How to live longer: The key perception that may boost your life expectancy

As day and night engage in its regulatory cycle, nothing on this Earth can put that on pause, but your attitude to growing older could affect how long you’re here.

A research team from the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, at University College London, looked into the difference between feeling old and being old.

They analysed data collected from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing that took place between 2004 and 2005.

Participants answered the question: “How old do you feel you are?” during that time.

The sample collected consisted of 6,489 individuals who were 52 years and older.

All causes of death – including from cancer and cardiovascular disease – were recorded up to March 2013.

The scientists separated their findings from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing into three categories.

The first category consisted of those whose self-perceived age was close to their chronological age (up to two years younger or one year older).

The second category had people who felt more than one year older than their chronological age.

And the third category of volunteers had those who felt three or more years younger than their actual age.

The latter category was most popular, with 69.6 percent of people feeling three or more years younger than their actual age.

There were 25.6 percent of people who had a self-perceived age close to their chronological age.

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Only 4.8 percent of those who took part in the study felt more than one year older than their true age.

The follow-up data revealed that those who felt older than what they were had a higher risk of death (24.6 percent).

This rate of mortality decreased the closer someone felt to their age (18.5 percent).

And, unsurprisingly, those who felt much younger than they were had the lowest mortality rate at 14.3 percent.

The researchers noted: “We found that self-perceived age predicted all-cause and cardiovascular mortality.”

They added that there was “a 41 percent greater mortality hazard in people who felt older than their actual age compared with those who felt younger”.

No wonder there’s that cliché saying, you’re as young as you feel – and it’s seemingly true.

Remaining young at heart could potentially add years onto your life, so what’s the harm in adopting that mentality? There isn’t.

Seoul National University, in South Korea, supports this notion with their experiment.

They enrolled participants – aged between 59 to 84 years old – who underwent MRI brain scans.

The lead author noted: “We found that people who feel younger have the structural characteristics of a younger brain.”

It was also stated that those who felt younger scored better on memory tests, had better health and were less likely to feel down in the dumps.


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