• wellness

    Powerful Effects Of Perception

    It’s really quite fascinating how powerful effects of perception can affect our lives.

    There was a study released last week by Stanford that revealed that how people view their fitness program has a material effect on their longevity. That is, if you think you have a good program, or you feel that your work is keeping you in good shape, the powerful effects of perception manifest physiologically. Mindset became a powerful variable. This is the placebo effect writ large.

    In the study, researchers analyzed surveys from more than 60,000 U.S. adults. The surveys documented a number of variables, including their levels of physical activity. But the key question researchers were interested in was: “Would you say that you are physically more active, less active, or about as active as other persons your age?” It turns out that the answer to that question could be linked to an individual’s risk of premature death, regardless of their actual level of physical activity: researchers found that people who perceived themselves as less active than their peers were up to 71 percent more likely to die than those who believed they were more active than others.

    Why is that?

    The powerful effects of perception

    Researchers offered some possible explanations for why our perspective can trump how physically active a person may be. One is that the powerful effects of perception can be positive and negative when it comes to motivation. If a person is made aware that they exercise adequately, then they can continue and build on that activity. However, those who view themselves as couch potatoes are more likely to continue their inactive lifestyles.

    Related post: My Fitness Routine at 60 

    One of the study’s authors, Alia Crum, noted that there’s a lot of emphasis placed on urging people to alter their behavior – from exercising more and eating healthier – so that they can lead healthier lifestyles. But a simple step toward better health could be to simply shift how we view our everyday activities, such as cleaning the house or opting to take the stairs instead of the elevator. It’s not exercising at the gym, but it’s still physical activity.

    Our mindsets are a powerful thing.

    We find this study particularly fascinating as it confirms something we have been observing: that people who feel they are engaged, who feel they are going to live a long useful life, behave in ways to make that actually happen. The converse is that if a person doesn’t feel they have a positive future ahead of them, they will behave in ways to confirm that belief and not take such good care of themselves. This is not exactly the argument that Stanford is making here, but it is corollary enough that it caught our attention.

    Click here to read the study on the powerful effects of perception from Stanford. To read insights about the study, click here.

    David Stewart
    David Stewart
    David is the founder and face of AGEIST. He is an expert on, and a passionate champion of the emerging global over-50 lifestyle. A dynamic speaker, he is available for panels, keynotes and informational talks at david@agei.st.

    More Stories

    Forget Law and Order. More Walking for Better Sleeping

    Whenever people ask me about my sleep routine, the very first thing I say is: Get some steps in. For me that means a...

    Ok Boomer: Cool or Not Cool?

    I have gone through a few different phases on this. The first was a certain outrage, provoked by the NYT piece. Last week they...

    A Place to Talk: Podcast Conversation With Luis De Oliveira

    A Place to Talk Podcast.I love a good, vigorous chat. Ask me something provocative and I’ll get you a memorable quote.“Not talent, genius!” My...

    Hot Topic: Infrared Saunas. Should We Try it?

    By Kimberly FowlerWhen it comes to recovery you’ll often hear about infrared saunas. Unlike a traditional sauna, infrared saunas don’t heat the air around...

    Alpana Ahuja, 57: Artist and Elephant Whisperer

    by Damini Roy Alpana just loves elephants. Her studio is filled with their portraits and their amazing pad prints. She smiles with joy recounting her...

    LATEST Profiles

    Alpana Ahuja, 57: Artist and Elephant Whisperer

    by Damini Roy Alpana just loves elephants. Her studio is filled with their portraits and their amazing pad prints. She smiles with joy recounting her...

    Chef Gilles Epié, 60

    Gilles won a Michelin star in 1988 at the tender age of 22, the youngest to have ever done so. His storied history includes...

    Spilling the High Tea with Amanda Jones, 57

    Amanda Jones by Claudia GoetzelmannKikoko co-founders Amanda Jones and Jennifer Chapin are two of the unlikeliest candidates to be sitting atop a California cannabis empire.Jones...