Growing older is intrinsic, but feeling irrelevant, bored, or weak isn’t. Despite representation in the media, well-being isn’t reserved for the young. Besides, many of the ailments associated with aging –– like cognitive decline or low sex drive –– have less to do with intrinsic aging and more to do with your lifestyle. A lifestyle you can reverse by ridding yourself of five habits scientists believe make you feel older.
5 Habits Linked to Feeling Older
If you aren’t chronologically old, the reason you may feel old could have more to do with society’s representation of youth and aging. Younger people are energetic, happy, and social. As a result, feeling older is often associated with loneliness, anxiety, and feelings of despair –– all of which can be challenged.
Thankfully, researchers have established the lifestyle changes responsible for feeling older –– and ways to change them –– which you can reverse to feel young again.
1. Comparing Yourself to Others
Comparison is the thief of joy. Yet, psychologists have determined that as humans we have an innate urge to please those who we perceive are superior. Comparison takes root as we search for those who have social or physical advantages.
Once we identify these “superior” beings, life can quickly devolve into keeping up with the Joneses, which leads to self-pity, shame, and an overall sense of unhappiness.
You can overcome these tendencies –– and start feeling younger –– by remembering that you have a different set of circumstances, pace, and cognitive capacity to those you’re comparing yourself to.
2. Poor Sleeping Habits
Beyond feeling bad when you’re sleep-deprived, your cognitive abilities –– especially your memory –– suffer. The best solution would be to get more sleep, something you can do by cutting out other bad habits like smoking and excessive caffeine and alcohol consumption. However, even if you’re ticking all the right boxes to have deep, effective sleep, scientists have discovered that getting more restful sleep becomes difficult as you age.
If you are chronically sleep-deprived, going to a sleep clinic may be your best solution.
Dehydration, unlike sleep, is hard to quantify. But if you’re like 75% of Americans, you are most likely chronically dehydrated. Considering our bodies rely on water to complete the most basic cellular functions, you won’t feel youthful unless you drink more water.
Dehydration causes low energy, overeating, and decreased skin elasticity. So, drinking the recommended half a gallon –– more if you’re physically active –– is the best way to look and feel younger.
4. Being Sedentary
Physical activity does more than create an aesthetic physique. Exercise increases endorphins, improves blood circulation, and reduces stress, all of which make you feel happier.
However, most people aren’t as physically active as they should be. If you’re one of those people, spend time discovering the type of exercise you enjoy. Exercise doesn’t have to be a traditional gym session; dancing, walking, hiking, deep cleaning, and cycling are all ways to get in enough daily exercise to attain the benefits associated with physical activity.
5. Using Your Devices Excessively
The blue light on your favorite device affects your sleep patterns, causes and exacerbates migraines, and disrupts your hormones, which could make you feel sluggish. To feel younger, you only need to reduce using your devices, find something else entertaining to occupy your time. Physical activity –– like group sports –– could be ideal as it helps reduce screen time while increasing your sense of happiness.
Essentially, feeling younger has more to do with enhancing your wellbeing than the number of birthdays you’ve celebrated. Accordingly, you could be feeling older because you’re indulging in activities that accelerate the aging process.