Think yourself younger: Psychological tricks that can help slow ageing

Think yourself younger: Psychological(ˌsīkəˈläjək(ə)l) tricks(trik) that can help slow ageing

How old you feel matters for how long you will live. Here’s how you can reduce your psychological age

By Graham Lawton

“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”

This nugget(ˈnəɡət) of wisdom, often attributed(əˈtriˌbyo͞ot) to Mark Twain, has been turned into many an inspirational(ˌinspəˈrāSH(ə)n(ə)l) internet meme(mēm) over the years. As a 51-year-old who is starting to feel the gathering momentum(mōˈmen(t)əm) of the inevitable(inˈevidəb(ə)l) slide, it strikes(strīk) me as little more than a platitude(ˈpladəˌt(y)o͞od) that makes people feel better about getting old.

But according to a growing body of research, there is more to it than that. Subjective age – how old we feel – has a very real impact on health and longevity(lônˈjevədē). People who feel younger than their years often actually are, in terms of how long they have left to live.

The question of what controls our subjective age, and whether we can change it, has always been tricky(ˈtrikē) to address scientifically. Now, research is revealing(rəˈvēliNG) some surprising answers. The good news is that many of the factors that help determine how old we feel are things that we can control to add years to our lives –and life to our years.