aging · fitness

Feeling young and living long: Putting the pieces together

I read two news stories that came across my social media newsfeed today that seemed to me to be strongly connected.

First, Feeling young and living long explored the finding that people who feel young for their age actually live longer. What’s it all about? Feeling young turned out to be about control. People who feel in control of their lives live longer.

“Studies suggest that feeling younger may actually help you live to be older. Now, new research points to a way to keep that youthful state of mind, at least for elderly adults: feel in control. “On days when you felt above your average control perceptions — you felt more controlled for you — you tended to feel younger,” says Jennifer Bellingtier, a postdoctoral psychology researcher at Friedrich Schiller University in Germany, of her findings, which she presented her research at the recent annual American Psychological Association (APA) convention (and which have not been published in a scientific journal)”

Second, Longevity and wealth gap in Canada explored the gap in life expectancy between the rich and the poor in Canada. It’s striking the amount of the effect in Canada, a country where health care is covered by taxes.

“A C.D. Howe study of life expectancy in Canada finds men in the highest earning group can expect to live eight years longer than men who are the lowest earners. For women, the gap in longevity between the richest and the poorest is much less, just three years. The richest can expect to live to 86, compared to average life expectancy of 83 for poor women. For men, the highest income earners — roughly the top 20 per cent — have a life expectancy of 83, while the lowest income workers can expect to live to 75.”

Why? Of course the rich have vacations and can buy better food but it’s not just that. See the first article, the rich are also more likely to feel in control of their lives, it seems to me.

An ariel shot of a brightly colored jigsaw puzzle. Thanks to @hpgauster for making this photo available freely on @unsplash 🎁

2 thoughts on “Feeling young and living long: Putting the pieces together

  1. This issue of “control”, or maybe better stated as “perceived control”, seems tricky and hard to measure scientifically. Because on the flip side of feeling younger, because more in control, is the shadow of control–thinking you have control over things that you really don’t and being flexible enough to roll with life, instead of battling it for control (thus creating stress, thus shortening your life). Just a random, non-scientific thought.

  2. J’ai ADORÉ cet article! Ma grand-mère a 90 ans, et elle est en pleine forme! Elle vit dans une résidence vraiment très belle et s’est fait beaucoup d’amis. Mais quand elle nous parle des autres résidents, de ce qu’ils racontent, elle dit: «Ça, c’est les vieux qui disent ces affaires là!» ☺️ Excellent article!

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