December 5, 2014

thinking and agingWhat if there was a way you could shift your mindset to an earlier time and your body could follow? In the 1980s, a young social psychologist by the name of Ellen Langer attempted just that scenario.

She set up a “time warp” for a small group of late 70-year-olds, taking them back to 1959. These eight men lived in a converted monastery for five days, and everything—from the furniture to the technology to the music playing—screamed 1959. Despite their actual ages, the men were treated like 20-somethings; they discussed movies and political events of the late 1950s, and even played an impromptu round of flag football. After five days, they showed greater dexterity, they sat taller and their eyesight improved.

Even though this study is a few decades old, it still rings true that the mind’s connection to the body is a powerful one. In fact, The New York Times recently published an article about Langer, and CBS News interviewed Langer about reversing the effects of aging with your mental attitude.

Langer, known as the mother of mindfulness, continues to study the mind-body-aging relationship today, with a focus on mindful aging. She is the author of 11 books and more than 200 research articles on mindfulness. You can read up on her research through The Langler Mindfulness Institute site.

Staying active mentally and socially can help the senior in your life live a longer, more fulfilled life. If you’re seeking information on how to help loved ones maintain their independence at home and keep their minds sharp and social skills active, contact Continuum in St. Louis, Missouri.