Whether our brain ageing, makes us feel old or whether feeling old, ages our brain, is not so clear but the advice is, hedging your bets, feel younger and hope that it helps keep your brain young too . . . . . . . . . . .
Without a doubt, therapeutically speaking, I only ever get to see people who are experiencing some form of emotional, psychological or mental difficulty. That said, I do know that there are those who have issues but will never seek out any help. Then there are those others! So, in that context, this blog may not be representative of all peoples.
Empirically speaking, when I was experiencing extreme stress, 20 plus years ago, I really did feel older than I was and my shoulders often ached too, the weight of the world I guess! Nowadays, I really do feel younger than I am, irrespective of what any mirror or camera may be trying to tell me. I hear people say, "age is just a number but common sense tells me, the bigger the number, the older the age? So, I am beginning to believe that age is not just a number, it is a mindset!
Over my 18 plus years as a hypnotherapist, I have discovered that we each have a unique ability to manage the way our mind works but, what is the mind? While there are numerous debates on the mind, e.g. what is it? where is it? how does it work? My growing belief is that it is mostly a word we created that describes a mental function that we are aware of but have no real idea how it works or how, specifically, we can learn to use it.
My work as a hypnotherapist has taught me that we can develop the ability to communicate with both levels of mind, conscious and subconscious. The key factor that determines the quality of that inter-conscious communication, comes from the resting, brainwave, state of our brain. The slower the brainwave, the more effective the communication. How can I prove that? Well, there is not a shadow of a doubt in my mind, that hypnosis helps people to recode the way their brain/mind functions. They come into therapy with an issue and leave therapy; without it. Conclusion, the therapy was instrumental in the removal of the issue! During the process of delivering a hypnotherapeutic intervention, the brain is in a very relaxed and reduced state of brainwave activity, usually "Theta," and likely varying states of REM/NonREM phases.
In conclusion, if you want to be mentally younger, learn hypnosis and one of the best ways to do that is to find yourself a good hypnotherapist. Bias as I might be, I provide hypnotherapy 1on1 in Singapore and via Skype worldwide. In both cases, you get a Free Consultation and an opportunity to make an informed choice?
My objective here is to help people understand how and why we become illogically trapped into emotional experiences that may actually be happening but for reasons different to that which we would imagine! If you want to know more about how Hypnotherapy can help you; why not make an appointment for a Free Consultation?
While everyone gets older, not everyone feels their age. A recent study finds that such feelings, called subjective age, may reflect brain ageing. Using MRI brain scans, researchers found that elderly people who feel younger than their age show fewer signs of brain ageing, compared with those who feel their age or older than their age. Published in open-access journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, this study is the first to find a link between subjective age and brain ageing. The results suggest that elderly people who feel older than their age should consider caring for their brain health.
We tend to think of ageing as a fixed process, where our bodies and minds change steadily. However, the passing years affect everyone differently. How old we feel, which is called our subjective age, also varies between people -- with many feeling older or younger than their actual age.
But is subjective age just a feeling or attitude, or does it reflect how our bodies are actually ageing? This question intrigued Dr Jeanyung Chey of Seoul National University in Korea.
"Why do some people feel younger or older than their real age?" asks Chey. "Some possibilities include depressive states, personality differences or physical health. However, no-one had investigated brain ageing processes as a possible reason for differences in subjective age."
People frequently experience some cognitive impairment as they age. In fact, the brain shows a variety of age-related changes that are reflective of declining neural health, including reductions in grey matter volumes. Recently developed techniques can help researchers to identify brain features associated with ageing, to provide an estimated brain age.
Chey and her colleagues applied these techniques to investigate the link between subjective age and brain ageing. They performed MRI brain scans in 68 healthy people whose ages ranged from 59-84 years and looked at grey matter volumes in various brain regions. The participants also completed a survey, which included questions on whether they felt older or younger than their age and questions assessing their cognitive abilities and perceptions of their overall health.
People who felt younger than their age were more likely to score higher on a memory test, considered their health to be better and were less likely to report depressive symptoms. Critically, those who felt younger than their age showed increased grey matter volume in key brain regions. The researchers used the MRI data to calculate estimated brain ages for the participants.
"We found that people who feel younger have the structural characteristics of a younger brain," said Chey. "Importantly, this difference remains robust even when other possible factors, including personality, subjective health, depressive symptoms, or cognitive functions, are accounted for."
The researchers hypothesise that those who feel older may be able to sense the ageing process in their brain, as their loss of grey matter may make cognitive tasks more challenging.
However, at present, the researchers do not know for sure if these brain characteristics are directly responsible for subjective age and will need to carry out long-term studies to understand this link further.
One intriguing possibility is that those who feel younger are more likely to lead a more physically and mentally active life, which could cause improvements in brain health. However, for those who feel older, the opposite could be true.
"If somebody feels older than their age, it could be a sign for them to evaluate their lifestyle, habits and activities that could contribute to brain ageing and take measures to better care for their brain health," said Chey.
The research is part of a special article collection on assessment of brain ageing across the lifespan.
Materials provided by Frontiers. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
- Seyul Kwak, Hairin Kim, Jeanyung Chey, Yoosik Youm. Feeling How Old I Am: Subjective Age Is Associated With Estimated Brain Age. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 2018; 10 DOI: 10.3389/fnagi.2018.00168