Feeling young may be one way to keep getting older. In a new study, a pair of researchers from University College London found that older people who felt three or more years younger than their actual age were more likely to be alive eight years later than those who felt more than one year older than their actual age. Does a youthful feeling keep people alive? Possibly: feeling younger may lead to better health habits, like exercising and eating healthfully. Feeling younger may also inspire a sense of resilience that keeps people young.
You’re as young as you feel
Two researchers at University College London looked at the responses of about 6,500 men and women who answered the question, “How old do you feel you are?” The respondents were age 52 and older, with an average age of 65. Their answers:
about 70% felt three or more years younger than their actual age
25% felt close to their actual age
5% felt more than one year older than their actual age
What came next was the really interesting part: Eight years after study participants answered the age question, researchers determined which ones were still alive:
75% of those who felt older than their age
82% of those who felt their actual age
86% of those who felt younger than their actual age.