Do you think your best years are yet to come? Or, are your glory days behind you? According to a new study from Trinity College Dublin, the way you answer that question might predict your physical and mental agility as you age. Those with a positive mindset towards aging are more likely to stay physically and mentally sharp, say researchers.
At the beginning of the study, published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, 4,135 participants in the Irish Longitudinal Study on Aging (TILDA) answered a questionnaire about aging and took tests to measure their cognitive and physical abilities. Two years later, participants retook the test.
After comparing the data, researchers observed a correlation between a person’s perceptions of aging and their health: Those who viewed aging as a negative thing tended to walk slower and displayed poorer cognitive abilities than their more positive peers. Even when accounting for medication, mood, life circumstances and other health issues, researchers found that those who viewed aging positively did better on cognitive exams.
“Everyone will grow older and if negative attitudes towards ageing are carried throughout life they can have a detrimental, measurable effect on mental, physical and cognitive health,” Deidre Robertson, Ph.D., post-doctoral researcher at Columbia University and study lead researcher, said in a statement.
Time for an attitude check? Additional research has shown that the benefits of positivity don’t just come in the future. You’re more likely to recover from a disability if you think your best years are ahead, you’re more likely to trust others as you age, and there’s even evidence of improved happiness, wisdom, and a devil-may-care fashion sense as you get older. Seems like plenty of proof that the best is yet to come.