Older people who feel younger than their actual age may live longer, new findings suggest.
A study of just over 5,000 participants aged over 40 showed that feeling younger helped to mitigate the effects of stress and kept them healthy as they get older.
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Those who said they experienced more stress saw their health decline over the course of three years. In addition, the older the participant, the stronger the relationship was between stress and worsening health.
Dr Akua K Boateng, a licensed psychotherapist in Philadelphia, said the findings support her understanding that reducing stress and feeling younger can lead to living longer.
She said: “Feeling younger is an attitude of playfulness, emotional flexibility, and leaning into creativity.
“As a clinician, I have seen the damaging effects of stress on the emotional life. Years of trauma, anxiety, and chronic stress erode our ability to wonder, be creative, and seek adventure.”
Changing your mindset is a good place to start in helping you to feel younger, while engaging regularly in things play, laughter, learning and adventure can also bring benefits.
Mediation, exercise, stress relief programmes and talking can all help to reduce the effects of stress, as well as seeking professional support for mental health.
The findings of the German Ageing Survey, which was conducted by the German Centre of Gerontology, have been published by the journal Psychology and Aging by the American Psychological Association.