Posted in Health Care
Until yesterday, I had no idea who Ellen Langer was. Now, I find myself wanting to purchase her forthcoming book, CounterClockwise, along with some of her other books, including Mindfulness and The Power of Mindful Learning.
My fascination began when I stumbled across this article in Newsweek entitled ”Just Say No to Aging,” which profiles her new book. Two items, in particular, caught my attention. First, a group of men were asked to imagine that it was 20 years earlier. This, however, was no ordinary exercise. The men were actually taken to isolated retro-fitted New England hotel and instructed to act as though they were two decades younger. (Party like it’s 1989!)
Langer’s findings were amazing. After just one week the men in the experimental group had more joint flexibility, increased dexerity and less arthritis in their hands. In other words, just by thinking they were younger they felt younger!
This is not an isolated example. According to this article, Langer conducted a similar experiment with hotel chambermaids. The maids were separated into two groups. Both groups did the exact same work only one group believed they were getting exercise with their work while the other group didn’t. The group that thought they were exercising not only lost more weight, they also experienced a drop in blood pressure.
Both studies strongly suggest that people need only “unlearn” their mindset in order to experience real changes in their health. Or, as I wrote in my book, Jump the Curve, people need to ”stop acting their age.”
Related posts on unlearning: