When you imagine the possibility of living to the age of 100, do you feel dread or excitement? Most people shutter at the thought of living past 90, because we are surrounded by bleak stereotypes about aging.
Studies have consistently shown that these perceptions may well create a self-fulfilling prophecy. Middle-aged people who have negative views of aging die an average of 7.5 years earlier than those with positive outlooks. This finding holds even when the effects of health and socioeconomic variables are removed. Other commonly targeted health risks, such as smoking and sedentary lifestyle, only make an average 1 – 3 years lifespan difference. Outlook seems to have the most dramatic impact upon longevity of all known factors.
Be sure to develop your Optimistic Aging Mindset. One of the best ways to foster your positive outlook is by actively seeking Optimistic Aging Role Models. One of my favorites is Martha Loats. At 92 years old, she has a more adventuresome life than most young adults.
Your next 5 minutes will be well-spent enjoying Martha’s humor and gusto for life, as she coaxes her reluctant host into the air to go skydiving. Martha will show you that age need not slow us down. Watching this video might just add months to your life by boosting your Optimistic Aging Mindset!
Expect to age well. Contrary to popular belief, most older people are physically and cognitively capable, and are happier than they were during midlife. Going forward, keep an eye out for other Optimistic Aging Role Models, people who are living long and vigorous lives. Once you begin looking for them, you will see that they are all around you.
Keep adding to your bucket list (skydiving, anyone?) and be open to the possibility that your most exciting years can be ahead of you. Watch for inspiring older adults to show you what is possible and to support your Optimistic Aging Mindset.