June is the start of my absolute favorite time of year! It feels like a promise, that everything will be alright. Tiki torches and fires will be ablaze and “the” moment I wait for, the first firefly. The word June comes from the Latin word, iuniores, meaning “younger ones”. I immediately recall the years I’ve been putting on my favorite bikini top and peach sunning shorts. I suppose I’m engaging in a rite of the return of the golden sun, and my youth. I feel as if I’m reborn. I believe that I am.
In 1981, psychologist Ellen Langer did a five-day study on aging, called the “counterclockwise study”. Eight men in their 70’s were taken to a retreat designed to totally reflect the year 1959. They were immersed in the news, current events, music, politics, and life as it was back then. After a week, their strength, eyesight, hearing, and cognition improved, and they looked visibly younger.
She also did a study with maids who didn’t see their very physical jobs as exercise. They were told certain tasks were like working on exercise machines. They experienced reduced blood pressure, an actual shift in body-mass index and weight loss. Other scientific studies show that just thinking about working out can cause actual physical changes! Langer’s next study will be to take women diagnosed with stage four breast cancer back 10 years in time when they were cancer-free. Her hopes are to see tumor sizes reduced or gone altogether. Imagine that.
Every June I go back in time to when I felt as if my whole life was ahead of me. In some ways, I feel healthier than I did then. The world was my oyster and it still is.