Redefining Aging: Can we will ourselves to feel younger?

Redefining aging: Can we will ourselves to feel younger?

Is aging just a state of mind?

I really enjoyed this article, What if Age Is Nothing but a Mind-Set?, published on NYTimes.com. The piece focuses on the studies of psychologist Ellen Langer in which she investigates the effect of recall and perception on various ailments (including old age, cancer, colds, diabetes, weight loss and eyesight). Spoiler alert: Majorly awesome things happen in our physical being when we change our perception of it. The author cites Langer in saying, “If people could learn to be mindful and always perceive the choices available to them…, they would fulfill their potential and improve their health.” That’s definitely what energy workers would say!

Perception is based on conditioning

In energy work we’d say our thoughts can shape our emotions, and our emotions can shape our physical state of vitality or dis-ease. (See: Langer’s studies for great examples.) What I find so fascinating is that our beliefs about ourselves aren’t the only things that can influence our wellbeing; our belief about things outside of ourselves can also impact how we are affected by them. At first this might not seem so novel; but when you really think about it, it’s kind of mind-blowing. How many ways do we let our belief about what’s ‘really going on’ directly impact our perception of what’s going on?

Will can be as strong as medication

study that came out last month on antidepressants indicates “[p]eople’s expectations about how effective their antidepressant medication is going to be almost entirely predicts their response to it, such that giving patients a placebo pill [i.e. inactive substance] as active therapy during an 8-week period results in very similar reductions in symptoms….” The NYTimes.com article goes on to write, “Placebo effects have already been proven to work on the immune system. But [Langer’s] study could show for the first time that they work in a different way — that is, through an act of will.”

Willing to grow young thru thought and recall

Italian neuroscientist, Fabrizio Benedetti, suggests it may be possible that “the placebo responses in the immune system are attributable to unconscious classical conditioning.” If that’s true, there’s hope for us yet! There are countless therapies available to assist in changing your conditioning and to reassert healing. Top contenders that come to mind for me include meditation, affirmations, Reiki, counseling (if you’re interested more in application than discussion, look into Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), and hypnotherapy.

Your practice

Want to challenge your definition of aging? Consider reading the writing of author Ellen Wood. Through her personal experience reversing the clock on aging through affirmations and the Law of Attraction, she encourages others to do the same with books titled “Growing Younger with the Law of Attraction” and “Think and Grow Young: Powerful Steps to Create a Life of Joy.” She also has a blog, Talk Back with Ellen Wood. I met Ellen while I was living in Taos, NM – and I can tell you her enthusiasm is contagious!

 

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