Science Supports: Age Is A State Of Mind

Wisdom Quote Leads To Experiment

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.”

This quote inspired me so much that I spent most of my time at a recent party listening to what people spoke about.  A mix of approximately 100 Boomers and others over the age of 45, who knew each other pretty well, divided themselves into groups. I listened in on 3 group conversations. One group, mostly of women, discussed the accomplishments and the life events, of their children and grandchildren. They never spoke about themselves.

The next group, including men and women, watched the first group and spoke in hushed voices. They gossiped about the first group of women and their kids. For example, one child was into drugs and the mother was so clueless all she could see was that the girl was getting good grades. For me there was one huge similarity between the two groups. They never shared about themselves. I thought they must be hiding behind their chatter and bravado. There is a kind of bond and community when someone is impressed with whatever you say, no matter how critical or boastful.

The third group, actually left the living room where the other two groups were talking. About 11 men and women sat in a small cozy den with the door halfway open. The age ranged between 45 and 75. Some were leaning against the wall, others sat on a couch, or in chairs, still others sat on the floor. As I came in, it was very quiet because everyone was listening to a friend of mine, who is in his 70s, as he told a story. I pulled up a chair to listen too. He was talking about Harvard psychologist Ellen Langer’s famous study. She took a bunch of elderly men in their late 70s and early 80s and relocated them to an isolated house somewhere in the woods. The house was remodeled and redesigned so that everything about it indicated it was 20 years earlier. Everything from the TV shows, music, clothes and decor was from that earlier time. The men were told not to ever discuss or fantasize about the past. Instead they were told to pretend they’d traveled back in time.

The purpose of this was to discover how these changes affected their their health and fitness. After only a week, they had more joint flexibility, dexterity, and less arthritis in their hands. Their mental acuity had increased measurably. Even their gait and posture improved. The ideas being my friend described were so fascinating no one moved as the man spoke. The room was quiet right until he said. “The aging process had been significantly reversed”.

Reacting To The Number

It left me pondering ways I could change my life.  I realized thoughts about aging could be subtle. I had long ago accepted the idea age that was only in the mind. Yet, suddenly, I realized something I didn’t know that I didn’t know.  My attitude had actually shifted when I  reached my last birthday. The number itself triggered a mental search in the form of a question. Every time I forgot something, I wondered whether or not I had dementia. Yet,  I noticed, when I concentrate, I do retain new information. In midlife, I had just gotten lazy. This was familiar ground. It was in high school, when I realized for the first time, that I needed to pay attention, if I wanted to get good grades. It was an old script and I was just doing it again.

Be a member of Eleanor Roosevelt’s great mind club. Be brave enough to question your old ideas about being “old” or “older”. You might learn you’re talking yourself into old age. Aging backwards is possible, just by paying attention to your thoughts and ideas. Notice that in our core you are still young. Notice this is who you are.

 

Interview With Jackie Silver

Midlife Cafe Interviews Jackie Silver

Jackie Silver is a phenomenon! She is an expert in the field of staying young. Fortunately, she shares her secrets, tips and shortcuts in her book, Aging Backwards: Secrets to Staying Young; and on her Web site, http://AgingBackwards.com, on TV and radio, in print and in person. She is a frequent television news guest, one half of The Ageless Sisters radio show, a newspaper columnist and contributor to numerous web sites, including three columns on Examiner.com. She also appears in dozens of videos on Livestrong.com and eHow.com. Jackie is sought-after as an anti-aging and beauty expert by the media. Jackie’s insights are an inspiration to all of us. So let’s get started.

1. Midlife Cafe: Hi Jackie: You truly have a unique way of empowering women. How did you get started?

Jackie Silver: Hi and thank you so much for inviting me! It is such an honor to be here! How I got started empowering women is a loooong story, wink, but it was born from my desire to help anyone who is interested, join me in staying young and healthy. I’ve always been the one that my family, friends and their friends come to for advice, when it comes to health and staying young. I guess they all know that I like to stay on the “cutting edge” of what’s new and what’s available. I have also made friends with many of the world’s anti-aging “gurus,” scientists and doctors, so you get the fresh info first from me.

2. MC: Your story is very exciting. How can the average woman become more like you?

JS: Well, the good news is…I AM the average woman! It’s easier than people think to stay young and healthy. All it takes is incorporating a few good habits into your life (and possibly removing some not-so-good ones), but making it a point to do these every single day!

3. MC: What’s the first advice you would give a woman who is just starting to take care of herself?

JS: Everyone is in a different place – someone who is “just starting to take care of herself” might be in her 20s or in her 60s. No matter where you are, the most important thing to remember is you should do what works for you, what you can comfortably fit into your day and what resonates with you. If I were to “generalize,” I would have to say start a workout routine immediately, if you are not already exercising consistently. Did you know you could exercise just 12 minutes a day and get a great result? This works: Dr. Al Sears’ MD’s PACE Express program.

4. MC: Your transformation from age 12 is remarkable. How do you explain that?

JS: Ah, Age 12…Well, yes, I sometimes say I “invented” childhood obesity. I was very overweight at a time when most people – adults and children alike – were at the correct weight for their frames. Regarding my “transformation,” as you describe it, I spent my childhood yo-yo dieting, which is probably one of the worst things a child can do, but luckily I was able to take charge of my eating, exercising and my weight by the time I was in my 20s.

5. MC: You have great tips on everything from beauty and fitness to nutrition and makeup on your website. How do you find time to stay fit and do all this research?

JS: I am blessed with excellent organizational skills…okay, not really!  I am an avid “list maker.” If you saw all my lists, you might even think I suffer from Hypergraphia, but rest assured I don’t. Keeping lists not only keeps me organized and on-track, it also provides me with extra satisfaction when I can cross off the “done” items. Also, I am very disciplined when it comes to scheduling fitness. I don’t make “all the usual excuses,” such as: “I’m too tired,” “It’s too late,” “I’ll do it tomorrow,” “I worked out yesterday,” “I didn’t eat that much today…” the list goes on.

6. MC: At what age should a woman start following your advice?

JS: Well, interestingly, I don’t consider myself an “advice giver.” I am an imparter of information. I provide the information and the resources, conveniently, all in one place (AgingBackwards.com) and let people decide for themselves what fits into their lives. That’s one of the secrets to Aging Backwards. Stress causes aging and illness. Eliminate as much stress from your life as you possible can and you will be much better off. If your routine for staying young stresses you out, it cancels itself out. Here’s a little tip to help: Next time you find yourself worrying and stressing about something, tell yourself over and over, “90 percent of everything I worry about NEVER happens.” You’d be surprised at how that little affirmation can go a long way toward making you feel better.

7. MC: Can you be too old to start “aging backwards”?

JS: You’re never too old to start aging backwards! I even like to say you’re never too young either! I started working out consistently and deliberately at age 17 and I have never stopped for more than six weeks (to have a baby, wink).

8. MC: If a woman is over 65, where is the best place to start?

JS: The best place to start at any age, is to visit the Web site AgingBackwards.com and sign up for my free newsletter. The great news is you don’t get just me – you get a whole panel of experts in your inbox, including Dr. Al Sears, M.D. (anti-aging guru).

Thanks again for inviting me!!

This has been great Jackie! Your website and Twitter posts are fun and easy to follow. In fact, you are amazing. Thank you for devoting your time to helping us feel and look younger!