The Young At Heart Live Longer

Feeling young has health benefits that no one suspected. A new study from University College London, England, reported that elderly individuals who felt younger than their chronological age by least 3 years have lower death rates and improved physical and mental health.

How can this be? How can a “feeling” affect how long we live?

The authors explain that self-perceived age in later life reflects on our mental and physical wellbeing in a big way.

For one, feeling one’s true age or worse, feeling older, puts self-imposed physical and social limitations. These perceived restrictions can prevent us from being physically and socially active which are essential for maintaining vitality and health.

On the other hand, people who feel younger than their actual years tend to have more positive attitudes on life and seek more enjoyment and remain active. They have a lower risk of death caused by cardiovascular disease and live longer.

In the study, elderly individuals who felt older than their true age had a 41% greater mortality rate than their peers who felt younger.

This self-perceived age is called age identity. It refers to our inner experience of our age and the aging process.

Many factors shape this throughout the years. Life experiences that give us an older age-identity include becoming a parent at a young age, losing a parent as a child, serious health problems and high levels of chronic stress.

Although the researchers have not quite pinpointed the exact mechanism of how younger age-identity prolongs life and wellbeing, all data links to happiness.

In short, living happy fulfilling lives makes us feel better, charges us with optimism and literally adds years to our lives.

It’s just another example of how mental health and attitude have real implications on physical wellbing and vitality.

Categories: Mental Health

About Author

Alex Founier

Alex Founier is a DailyHealthDigital contributor with an interest in natural health for sports enthusiasts and all audiences seeking holistic remedies. He is an avid reader and a mountain climber. Alex is currently working on a book detailing his journey through the American wilderness.