Getting older is a normal part of life, yet humans are often afraid of aging—and everything that comes with it. We forget that the old saying rings true: Age is just a number.
No matter your age, it’s possible to feel younger than your biological age, and it’s probably good for your health, too. A recent study from the American Psychological Association (APA) found that feeling younger might help prevent stress-related damage in middle-aged and older adults.
People who feel younger experience benefits like:
- Better cognitive function
- Greater sense of well-being
- Less inflammation
- Higher chance of living longer
- Lower risk of hospitalization
Overall, those who feel younger have a higher chance of living longer and avoiding common complaints we hear about getting older.
How you feel is more important than your physical age.
So, what can we do to feel younger and enjoy ourselves at any point in life? Here are some thoughts to keep in mind.
1. Never Think You’re “Too Old”
How you think and feel about aging matters. Research has shown that thinking about getting older as unfavorable can actually lead your health to suffer. But focusing on the positives of aging — more wisdom, growth opportunities, etc. — keeps you “younger” in mind and body.
Remember that there is no age limit on doing things you enjoy. Start that hobby. Go after that career change. Train for that half or full marathon. Humans and our societies create most of the barriers we have against growth.
2. Shake Things Up Often
Routines are nice. But adding variety to your life is key to feeling younger. Try adding new things to your schedule when you can:
- Read books that challenge your views on life.
- Learn new skills just to see things from another perspective.
- Talk to people who are different than you.
- Find joy in the unknown and the unexpected.
You won’t think so much about age when you’re experiencing life!
3. Take Care of Your Precious Body
Eating well and getting enough exercise are important ways to treat your body well. While mindset also plays a considerable part, healthy physical habits support longevity and keep you feeling good.
This includes sleep, too. Your body needs rest to recover and recharge. See these tips for getting better sleep.
4. Don’t Let Time Rule Your Life
Being able to look ahead to the future and reflect on the past separates humans from other animals. However, spending too much time anywhere but the present can cause a lot of extra stress.
Remember that we created time to provide structure to our days, but that doesn’t mean we have to let it take over our lives. Spend as much time as you can in the present moment, focusing on what’s most important to you.
Don’t let time or age prevent you from enjoying what matters most. Think less about yesterday and tomorrow; appreciate what’s in front of you now.
5. Start Caring Less
What’s one huge way to be happier and have less stress? Caring less — about work and what other people think of you. A lot of stress and overwhelm comes from perfectionism, which means setting unattainable standards for ourselves.
By caring less, you’ll worry less about doing everything right and find more satisfaction in the moment. Caring less can also make you a better worker, partner, and friend and reduce the stress that wears on you.
Try shaking off the idea that you have to be this way or that way at a certain age. Make yourself the priority and focus on what’s most important to you — not social constructs. The lessened load from all of the above can help you feel younger and more at peace with your life.
Image © Cathy Yeulet