Sage and respected: Positive words linked to positive outcomes as we grow older

Sage and respected: Positive words linked to positive outcomes as we grow older

Aging is often associated with unpleasant side effects: achy joints, forgetfulness, limited mobility.  But one technique that has proven to make a difference and improve the lived experience of growing older is “positivity”. Psychologist Becca Levy studies the correlation between attitudes towards aging and symptoms of seniority and has found that positivity is linked to improved emotional and even physical wellbeing in those over 65.

In her research, Levy subliminally exposed subjects to either negative words, such as “decline” and “decrepit” or positive words, such as “sage” and “accomplished.” After only a few weeks, the patients given positive reinforcement experienced better physical health in comparison to those in the negative or neutral test groups. 

On a larger scale, this theory applies to how we view the elderly in general. Ageism, or negative prejudice towards the aging, is especially prevalent in Western cultures where we tend to see our elders as…
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