Stereotypes About Aging May Become Self-Fulling Prophesies If We Believe Them

Stereotypes About Aging May Become Self-Fulling Prophesies If We Believe Them

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According to Research, people who have a positive perspective when it comes to aging will find themselves living 7.5 years longer than those with a negative viewpoint regarding our older years.

What can we do to improve our perspective? A recent article in the Hartford Courant pointed out that it is not always that easy. As we age, our bodies begin to lose some of the capabilities we had when we were younger. We can’t stretch or bend as far as we once could, and no one can look 20 forever (at least not yet). When we feel like we fit a certain stereotype and cannot do as much as we once could, sometimes that leads to negative internal dialogue, and we begin to believe less in ourselves.

Thankfully, there are still things we can do to improve our own personal perspectives on aging.

Patricia Devine from the University of Wisconsin at Madison spoke at a recent National Academies of Sciences' Forum on Aging, Disability and Independence and suggested strategies for improving how we see ourselves.

She suggests embracing new images. Look for people who do not fit the stereotype of aging and include them in your thoughts when you think about the topic.

Devine also suggests that we think more individually and look for solutions, such as what a unique person needs to get through their day, rather than at the perceived limitations that the larger group stereotype may have. When we think of something on a large scale, such as a group of people, it can seem unmanageable. However, in our own day to day lives, we tend to find solutions to problems as they arise. Aging is no different. It does not happen all at once. We have time to adapt, adjust, and find new and better ways of doing things.

Remember, even if it is difficult to find a role model immediately, we can become our own. It is through our own motivation and determination that we have made it this far in life. That drive is an integral and unchanging part of who we are. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Catherine Marucci
Catherine Marucci

A dedicated writer of health, technology, and internet phenomenon news.

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