I am reading an amazing book I heartily recommend to you. The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Archer. It is filled an enormous amount of truly eye-openng research in the study of happiness.
Dr. Ellen Langer designed a week-long experiment on a group of 75-year old men. The men knew nothing except that they would be on a retreat and could bring along no pictures, newspapers, books or magazines dated later than 1959. When they arrived, the men were gathered into a room and told that for the next week they were to pretend as though it was the year 1959, a year when these men were 55 years young. To reinforce the scenario they were to dress and act like they did at the time and were given ID badges with pictures of themselves in their mid-50’s. They spoke about president Eisenhower and events that had happened at the time as well as their old jobs; all in the present tense. There were Life and Saturday Evening Post issues from 1959 displayed on the coffee tables. In short everything was designed to make them see the world through the lens of being 55 years old.
Langer was out to prove that “mental construction”—the way we see ourselves, has a direct influence on the physical aging process.
Before the retreat the men were tested on every aspect associated with aging; physical strength, posture, perception, cognition and short-term memory.
After the retreat, most of the men had improved in EVERY CATEGORY. They were more flexible, had better posture and much-improved hand strength. Their average eyesight even improved by 10%, as did their performance on tests of memory.
Random people who knew nothing of the experiment were shown pictures of the men both before and after the experiment and asked to guess their age. In these objective ratings the men looked, on average, three years younger after the retreat.
Think about it. These men had actually altered their reality. What do you think about? Do you subscribe to conventional theories that limit you? Langer proved that our external “reality” is far more malleable than many of us think. Your reality is simply waiting for you to shape it to your liking.