We all know the adage, “You’re only as old as you feel.” According to a new study, there’s a lot more truth to that than we probably ever believed when we just saw it on a birthday card. In fact, a more youthful mindset might be the key to helping us live longer.
Research published by the American Psychological Association surveyed more than 5,000 participants over the age of 40 for a three year period. Their results found that those who said they felt younger than their actual age were also more likely to have a greater sense of well-being, better cognitive function, less inflammation, lower risk of hospitalization, and live longer than those their same age.
Now, it’s important to remember there’s a difference between feeling younger and acting younger. The study obviously isn’t suggesting things like going out to parties all night long or embracing reckless adventures like we may have been more prone to in our youth.
Instead, they claim that those who reported lower “subjective ages” — or the age they feel rather than their actual chronological age — also had lower levels of stress. The researchers say this provided a buffer between overall declining health and that the protective effect was strongest among the (chronologically) oldest participants. Basically, minimizing stress in our lives can help us feel younger, which in turn helps us stay healthy and live longer.
Of course, no one wants stress in their lives and we can all find it difficult to simply shake off. Everyone is different, so there’s no one-size-fits-all stress cure, but you can try a few natural remedies like aromatherapy or visualizations. Supplements like omega-3 have also shown promise in warding off stress.
Or you can try the stress-reducing option another new study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease just uncovered. The researchers claim that this 12-minute meditation practice known as Kirtan Kriya has been shown to improve sleep, decrease depression, and boost overall wellbeing. It was also found to increase blood flow to parts of the brain associated with cognition, emotional regulation, and grey matter production — which in turn slows memory loss, improves cognition, and balances moods. The Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation recommends doing it on a daily basis.
Here’s an example of one you can try by following along with the singing and finger movements:
Whether you use Kirtan Kriya or find another way to relieve stress, it should help you feel younger and live a long, healthy life!