Brain Health and Mood

Want a Younger Healthier Brain? Just Feel Young

feel young for a younger brainAs you think so you become, right? Looks like as you feel so you become. We are emotional beings after all, as much as we want to believe we’re intellectual. They say in a conflict between emotion and intellect, emotion is almost always the likely winner. Apparently, we can use this natural propensity to our advantage, and “feel” yourself to better health.

According to a recent study published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, there is something the saying that you’re only as old as you feel.

A small-scale research carried out by researchers at Seoul National University, South Korea, shows that what we feel about ourselves age-wise can mentally and physically manifest itself. They sometimes call this feeling “subjective age”. As it turns out, it can have greater influence in our lives than we might think.

Researchers found that people who felt younger than they actually were had greater volumes of grey matter in their brains. This meant better memories, decision making, and emotional health. On the physical side, they also felt healthier and even had better hearing.

On the other hand, people who feel old lose grey matter, which makes everyday tasks more difficult.

The researchers analyzed the brains of 68 healthy participants aged between 59 and 84 years old. MRI brain scans were taken to determine the amounts of grey matter in different areas. The participants completed a questionnaire about how old they were and whether they felt older or younger. The group was tested on memory and cognitive function.

Participants who said they felt younger were more likely to score higher on a memory test. They also perceived their health to be better and were less likely to report depressive symptoms.

It is unclear as to why simply feeling yourself younger has such dramatic influence on the brain. And since the brain controls everything else in the body, it also influences our overall health and wellness. But one thing is clear, your brain is the most powerful tool (or weapon) in your possession.

Also unclear, or not yet tested, is whether changing how we feel about ourselves can help “reclaim” lost grey matter in the brain.

Now, there may be an egg-hen situation of sorts here. Do you feel young because you think young first or do you think young and therefore feel young? Simply put, do you think it first or do you feel it first?

Well, whichever it is, I surely will try my best to cultivate and nurture that young feeling moving forward. But this doesn’t mean you’ll find me in a nightclub frequented by twenty-somethings, all the same.

Related: Want a Sharper Brain? You Need to Exercise!

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