Want to Feel Young and Live Long? Here’s The Secret
It is perfectly natural to want youthfulness in old age. After all, nobody likes that feeling of deflating energy as one ages, that sagging of skin which comes about with the passage of time. There are many anti-aging remedies plaguing the internet, some of them quite true, others absolutely bogus. But a new method of attaining a youthful self even in the later years has gotten us thinking: could it really be that easy to feel young again?
Studies in the past have pointed out the odd relationship between feeling youthful and consequently having a longer lifespan. However, now that relationship has been further explored to assess how one can feel young especially in the later years of life. Jennifer Bellingtier, who is currently a psychology researcher at the post-doctoral level with Friedrich Schiller University, conducted a study with around 200 adults, 116 of which belonged to the 60-90 age group while 106 of which belonged to the 18-36 age group.
The study went on for 9 consecutive days, and asked them two simple questions: how old they felt like, and how much they felt like they were in control of their life, both on that particular day. By asking these questions, Bellingtier wanted to assess whether a correlation existed between the two.
Bellingtier already knew from past research studies that people commonly experience changes in how old they feel. Her study tested this once again, and once again the results came back the same. However, her second question revealed a correlation. The people in the older age group stated that they felt younger on those particular days when they felt most in control of themselves. This correlation was not seen in the responses generated from the younger group.
Power of Feeling
Exploring this further, Bellingtier reached the conclusion that there is a lot of power in simply feeling a particular way. According to her, feeling in control of one’s own self can have far-reaching implications upon physical health and well-being. For example, when an elderly person feels in control, he or she feels years younger, prompting the brain to make healthier choices as there is a renewed desire to live longer.
These healthier choices, in turn, lead to choices such as consuming low-fat food or going out for an early morning jog. These lifestyle changes, thus, transform a person, lengthening his or her lifespan.
How to Gain Control?
By now you must be wondering, how can you feel in-control to feel younger? Bellingtier believes it is a combination of changes in the environment and inside a person which alter the sense of being in control.
A perfect example of this is the nursing home, many of which have set menus for mealtimes, taking away the choice and control from residents to choose their meals. A simple change in such a system, like allowing residents to choose what they want to eat, is enough to give them a greater sense of control over their lives. Internally, such a change is all about motivation and discipline.
A person feels most in control when he or she follows a self-decided routine, as even something as simple as getting up in the morning at a particular time can feel like an accomplishment, providing that much-needed positivism early on in the day.
Benefits for Mental Health
When you feel like you are 20 when in fact you are 50, you are not only benefiting your physical health through making consciously healthier life choices, but also your mental health. In fact, studies have linked the sense of feeling younger with a reduced risk of dementia, highlighting how significantly impact subjective age of a person can be to mental health.
How to Lower Your Subjective Age
Well, feeling in-control of yourself is one way to do it. But other ways to ensure your subjective age remains somewhere in the late 20s is through walking and through social interactions, at least according to research. However, you don’t need to worry too much about it as, even in Bellingtier’s study, around 91% of respondents said they felt younger than they were, with only 23% stating feeling older than their years.
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