Can you delay ageing with a positive attitude? 積極的態度可以延緩衰老嗎?

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你也許聽過 “年齡取決於你的想法” 這句話,實際上,這句話或許有些道理,研究證明,我們對待衰老的態度會對我們能活多久以及晚年的健康狀況產生影響,本文討論積極的態度是否可以延緩衰老。

詞彙:ageing 衰老

When do you think ‘middle age’ starts? What about ‘old age’? Unsurprisingly, the answer to these questions will depend on your culture, as well as how old you are when someone asks you. What is perhaps more surprising is that the answer to these questions could have an impact on how quickly your body begins to age.

In 2003, the researchers Hannah Kuper and Sir Michael Marmot carried outwide-ranging study in which participants were asked the question: when does old age start? They then followed up with the participants six to nine years later and found that those who had thought old age began earlier were more likely to be in poor physical health.

But how could someone’s answer to a question about age possibly have an impact on their health? It might be that the question prompts people to think about their physical health, underlying health issues or poor lifestyle, which might then make them feel that old age is coming sooner. People who say that old age sets in earlier, may also be more fatalistic and less likely to visit a doctor or to adopt healthier routines. It’s even possible that the stress of having negative thoughts about ageing, contributes to more health problems.

So, this is what happens when we think negatively about ageing, but what happens when we think positively? People who think old age starts later, may be more conscious about their health and fitness and therefore take steps to stay in better shape. They may see their twilight years as an opportunity to learn new things and make new plans. If they believe they are younger, they therefore behave in younger ways, creating a virtuous circle. Whatever the reason, according to data from the Ohio Longitudinal Study of Ageing and Retirement, people who think positively about ageing live longer on average.

Of course, none of this research means that a positive attitude can magically stop the ageing process – our bodies get older with each passing year, after all. But it seems that if we try to be healthier and if we believe that there are still things we can do in old age, we might live longer and enjoy ourselves more too.

詞彙表

middle age 中年
unsurprisingly 不出所料地
have an impact on 對…產生影響
age (v) 衰老,變老
carry out 進行…,完成
wide-ranging 範圍廣的
participant 參與者
follow up 跟進,跟蹤調查
poor physical health 糟糕的身體狀況,身體狀況不佳
how could (something or someone) possibly (某事或某人)怎麼可能…
prompt (v) 促使
underlying 潛在的
poor lifestyle 不良的生活方式
set in (不好的事情)到來,開始
fatalistic 相信宿命的
adopt 養成…習慣
contribute to 導致
conscious 有意識的,在意的
take steps to 採取措施
stay in shape 保持健康
twilight years 暮年,晚年
virtuous circle 良性循環
ageing process 衰老過程

測驗與練習

1.  閱讀課文並回答問題。

1. Can your attitude towards ageing affect the ageing process?

2. True or False? Participants in the Kuper and Marmot study lived six to nine years less.

3. Do we know exactly how or why someone’s attitude can affect the ageing process?

4. True or False? Believing you are younger makes you act like you are younger.

5. Do all people who think positively about ageing live longer?

2.  選擇意思恰當的單字或片語來完成下列句子。

1. The doctor told me to try this new medicine, and she will _______ with me in a few weeks to see if it’s working.

carry out                       follow up                        set in                       take steps to

2. When we adopted our cat, he was in _______ health. Now he’s a lively kitten again!

unsurprisingly               age                                find                          poor

3. Listening to you talking to your father _______ me to call mine. I don’t phone him enough!

more like to                   prompted                       set in                       contributed

4. I’m quite _______. If I’m meant to get the job, I will.

fatalistic                         wide-ranging                 conscious                 in shape

5. How could you _______ still be hungry? You just ate a whole pizza!

unsurprisingly                possibly                         underlying                contribute

答案

1. 閱讀課文並回答問題。

1. Can your attitude towards ageing affect the ageing process?
Yes. Thinking negatively about ageing can lead to poor physical health, whereas people who think positively about ageing live longer on average.

2. True or False? Participants in the Kuper and Marmot study lived six to nine years less.
False. Kuper and Marmot followed up with the participants six to nine years after asking them the question: when does old age start?

3. Do we know exactly how or why someone’s attitude can affect the ageing process?
No, we don’t. There are many possible reasons why thinking negatively about ageing can have negative results and thinking positively about ageing can have positive results.

4. True or False? Believing you are younger makes you act like you are younger.
True. If someone believes they are younger, they behave in younger ways, creating a virtuous circle.

5. Do all people who think positively about ageing live longer?
No. A positive attitude can’t stop the ageing process, but – according to the Ohio Longitudinal Study of Ageing and Retirement – people who think positively about ageing live longer on average.

2.  選擇意思恰當的單字或片語來完成下列句子。

1. The doctor told me to try this new medicine, and she will follow up with me in a few weeks to see if it’s working.

2. When we adopted our cat, he was in poor health. Now he’s a lively kitten again!

3. Listening to you talking to your father prompted me to call mine. I don’t phone him enough!

4. I’m quite fatalistic. If I’m meant to get the job, I will.

5. How could you possibly still be hungry? You just ate a whole pizza!