Berlin, May 11, 2021 ? The simple fact of feeling young could help promote better health and longer life, according to a German study. Conversely, people who are stressed may find that their health declines more quickly, especially among the elderly.
Age is in the mind. At least that's what the results of a study conducted by researchers at the University of Heidelberg in Germany and published in the American Psychological Association suggest. Feeling young can help bestow a feeling of well-being, improve cognitive functions (memory, social interaction), reduce risks of hospitalization and, in particular, could allow an individual to to live longer.
Stress factor of aging
The scientists linked stress levels to quality of life after analyzing three years of data collected from over 5000 German patients over the age of 40. This panel also completed a survey that included questions about their stress level, health, daily activities, functional health (quality of life) and subjective age.
On average, the most stressed individuals experienced the greatest declines in functional health. In contrast, participants who “felt” younger than their age felt less stressed and experienced smaller declines in functional health.
“Our findings support the role of stress as a risk factor for functional health decline, particularly among older individuals, as well as the health-supporting and stress-buffering role of a younger subjective age,” outlined Dr Markus Wettstein, of the University of Heidelberg.
“Feeling younger to some extent might be adaptive for functional health outcomes, whereas ‘feeling too young' might be less adaptive or even maladaptive,” he added.