The Nocebo Effect
I recently started reading about something called the nocebo effect (meaning will-do-harm). I'd heard of it's kind cousin, the placebo effect (do-no-harm), in relation to drug trials. Brain scans show that beliefs and expectations "I believe these pills will help" can cause biological changes like reducing heart rate and blood pressure, improving immune function, and changing gastric secretions. That's why researches use two study groups; one group gets the real drug and one group gets a placebo. Negative expectations and beliefs can have an equally powerful effect. It's been proven that patients will feel more pain, take longer to heal, and even believe they are incapable of healing, due to negative expectations. That's the nocebo effect.
When you realize how powerful beliefs and expectations are, then you start to understand why the negative aging myth can be so detrimental to well-being. It can undermine aging expectations and manipulate what a person believes is possible and probable. What if we all believed that living well through the full lifespan was a probability rather than just a possibility?