Last night I saw some of a BBC TV programme – The Young Ones – featuring the research of Ellen Langer. I did not see the whole programme so not sure what the impact will be on the featured “celebrities” but Langer’s research is very interesting and really does support the idea that what we surround ourselves with has an impact on our health and self-concept. As one who is married to a would be rock star of a certain age, I can confirm that acting the age you would like to be, is a good way to stay looking and feeling young. Langer surrounds her subjects with the paraphernalia of their youth and apparently even seventies wall paper has an effect. This presents a dilemma to the style conscious. Should those amongst us who are keen to retain our youth and health should seek out retro furnishings and vintage clothes and so connect to our finest hours, or should we stay current which is what the style press recommend. Perhaps either would work?
Clearly there is a lot to be said for avoiding ruts of all kinds and it makes good sense to challenge assumptions about what can and cannot be done – physically and mentally. In fact some research carried out at the University of Hertfordshire by Ben Fletcher, Karen Pine and Danny Penman, concludes that breaking habits is one sure fire way to lose weight. Obviously don’t break the good ones like going to the gym although you could consider varying your route there. I also read recently a suggestion that it helps maintain weight loss if it also coincides with a major life change of some description. Whilst it may be a tad more difficult/undesirable to arrange a major life change merely to keep the pounds off, breaking routines is very doable. The authors above suggest in their book, “The No Diet, Diet” many new things to do. Some of them would also leave your home life in better shape:
- Clean something you would normally leave untouched.
- Throw something away that you do not need (or use it to rejuvenate yourself in a Langer style experiment)
- Make a list of your partner’s good points
Try it and let me know how much younger you feel!