Thinking Yourself Younger

Thinking Yourself Younger

People who feel younger than their age are more likely to score higher in memory tests, consider their health to be better and suffer fewer symptoms of depression. People perceive aging differently. How one perceives oneself is a predictor of later-life health. A study published in June 2018 in “Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience” found that the “subjective experience of aging…is an important marker of late-life neurocognitive health.”

Cognitive impairment as we age is unavoidable. However, the findings of this study show that feeling older than one’s age may cause the brain structures to age more quickly while feeling younger leads to better preserved and healthier brain structure.

The study establishes that when age related cognitive decline is overestimated, an older adult may perceive themselves as older than their real age. Those who feel older than their actual age show a “tendency to have poorer cognitive function and exhibit greater depressive symptoms, feeling younger was especially associated with younger structural characteristics of the brain.”

Those people who strive to think themselves younger will also lead a lifestyle that is physically and mentally more active. This lifestyle is more stimulating and leads to a healthier brain.

I have personally made a habit of observing the way older people relate to the world. Some people just seem to attract other people to them simply by their personal ‘joie de vivre’. While others struggle more with relationships.

I admire those who can look at life and laugh when times are good and when things do not work out as planned. I believe that we can all benefit by observing those who seem to age with joy. There is no formula for living longer but there is a formula for living better. We all get older and we have a choice in how we age. We can all learn from those who know the secret of being older and being happy with who they are and their position in the life cycle.

There is an old Jewish saying, “when men make plans G-D laughs”. If we understand that G-d laughs then we could become more G-dly if we learn to laugh along with G-D. Aging is a part of life and it is our duty to do the best we can with every stage of this wonderful life that we’ve been given.

Mel Moss
Board member of the Louis Brier Foundation
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