Our attitude towards daily stressors (i.e. family, work, traffic, money, etc.) is very important when it comes to our health and aging. Chronic stress can increase inflammation, which over time can get our bodies stuck in an inflammatory mode and accelerate aging. In the book MINDSET the new Psychology of Success, Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D. discusses two types of mindsets: fixed mindset and growth mindset and which of them leads to living a longer life.
A fixed mindset is believing that your traits are carved into stone. With this mindset you may become consumed with trying to prove yourself, need validation, often feel rejected, feel judged or you may judge others harshly.
A growth mindset is based in the belief that you can change and grow through application and practice. Embracing this mindset allows you to love what you are doing even in the face of difficulties. You feel an endless curiosity and enjoy exploring your potential. You will be amazed how other support and help you and how you can support and help others.
Other research also supports a growth mindset for longevity. These are just a few examples:
- Dr. Mark Seery, Ph.D. and Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Buffalo, SUNY, has done research on resilience and adversity. “Our findings revealed that a history of some lifetime adversity – relative to both no adversity and high adversity – predicted lower global distress, lower functional impairment, lower PTS symptoms and higher life satisfaction.”
- A study by Yale School of Public Health (Levy BR, Slade MD, Kunkel SR, SV (2002), Journal of Personality and School Psychology apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/psp-832261.pdf) followed 660 men and women from middle age for 20 years. Those with positive views about aging in midlife lived 7.6 years longer.
- Another study followed 4765 people (average age 72), who were dementia-free, for 4 years. 25% of the participants carried the APOE Ɛ4 gene variant which is a high-risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. The gene carriers with positive age beliefs were 49.8% less likely to develop dementia than gene carriers with negative age beliefs! (Yale School of Public Health 2018 study: Levy BR, Slade MD, Pietrzak RH, Ferrucci L (2018) PLoS ONE 13(2) ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29414991).
There are easy and accessible ways you can work to continually set your mindset towards a growth mindset to help you stay young. Exercise along with bodywork (including BodyTalk, Accunect, meditation and mindfulness) can help shift your emotional story and help release your belief and mental habits. Many spiritual practices are also available. You may want to try: Sadguru’s Isha Institute of Inner-sciences, which provides online courses to help transform your life (innerengineering.com or youtu.be/43JcLR1vZiQ) or Deepak Chopra’s online meditation courses (chopracentermeditation.com).
Mindset is everything. We can all be vibrantly young at any age.