Are you trying to look and feel younger than the age that’s written on your birth certificate?
There’s no shortage of anti-aging products on the market these days to help. But, there’s something way better than products that just help us cover up the signs of aging.
Because as you’ll see from a fascinating study done years ago, we can actually learn to trick our minds into believing we’re twenty years younger.
And as the study proved, wherever you take your mind, your body follows along.
This study was the first one done of its kind back in 1979. It’s been talked about ever since and has also been recreated through the years.
Psychologist and Harvard Professor Ellen Langer, author of Counter Clockwise, took a group of eight men in their 80’s and placed them in a time warp.
She brought them to a ten-acre country retreat in New Hampshire that was set up as if they were back 20 years ago in 1959.
The furnishings, the food, the tv shows, magazines and everything around them were all staged as if the men were actually living in that year.
On the ride up from Boston to New Hampshire, the bus played a radio broadcast from that year to get them in the mood.
Here’s the key: The participants were told to act as if they were their younger selves.
They were instructed that they couldn’t just remember and reminisce about what it was like back then. They had to actually be living back in that year.
For the entire week, the men could only talk as if they were back in that year. There was to be no reference to any event that happened after 1959.
The week was filled with activities all orchestrated to help them actually live back then.
Continuously playing on the old tv were popular tv shows, news broadcasts, a speech by President Eisenhower, sporting events, and movies – all from that year.
Meanwhile, Langer gathered another group of eight men to stay together nearby for that week. Unlike the first group, these men were told to just reminisce about the good old days back in 1959.
These men were encouraged to talk about those days, but everything in their surroundings were current.
Within days, Langer could see dramatic changes happening to the men who were acting as if they were back in 1959.
Men who were frail days before the experiment were playing a game of touch football on the front lawn on their last day there. Many no longer needed their canes.
Even though both groups of men showed improvements in all areas they were tested on – Langer was surprised, to say the least, at how much better the test scores were for the men who acted as if they actually were twenty years younger.
They showed improvements in physical strength, dexterity, speed of movement, memory, blood pressure, eyesight, hearing and more.
It’s amazing to think that improvements to even things like their eyesight happened in just one week.
As Langer said, “They had put their mind in an earlier time and their bodies went along for the ride.”
A small group of people assigned as independent judges said the acting men looked younger than the reminiscing men.
Acting as if they were young men had knocked years off their bodies and their minds.
Here’s How You Can Apply This in Your Own Life
I’m guessing you don’t have an old barn you can redecorate as if it’s back in the year 2000.
The good thing is you don’t need one.
You don’t actually need to redo your living room to make it look like that year. Or dig up old clothes from back then. Or try and recreate the hairdo you were sportin’.
There are other ways you can start BEING younger from the inside out. And you don’t need to live in a time warp to do so.
First, Is To Realize That It Is Possible And Even Normal To Trick Your Mind
You might be thinking that this wouldn’t work in the real world.
That not only was this an expensive study, but people don’t go around pretending their twenty years younger like this.
But, the truth is we do this kind of thing all the time.
Think of how we might ‘act’ differently when we’re comfortable at home compared to when we’re at work. The differences are usually subtle, but still there.
Or how we might ‘act’ differently when we’re at a formal type of event compared to a fun party with wild friends. What about being in church compared to at that party?
This isn’t being fake. We’re still ourselves in all these places. It’s just us in our multifaceted lives. Life would be pretty boring if not.
And people actually use ‘acting as if’ to make changes in themselves and to reach goals.
Growing, evolving, and reaching goals means becoming a new person in a sense.
As Dr. Joe Dispenza says, in order to create a new personal reality, you need to grow out of your old personality.
So, when you begin ‘pretending’ at times to be twenty years younger, just get comfortable with this. You’re not trying to win an academy award for acting like you’re Scarlet O’hara in Gone With the Wind.
You’re just going to be training your mind and body to be more youthful and active.
And you’re not going to ‘pretend’ you’re younger to impress others. You’re going to do it to impress upon your mind and body a new way you want to be.
‘Acting As If’ Helps Us Get Into Our Operating System
Our subconscious minds are 95% more powerful than our conscious minds. That’s what’s really running the show, so to speak.
We can all relate to this when we’ve tried to change a stubborn habit. We know how hard it can be. That’s because our conscious mind understands what needs to be done, but it’s puny compared to our subconscious mind.
All of our thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and habits are stored in our subconscious mind. More like ingrained there. Kind of stuck like cement – as it can feel like sometimes.
But, when we go all in to make a change – when we don’t just try to change by thinking logical thoughts that only reach our conscious mind and instead put our entire minds and bodies into it – that’s when we’re able to really accomplish things.
This is why, in my opinion, talk therapy can last for years and years with slow progress. Just talking about our problems and trying to solve them logically is only scratching the surface.
And that’s why when you see famous actors and athletes, for example, being interviewed about their success, you hear about the passion it took. That passion is their energy and emotion from deep down.
It not only reprogrammed their subconscious mind, it was the fuel they needed to reach their goals.
Serious, dry logic would have never gotten them to where they are.
Acting as if is a powerful way to start installing new programming into our subconscious mind. It allows us to go all in. It’s like the immersion programs at school.
If you want to learn more about how to get into your subconscious mind to make changes, that’s what this website is all about. And what my books are all about as well.
Here Are Ten Simple Ways to Start Turning Back Time and Feeling Younger
1. Posture Please
Think of what your mother said to you a thousand times. “Sit up straight’.
Isn’t it so true that when we catch ourselves slouching and then fix our posture, we feel better?
This is such a small, but really good way to start feeling younger. If you’ve been slouching more lately because you think that’s just what older people do – Stop that! LOL!
And as we all know, besides feeling more confident, there’s plenty of health benefits to having a better posture.
Also, to really act as if you’re twenty years younger, start walking like you did twenty years ago.
In fact, when no one’s looking, put a little swag in your hips. Soften your shoulders. Arch your back. It’s good exercise for your mind and body.
2. Become Aware of How You Move These Days
This can be tricky, since many people deal with things like arthritis, knees that need to be replaced, joint issues, etc. as they are getting older.
But, start noticing what your movements are like as you go about your days. And see if you can make little tweaks that will get you to start feeling younger. Maybe faster, more open, more fluid movements, for example.
Just like improving your posture, all of these suggestions have benefits to both our minds and our bodies.
3. Get Active
If you already consider yourself an active person, but are still starting to feel old – then get more active.
If you’ve never considered yourself an active person who regularly exercises, there’s no time like the present.
You’re never to ‘old’ to start something new. Especially something that could add years to your life.
4. Don’t Only Be Active At The Gym
Sneak all kinds of beneficial stretches and movements in throughout the day.
The expression we’ve been hearing for years to take the stairs instead of the elevator never gets old. What else can you do like this?
Walking more? Stretching more? Getting up from your desk more? Dancing around more when no one’s looking? Blasting music while you’re cleaning the house? Etc. Etc.
5. Change The Image You Have of Yourself
In tip #3, I mentioned that if you never exercised regularly before, you can start now.
The problem with this is that you don’t have an image in your mind of yourself being a person who exercises. So you have to change that.
You need to start installing this image of yourself as a person who exercises – or else it will be like shoveling dog doo in the wind.
It’s the same with seeing yourself as younger and more energetic.
Spend as little as two minutes a day, closing your eyes and imagining yourself that way.
Our imaginations are so underused. Dust yours off if you need to and start using it in these creative ways.
This is another one of those things that many people get wrong. They think that using our imaginations this way is just silly kid stuff.
But, think of how you used your imagination when you were first dating your husband. That would make you blush, wouldn’t it? LOL!
Or how you used it when you were getting married? Or when you were pregnant and you imagined holding that little baby and then all it’s stages of childhood.
We use our imaginations this way for new jobs and adventures, upcoming trips, all kinds of things. It’s just natural.
You can start regularly using yours to see yourself how you want to start being.
6. Replace “Old” Stereotypes
40’s the new 60 anyway, right?
What images and beliefs could be lurking in the back of your mind about old age?
Growing up, were senior citizens old and decrepit to you? Sometimes the false beliefs we created as young kids are still in there.
Take a few minutes to relax, get quiet, and ask yourself a few questions on this subject. Be still and let answers come to the surface.
Then you can examine your beliefs and see if you need to change the ones that haven’t been serving you..
To start changing them, come up with new beliefs that are more positive and empowering around the subject of aging.
7. Start Emulating People With Qualities You Admire
Who do you look up to for having good youthful energy, for example?
This could be someone you know, a famous person, or even a fictional character on tv. It doesn’t matter. It’s just good to see qualities in other people that we’d like to work on in ourselves.
This is another one of those pieces of advice that seem embarrassing. But, we all do this naturally anyway. We just might not realize it.
And successful people always have mentors and people they look up to. Athletes emulate their role models.
Brad Pitt didn’t become Brad Pitt without studying people like Cary Grant, I’m sure.
You might be taking notice of someone at work who’s higher up than you. Maybe you’d like to be in their position some day.
In fact, we do it so subtly, you might not even be aware that you’re starting to pay more attention to their qualities and mannerisms.
So as you’re working on becoming a ‘younger’ version of yourself, use other people as reference points.
8. Guard Yourself From “Old” Thinking
Do you have friends, family members, or people you’re around who always seem to circle back around to how much better the good old days were? Yuck!
We unknowingly absorb all of these attitudes that are around us.
Continuously being around negative, pessimistic people will age you.
Two words: small doses.
9. Freshen Your Environment
Does your home make you feel good? Or is it looking dull and stale? This can age us too.
I don’t mean to go out and buy new furniture or to even redecorate. Especially if you love everything you have.
But, is there clutter piling up and things sitting around certain rooms that you haven’t gotten to in a while? That stuff can really weigh us down.
Guilty as charged right here, but I’m working on it.
Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not the tidiest person around. When my kids were little, they’d see me start to clean the house and say, “Who’s coming over?”
But, doesn’t it feel good to clean a spot you haven’t gotten to in a while; or organize a cupboard; or open the windows to let fresh air in? Or when you move accessories around a room, buy a new plant, get a little something at Homegoods?
This all affects how we feel inside.
10. Do New Things
You’re never too old or too settled in your ways to take up a new hobby.
Or learn something new. Or go somewhere you haven’t been – even if it’s not very far from where you live. Especially with COVID right now.
It doesn’t have to be major things. A new recipe? A new book? A new language? A new organization to join?
Just keep an attitude that you’re always going to be learning, trying and exploring. Even with small things.
There’s nothing more youthful than learning and doing something new.
And with technology these days, it’s never been easier.
Thanks for reading,
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