n the fascinating “Counterclockwise” studies, which have now been conducted in the United States, Great Britain and South Korea, older adults were invited to live for one week in a retrofitted retreat where everything appeared like it did 20 years earlier—the buildings, decor, technology and even the TV shows. The participants were also required to dress and act like they did back then and discuss only topics from that time.
Almost immediately, the participants began to demonstrate improvements in their physical health and well-
being—they were stronger and more functional. Their cognitive abilities improved, including their memory. And remarkably, when people unfamiliar with the study were shown before and after photos, they deemed the participants to “look younger” at the end!
Considerable evidence now suggests that to some extent, ageing is a state of mind and that simply “seeing” yourself as younger has health benefits. Women who think they look younger after having their hair done experience a decrease in blood pressure and are judged by independent raters as looking younger in a photograph where their hair is cropped out. Research shows that older spouses tend to live longer, possibly as a result of them “seeing” themselves as younger to identify with their younger spouse.
So how old do you see yourself? Turn back the clock and you just might live more!