Healthy diet, regular exercise, and social connection are all important factors for staying healthy as we age, but your outlook on ageing can also influence how we feel in our older years. A new study from the German Centre of Gerontology finds that simply feeling and acting younger can combat the negative effects of ageing.
The researchers analyzed data from 5,039 participants over the age of 40 for three years. They asked participants about their overall feelings of health, wellbeing, and health status. They also asked them about their subjective age, or how old they felt. Lower subjective age was linked with lower stress and improved functional health.
Physical health makes us feel younger and healthier, but this study suggests that the reverse correlation is also true. Maintaining an attitude of playfulness, emotional flexibility, and creativity can in turn yield better health outcomes.
So how can you feel younger? The study suggests practices like playing games, exercising regularly, laughing, and exploring to promote feelings of youthfulness.
Source study: The American Psychological Association – Feeling Younger as a Stress Buffer