gratitude-a-thon day 451: think young, feel better?


Ok, so did you hear about this?

Harvard psych professor, Ellen Langer, did this cool experiment in 1981, with eight men in their 70’s, where she had them go to a converted monastery and told them to act 22 years younger than they were. The building was tricked out in 1959, from earlier photos of the men, to Perry Como on the radio and Ed Sullivan on a black and white tv. They were told to totally inhabit themselves in 1959, to be the person they were back then. And guess what, five days later, the group was suppler, had greater manual dexterity, sat taller, and bizarrely their sight had improved. Independent judges said they even looked younger. As Langer said of the subjects, “They had put their mind in an earlier time, and their bodies went along for the ride.”

Does this mean I should be wearing the leggings of the late 90’s (hey, come to think of it, I am wearing leggings of the late 90’s), and bangs, listening to Natalie Merchant, struggling with infertility, immersing myself in advertising, watching “Seinfeld” and “Mad About You” (avoiding “Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman” and “Law & Order”)? Maybe. Because don’t you think this is wildly interesting news (even though it’s sort of old news, but it just came out in this fascinating NYT magazine article).

Seems to me what it does mean, is that trying to maintain a young attitude must be good for your health. Maybe not re-decorating the whole house in an earlier era, but trying to do some of the things you did when you were not as old as you are now, and most importantly, trying to really remember  the inner feeling of what it was like to be younger.

Maybe Peter Pan had it right. I’m cueing up ‘Sex and The City” right now.

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