and narrative has accelerated our aging?

That’s right. We also know that these can work unknowingly. It would be important if we could more consciously control or filter the information we receive and question its veracity from moment to moment. At the societal level, it would be ideal if a way could be found to reduce structural ageism.

Can we talk about Botox? Is the growing interest in Botox related to aging and the perception of age?

Indeed, there is growing interest in Botox and various anti-aging beauty treatments. Unfortunately, there are more and more advertisements for beauty treatments targeting young people, and there is a business opportunity to create an ageing scare, a message that contributes to the fear of ageing in society.

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