I read a study recently that has become one of my favorites. It was in the book, You Are the Placebo: Making Your Mind Matter by Joe Dispenza. He cites a 1979 study conducted by Dr. Ellen Langer.
The study, popularly know as the counterclockwise study, sent two groups of elderly men, many of them infirm, to a monastery.
One group of men was asked to live as though it were 1959 – 20 years earlier. Mirrors had been removed from the monastery, and environmental cues were provided such as music, movies, old photographs, furniture, books, magazines etc. from that era. The men were asked to discuss historical events as though they were currently unfolding, and were treated as though they were much younger (i.e. nobody carried their bags, helped them into chairs etc.)
A second group of men acted as the control group. They also visited the monastery, but were asked to reminisce and tell stories from 1959, not to pretend they were living it. Their environment remained rooted in the present.
After a week of either reminiscing or pretending, both groups were tested both cognitively and physically, and the results were compared to tests take before the study began.
Here’s where things get interesting: the results from both sets of men showed improvements in strength, balance, gait, flexibility, intelligence, cognition and more. The group who had been fully immersed in 1959 however, scored significantly higher than their reminiscing counterparts. A full 63% of them had better intelligence test scores at the end of the experiment than they did at the beginning, compared to 44% in the control group. The results suggested that the men who acted as if they were younger didn’t just change their minds, they changed there bodies too.
Isn’t that amazing!? I don’t know about you, but when I read this, I immediately started dancing around to my favorite tracks from the 80s.
I know some of you weren’t even out of diapers at the time but that was an era I absolutely loved, and if living in it can make me feel younger, you bet I’m going to try. This is body hacking at its most fun!
Dr. Langer’s study was never published or peer-reviewed, and has yet to be replicated, but I think we can all attest to the restorative benefits of the past. Think about the rush of energy you feel when you hang out with an old college friend. You feel like nothing has changed since you were both 22 and it’s electrifying.
So whether or not you take this study with a grain of salt, why not inspire yourself this week, and reclaim parts of you that you may have left behind. Think back to a time-period you absolutely loved, and re-absorb its energy, its lessons, and its flexibility. Have fun, Creative Genius YOU.