Scientific studies show that aging is as much a state of mind as any other aspect of health. That means you’re only as old as you think you should be.

A study fascinating study was done in 1979 by some Harvard researchers. A group of men 75 or older were taken on a weeklong retreat to a setting made to reflect life twenty years earlier. Newspaper and magazines of the earlier time were in their living area. The men wore tags with picture of themselves at this earlier time in their lives. They were to talk with each other as though they were living in the earlier times, speaking of their families as they were twenty years earlier and of their careers as though they were still working. All discussions of politics, government, economics, and interests were conducted as though they were in 1959. A similar control group went on a retreat to the same resort, but were not “sent back in time.”

After only a week of living in the past, the men of 1959 showed signs of youthening in biological markers and memory tests. Their posture, flexibility, strength, vision, hearing, and manual dexterity improved. They behaved more independently and were more active. And photos of their faces judged by impartial observers appeared an average of three years younger. Their intelligence actually increased, while some in the control group showed a decrease after a week of idle relaxation.

Let me repeat that: after only a week in this little fountain of youth, the men started showing signs of getting younger.

What does this mean for you?

It means is you age according to your beliefs about how you expect to be at your age. Turning back the clock on your mental perceptions of how old you are turns back the clock on how old you seem to be. So stop creaking around like you’re dragging an anchor and try these exercises.

Youngering exercises

Keep a journal of recollections from your prime in as much detail as you can conjure. As you write them, imagine these scenes and times from your past vividly. See and feel your youthful energy, enthusiasm, and the life full of possibilities yet to be explored. What are your interests, expectations, hopes, and dreams? Dwell deliberately on the positive feelings of this time.

Discuss times from your past with friends from your youth who are willing to play this game. (Avoid discussing the past with friends who prefer to focus on limitation and unpleasantness. Actually, avoid discussing anything with anyone who prefers to focus on limiting beliefs and unpleasant associations.)

Think about interests or plans you left behind and take some of them up again. Think about hobbies or studies you were going to pursue but neglected and take them up. Experiment with trying new things the way you did in your prime.

Use hypnosis or self-hypnosis to vividly experience yourself during your prime. Have a tape made that you listen to daily that takes you back into the times of your prime.

Get some photos of yourself in your prime, have them enlarged, and hang them where you can look at them frequently. Feel yourself embodying that younger you.

Reflect on how your life would be different if you were 20 (or more) years younger. Make a list of these differences. Would you go out more? Stay up later? Try more things? Stand differently? Climb trees? Implement some of these actions, postures, attitudes, and activities from the past.

Author's Bio: 

Wendy Beall helps individuals, businesses, and medical professionals discover and use practical applications for the mind-body approach to health. For the past 25 years she has independently studied medical science, the psychology of health, the history of medicine and science, and the technology of consciousness. She writes and speaks on the mind-body connection, motivating and training people to use this powerful technology confidently and competently. This article is excerpted from her upcoming book: Changing Your Mind for Health: A Guide to Healing and the Mind.