People who feel younger have a greater sense of wellness and cognitive function, have fewer infections, are less likely to go to the hospital, and even live longer than their peers who feel older.
A study published by the American Psychological Association suggests that one possible reason for the link between age and health is that feeling younger helps protect middle-aged or older adults from the devastating effects of stress.
Decline in health
In the study published by the journal Psychology and Aging, and reported by Science Daily, researchers from the German Center for Gerontology analyzed over a three-year period data for 5,039 participants in the German Age Survey, which is a lengthy study of the 40-year-old German population. And more.
On average, the researchers found that participants who reported stress in their lives experienced a greater decline in functional health over a period of three years, and this link between stress and worsening functional health was stronger for the already older participants.
However, subjective age, the age one feels, seemed to provide a kind of protective power, as the link between stress and functional health decline was lower in people who felt younger than their actual age. And this protective effect was stronger among older participants.
More research is required to determine the ideal difference between self and actual age, according to the study’s supervisor, Marcus Wuststein, who is currently working at the University of Heidelberg, as previous research has indicated that it is beneficial to feel younger to some extent, but the benefits are reduced. If the gap between self and actual age widens.