elderlycrossingYour beliefs strongly affect your reality. To a large extent, in ways small and large, our beliefs create our reality. How we see the world impacts the world around us and effects how it responds to us.

New proof for our tendency to create self-fulfilling prophecies in our lives comes from a Yale School of Public Health study published in the March 2009 Psychological Science, the journal of the Association for Psychological Science. Research by Becca Levy and Martin D. Slade “suggests that young, healthy people who stereotype old people may themselves be at risk of heart disease many years down the road.” There was a “striking link” between negative stereotypes in early life of the elderly as “feeble…. helpless… absent minded… make too many mistakes,” and “poor heart health later on.”

The authors of the study believe “that people are internalizing stereotypes of old age when they are still quite young – with far reaching consequences.” People who have positive perceptions of aging were significantly more likely to practice healthy behaviors such as “visiting the doctor more regularly, eating a balanced diet, maintaining a desired weight, using a seat belt and avoiding tobacco.” Researchers theorize that those with negative beliefs about aging do not make the effort to engage in such healthy behaviors because they see no point in it. People don’t attempt what they don’t believe will be successful for them.

Bottom line? Healthy beliefs in and of themselves may do nothing. BUT healthy beliefs DO tend to lead to healthy behaviors and those healthy actions can have a dramatic positive impact upon your health.

Healthy attitudes are contagious. Be a carrier!