Feel in control.
Jennifer Bellingtier, a postdoctoral psychology researcher at Friedrich Schiller University in Germany followed 116 adults aged 60-90 and 106 adults aged 18-36 for a period of nine days. Each day, she asked the participants how old they felt and how in-control of their life and actions they were.
Both groups reported fluctuations in their subjective age; for the younger group, this was mostly linked to health and stress, whereas for the older group, it directly correlated with a sense of control.
“On days when you felt above your average control perceptions – you felt more controlled for you – you tended to feel younger,” Bellingtier explained of the findings.
This sense of control can be affected by a heap of factors - be it choosing a book to read or simply deciding when/where we sit down to eat. And for older adults, Bellingtier believes the benefits are two-fold: it keeps the memory sharp and, in turn, gives us more energy to make healthy choices (such as exercising and eating right.)
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“When you feel more controlled, you feel younger and then you feel like you can accomplish more things,” Bellingtier added. “You feel like your actions matter.”