6 habits that are making you feel older - Healthy Living Association

6 habits that are making you feel older

While aging it’s a natural process, it’s possible to grow older without feeling weak, irrelevant or boring. Well-being, in spite of media representation, isn’t a privilege exclusive of young bodies. Plus, what we associate with aging, like cognitive deficiencies or having a low sex drive, is more linked to lifestyle choices than age. Today we’re covering 6 bad habits that scientists think can make you feel older.

Living a fulfilling life regardless of your age

Before diving into the habits that are making you feel older, it’s important to note being “old” is defined socially rather than medically. Because of that, the association between age and feeling sad, lonely or anxious can be challenged!

What does it mean to feel older?

Since this is a relational term, people feel “older” when they notice younger people have other interests or different physical capabilities than them. This might look like not having the same sports performance, not wanting to party all night, or getting more tired.

But none of these things make you “older” per se. These interests and abilities aren’t necessarily correlated to your chronological age. However, our society puts such pressure on feeling “young” that those signs of tiredness and changing interests can makes us feel insecure.

Luckily, doctors and researchers have found there are some easy lifestyle changes that can help you physically and mentally to feel more youthful. Here are our top tips:

1.     Stop comparing yourself to others

This is an old habit that might be hard to break. It’s only natural: humans are social creatures that find their place in relation to others.

According to psychologists [3] humans have a consistent dynamic of trying to please those we perceive as “superior” and ignoring people over whom we have advantages -social or physical-. As we grow older, our superiors start disappearing, and young people might not look up to us as much. This happens with our children, our friends, and our mentors.

But this tendency to compare can lead to unhappiness, self-pity or shame. To fight this, remember every one of us works and lives at our own pace. It’s not a race, and we all face our own unique mix of advantages and disadvantages.

2.     You’re not sleeping enough

When you sleep bad, you feel bad. Chronic sleep deprivation has consequences, including deficiencies in the repairing and regeneration processes of your body. On top of this, good sleep is essential for cognitive performance, especially memory [2]. When you sleep poorly, you don’t have the same mental sharpness, you suffer from physical fatigue, but you also suffer emotional consequences.

As we age, deep sleep is more difficult to achieve. Researchers recommend going to a sleep clinic if you feel you’re not getting enough shut-eye. Sleep specialists will help you figure out the reasons of your lack of sleep, and fix them.

3.     You’re constantly dehydrated

We’re made from 70% water, so it’s keeping your body hydrated is essential. Unfortunately, nowadays we tend to be chronically dehydrated. In fact, around 75% of Americans [7] don’t drink enough water and suffer from chronic dehydration.

Since our bodies depend on water to accomplish even the most basic cellular functions, you won’t feel right without it. Lack of water makes you feel sluggish and with low energy. It can also feel like hunger, so might be more prone to overeating.

While the exact amount of water you need each day varies, striving for 6 cups a day is a reasonable start [5]. If you’re doing physical work or sweating a lot, slightly increase your water intake for the day.

If you’re in doubt about your hydration level, look at your pee. Urine that smells and looks dark yellow means you’re not drinking enough water. Strive for clear to light yellow and it should be enough.

4.     Physical inactivity

As much as we know moving is essential for good health, we still don’t do it often enough. But regular exercise won’t only keep you fit, it also promotes overall health and well-being.

Taking part in physical exercise increases and maintains blood circulation, thus improving oxygenation. Also, exercise rises your endorphins, lowering stress and making you feel happier.

If you’re struggling to keep up an exercise routine, try to figure out why you don’t like working out. If you feel bored with your regular workout, try out an exotic class at your local gym. If you feel demotivated, sign up for a group class or have a friend join you.

5.      Eating poorly

What you put into your body affects more than the number on the scale. In fact, researchers know now that a poor, unbalanced diet has negative effects on the gut microbiome. this complex community of living microbes is essential to overall health, helping with your digestion but also protecting your brain from degeneration. Your microbiome also produces essential hormones, processes dangerous toxins, and even controls your immune system.

Recently [6], researchers found microbiome deregulations have a direct correlation with quality of life and prognosis among patients with depression, Alzheimer’s and autism. We’ve covered everything you need for a healthy gut here.

6.     Excessive use of devices

In today’s world, excessive use of tech devices is slowly deteriorating our health. Researchers have linked devices to less exercise and worse personal interaction among people of all ages.

On the other hand, the blue light that comes from electronic screens can cause eye strain, worsen migraines and change sleep patterns [4]. Blue light can also disrupt hormone balance, which in turn makes you feel more tired and sluggish. Try to limit your daily screen time and gauge how you feel after a few days. You’ll probably notice the difference!

As you can see, sometimes your habits can hinder everyday wellness. Luckily, with a few simple changes you can also feel youthful and ready to take on your day. Have you noticed any changes in your life? Let us know in the comments below!

References

  1. Goran Medic, Micheline Wille, and Michiel EH Hemels. Short- and long-term health consequences of sleep disruption. Available here.
  2. Gendron, T. L., Inker, J., & Welleford, A. (2018). “How old do you feel?” The difficulties and ethics of operationalizing subjective age. The Gerontologist, 58(4), 618-624.
  3. Dutt, A. J., Wahl, H. W., & Diehl, M. (2018). Awareness of aging processes. In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Psychology.
  4. David Ramsey.2019. Will blue light from electronic devices increase my risk of macular degeneration and blindness? – Harvard Health Blog. Available here.
  5. Water: How much should you drink every day? Mayo Clinic. Available here.
  6. Morais, L.H., Schreiber, H.L. & Mazmanian, S.K. The gut microbiota–brain axis in behaviour and brain disorders. Nat Rev Microbiol (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41579-020-00460-0
  7. Survey of 3003 Americans, Nutrition Information Center, New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center (April 14, 1998)

1 Comment

  1. Haley O

    August 19, 2021 at 1:12 am

    Very interesting

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