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Mind/Body Connection: "You're only as old as you think you are."

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posted on Nov, 12 2009 @ 01:18 PM
I did a search on the reversal of the aging process and found lots of interesting stuff here on ATS, but didn't come across this article anywhere, so I thought I'd give it a post of its own.

From Newsweek, April of this year: "Can we reverse aging by changing how we think?"

From the article:

We mindlessly accept negative cultural cues about disease and old age, and these cues shape our self-concepts and our behavior. If we can shake loose from the negative clichés that dominate our thinking about health, we can "mindfully" open ourselves to possibilities for more productive lives even into old age.

The studies discussed in the article are from a Harvard psychologist; as such, the "findings" are all about how changing our attitudes toward aging can free us from some of the expected consequences of getting older. Sort of like saying, "if you don't believe it, it isn't real."

But I'm a firm believer in the idea that one of modern science's biggest challenges is understanding the relationship between the supposedly non-physical mind and the physical body that gives rise to it (some say the mind is merely physical as well, but I prefer the term "emergent" to describe the conscious mind--that is, fundamentally irreducible to its mere physicality).

I think it's neat that this idea is being studied, but I wish it wasn't still relegated to the field of PSYCHOLOGY! Where are the physicists, for instance? If thoughts alone can seemingly add vitality or longevity to the physical body, why don't more people freak out over the implications of that fact?

I know it is being studied--I read as much as I can on it. But the "hard problem" of consciousness, as it's called, never quite seems to make it to the point where our mainstream scientists acknowledge that there is an enormous and interesting problem at the intersection of mind and body, and that it is one that we know little to nothing of value about.

I'll end with this observation/prediction: The future of science lies in investigating the relationship between consciousness and matter.

posted on Nov, 12 2009 @ 02:00 PM
This bit:

Consider another of Langer's mindfulness studies, this one using an ordinary optometrist's eye chart. That's the chart with the huge E on top, and descending lines of smaller and smaller letters that eventually become unreadable. Langer and her colleagues wondered: what if we reversed it? The regular chart creates the expectation that at some point you will be unable to read. Would turning the chart upside down reverse that expectation, so that people would expect the letters to become readable? That's exactly what they found. The subjects still couldn't read the tiniest letters, but when they were expecting the letters to get more legible, they were able to read smaller letters than they could have normally. Their expectation—their mindset—improved their actual vision.

I think is more a result of our tendency to process 'top down' or whatever the phrase is. It kind of influences our perception, we form schemas of what we expect to see and our senses lazily fit in with this, meaning we aren't using our senses to the full. It seems the experiment has reversed or undone the schema.

The main bit about ageing... it's interesting. Kind of reinforces the idea of self fulfilling prophecies.
I always got the impression the physicists stayed away from the psychology side of things because it struggles to be a specifically measurable science... However I have noted that many people in the field of psychology also practise other sciences.

Nice article, good find.

posted on Nov, 12 2009 @ 02:41 PM
In order for this to work, the body has to be "absolutely convinced"(that is, you have to force it to think in survival mode, as in "if I don't make these changes, I will die, like the giraffe that needs to grow its neck longer to reach the fruit to survive, or the Darwin's finches' beaks) that being young is advantageous. Also, a lot of people have to think that way. This increases the chance of a mutation that slows down aging in the cell. However, it will be the next generation that benefits, because currently, the body doesn't have the information to express the genes as a phenotype instantaneously.

[edit on 12-11-2009 by np6888]

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