ACT YOUR AGE
How often have you heard someone say:
Act Your Age? The only problem is, it's not that easy to know
your age. Of course you have a chronological age and
that's easy. You simply count the years since you were
born. But that's not the whole story. Different
organs, tissues, systems move along at different rates so
individuals can be, on average, young, old or just right for
their chronological age. Then there's the question of how
old you feel and think you are.
A psychology professor at Harvard
University decided to test the extent to which the mind can
effect the body. She gathered a group of men from 75 to 85 and
took them out to an isolated resort where they lived in the
world as it was two decades earlier. Books, magazines and
TV shows were all twenty years old. The past had been
recreated as carefully and in as much detail as possible while
current events and everything in the present was kept outside
the resort. The subjects, in effect, had their minds
turned back to the time in which they lived a generation
The results were more than just
surprising. Before and after testing showed that the
subject's physical senses had improved. The men had
sharper vision and hearing. Their physical strength had
also improved and they actually looked and felt younger.
Objective observers were shown photos of the subjects that were
taken when the experiment started and when it ended. They
said the men did indeed appear to be more youthful in the second
picture and remember that the observers didn't know the order in
which the pictures had been taken.
In another experiment, subjects were
asked how old they felt and then given a strength test.
The researcher told them they had done better than 80% of the
people their age. This wasn't true but the subjects
believed it and when retested they reported feeling younger and
scored higher on the strength test.
There have been many such experiments
that demonstrate a connection between the power of the mind and
the state of the body but does that mean that thinking good
thoughts is enough to result in anything more than feeling good
feelings? Can it be shown, for example, that there are
measurable physiological changes? In other words, does thinking
younger really result in being younger?
Look At It This Way
Biological aging is a fact that
researchers can't refute. Humans generally do show greater
signs of wear and tear at 80 than they do at 40. However,
it can also be shown that those signs vary greatly between
specific individuals. Some people really are younger or older
that their age would suggest and relevant research points more
and more to the power of the mind as the determining factor.
So the next time you're told to Act Your Age just remember
You're Only As Old As You Feel.