Five Evidence-Backed Ways To Feel Younger And Happier

As advancing age brings increasing anxiety about fractures– made worse by the doomsaying and diagnostics of the Medical Industry– the anxiety itself can make you feel older than your age. In fact, the strain of anxiety does take a toll on your health and your bone density.

Part of the motivation for building stronger, fracture-resistant bones is to regain the confidence of youth and to be happy.

Today we’ll look at five techniques to feel younger and happier in your day-to-day life. They’re all backed up by evidence gathered through scientific studies. Try a few (or all five!) and discover the difference they can make in your life.

1. Act Younger To Feel Younger

British researchers led by psychologist Dr. Meg Arroll conducted a study questioning 2,000 UK citizens about how occasionally taking on childlike behaviors and qualities impacts their mood and self-perception.

Overwhelmingly, participants reported that engaging in an activity or mindset that they consider childlike or youthful made them feel younger, happier and healthier.1 These activities ranged from nostalgic pastimes like playing favorite childhood board games, to simply letting loose and getting silly with a loved one, or on their own.

People cited making silly faces and voices, playing practical jokes, driving with the music turned up loud, blowing bubbles through a straw, and mimicking others among the actions that connected them with a youthful mindset.

Dr. Arrol noted that existing research has shown that nostalgia acts as a buffer against depression, and works to increase social connectedness, which is linked to healthier behaviors. Dr. Arrol adds:

“Perceiving ourselves as younger than our age is linked to a more future-orientated outlook, which means that we make better health choices such as engaging in exercise and healthy eating.”1

Lowering stress, engaging in physical activity, and a balanced diet are all essential components for building stronger bones. Who would have guessed that dedicating some time to silliness could help you prevent fractures!

2. Experience Nature Every Day

Researchers at the University of British Columbia conducted a two-week study on nearly 400 participants to determine the emotional and psychological impact of engaging with the natural world.

They split the participants into three groups. One group was asked to take photographs of the natural world they came into contact with over the course of the two weeks, then write about the emotions or thoughts that arose. Another group was asked to do the same, but for human-made objects. The third group served as a control and was not given any instructions.

Here are the results, as published in The Journal Of Positive Psychology:

“Post-intervention levels of net positive affect, elevating experiences, a general sense of connectedness (to other people, to nature and life as a whole) and prosocial orientation were significantly higher in the nature group compared to the human-built and control groups.”2

The positive impacts mentioned in the quote above were the result of engaging with whatever natural elements were already present in the participants’ day-to-day lives.

3. Group Singing Provides Big Benefits

A study published in the journal Medical Humanities examined the mental health benefits of group singing. British researchers followed participants in a community singing workshop called Sing Your Heart Out aimed at both the general populace and those with mental health conditions.

The purpose of Sing Your Heart Out was to provide a therapeutic group activity that would improve the quality of life and mental health condition of the participants. Researchers evaluated the effect of the workshops through 20 interviews with participants, two focus groups with organizers and participative observation over the course of 6 months.3

In a news release about the study here’s what lead researcher Professor Tom Shakespeare said:

“All of the participants we spoke to reported positive effects on their mental health as a direct result of taking part in the singing workshops. We found that singing as part of a group contributes to people’s recovery from mental health problems.”4

This success is in part attributed to the structure of the workshops. The choir was a low-pressure environment where people could come together and do something fun without the high stakes of a public performance, and without the emotional labor of talking about their conditions. It created an opportunity to be social and build community, which in turn improved participants confidence, function, and mood.

Sing Your Heart Out isn’t just for those seeking therapeutic programs to help with mental health conditions. It’s also open to the public and has proved a source of joy, personal expression, and social engagement for the entire community.

Seek out a local choir at a community center, church or music school to take advantage of the life-altering benefits of raising your voice in joyful harmony. (And don’t worry, it’s not about hitting the right notes!)

4. Harness The Power Of The Power Nap

We all know that a nap can provide the extra energy you need to make it through the day. Now we know that the right kind of napping can also make you happier.

Research conducted by Professor Richard Wiseman from the University of Hertfordshire draws the connection between power naps and improved mood. For this study, he interviewed 1,000 participants about their napping habits and happiness self-assessment. He divided the respondents up into Short Nappers (those who nap less than 30 minutes at a time), Long Nappers (those whose naps exceed 30 minutes) and No Nappers.

In the end, 66% of Short Nappers reported that they’re generally happy. Next in line were the No Nappers at 60%, while only 56% of Long Nappers reported themselves as being happy.

These results align with research that has confirmed the health effects of napping, as summated by Professor Wiseman:

“Naps of under 30 minutes make you more focused, productive and creative, and these new findings suggest the tantalising possibility that you can also become happier by just taking a short nap.”5

So next time you’re feeling burnt out and worn down, set the alarm for a short nap to give yourself the boost you need, and reclaim the rest of your day with increased energy and improved mood. It might be just what you need to get in your regular dose of bone-targeted weight-bearing exercise, or to cook your own bone-healthy dinner.

5. Reverse Frailty And Depression Through Diet And Exercise

This study comes from the National University of Singapore, where researchers undertook a four-year study to examine how changes to diet and exercise could reduce the rate of hospitalization, mental decline, and early death in physically weak elderly people.

The researchers worked with 250 participants aged 65 or older, randomly divided into five groups with different regimens:

  • Physical training
  • Cognitive training
  • Improved diet
  • All of the above
  • No adjustments (control)

The participants’ level of frailty was assessed before the trial began, then at the halfway point and again at the end of the study.

Ultimately, each of the individual interventions produced positive results on the physical and cognitive health of the participants, as did the combination of the three interventions. Participants increased their walking speed, improved muscle strength (which is critical for new bone growth), had fewer cognitive problems and saw reduced levels of depression.6

Indeed, as little as 150 minutes of exercise a week sharpens memory and prevents dementia. New evidence from researchers at the Mayo Clinic confirms that for people diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment, just two sessions of exercise per week can improve memory and cognitive function, slowing any eventual progression toward dementia.7

Powerful Tools At Your Fingertips

It may seem obvious that exercise and an improved diet will make you stronger, sharper and happier. Yet unfortunately, few doctors will make these tools their primary means of helping people to live fuller, healthier, longer lives.

Stop Worrying About Your Bone Loss

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These powerful, holistic lifestyle changes — backed up by reams of scientific evidence — are foundational to the Save Our Bones Program. When you incorporate the simple and straightforward steps suggested in the Program, you’re not just working towards preventing fractures and stronger bones; you’re improving the health of your entire body.

Till next time,

References:

1 “Be Sillier For Long, Happy Life? Study Finds Key To Feeling Younger Is Acting Younger.” StudyFinds. January 4, 2018. Web: https://www.studyfinds.org/health-well-being-younger-childhood/
2 Colin A. Capaldi, Holli-Anne Passmore, Ryo Ishii, Ksenia A. Chistopolskaya, Jonte Vowinckel, Evgeni L. Nikolaev, Gennady I. Semikin. “Engaging with Natural Beauty May Be Related to Well-Being Because It Connects People to Nature: Evidence from Three Cultures. (2017) Ecopsychology 9:4, pages 199-211. Web: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/citedby/10.1080/17439760.2016.1221126?scroll=top&needAccess=true
3 Shakespeare T, Whieldon A Sing Your Heart Out: community singing as part of mental health recovery Medical Humanities Published Online First: 25 November 2017. Web: http://mh.bmj.com/content/early/2017/11/25/medhum-2017-011195.citation-tools
4 “How singing your heart out could make you happier.” Press Release. 21/12/2017. Web: https://www.uea.ac.uk/about/-/how-singing-your-heart-out-could-make-you-happier
5 University of Hertfordshire. “Forget happiness…. It’s time for nappiness!” Press Release. 31 March 2017. Web: http://www.herts.ac.uk/about-us/news/2017/march/forget-happiness-its-time-for-nappiness
6 National University Of Singapore. “Good nutrition, physical training and mental exercises can reverse physical frailty in the elderly: NUS study.” NUS News. 19 June 2017. Web: https://news.nus.edu.sg/press-releases/reverse-physical-frailty-in-elderly
7 Ronald C. Petersen, et al. “Practice guideline update summary: Mild cognitive impairment.” Neurology. Dec 2017. Web: http://n.neurology.org/content/early/2017/12/27/WNL.0000000000004826

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15 comments. Leave Yours Now →
  1. Kathleen March 1, 2018, 8:53 pm

    Everyone, I have practiced “silliness” my whole life. I am almost 72 years old but always think of myself as mentally 34. (Maybe I’ll advance a year or two this year. (Giggle ) Your article really hit home and my message to everyone is to try it. It really helps positivity and happiness. We all need a sunny outlook on life, yes?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA March 2, 2018, 8:41 pm

      Great advice, Kathleen! I love your attitude. We should all “practice silliness” now and then. 😀

  2. jen February 17, 2018, 3:35 pm

    Hi Vivian! Also, Hi Saveourbones Community!

    I’ve never written on any kind of internet forum before, but wanted to share a bit of encouragement to others.

    I’m 54 yrs old and had my first bone density test done in May 2017. The test showed I’m in the osteoporosis category; I was shocked and concerned about the results. I’m a cost analyst and as a result I’m used to analyzing everything! The Dr., or course, recommended an osteoporosis drug, but when I did my research on them and read the side effects, I said to myself there must be another option. I found Vivian’s program on the internet last June and have been following her recommended diet, exercises, and supplements. I plan to have another bone density test done in May 2018 and I’m extremely optimistic that I will see improvements. In the meantime, though, I what I wanted to share with you a bit of encouragement… I’ve been 5’7″ tall since adulthood, but last May when they measured my height it showed 5’6 3/4.” After having just received my bone density test, I immediately thought “Oh, no, I’ve lost height b/c of the osteoporosis!” Well, 6 months after doing Vivian’s exercises, the Dr happened to measure my height again, and I was back st 5’7″! I’m confident that the exercises have improved my posture! Thank you, Vivian, for developing the saveourbones program. I’ve already improved my posture with your program, and I’m confident I will see the results of your program during my next bone density test!

    • Kathleen March 1, 2018, 8:42 pm

      Jen, I believe it actually takes 2 years for bones to remodel. Ask your doctor but I think you may want to wait another year to have the test done .

      • Jen March 3, 2018, 9:56 am

        Yes, Kathleen, I’ve read that too. Thanks for the reminder! I guess I’m just hoping I can see a little improvement (or at least a stable state!!) I think I will have to pay out-of-pocket as insurance does not cover except when you have it done every 2 years.

  3. Bobbi Fencl February 16, 2018, 6:23 pm

    I have had back problems since my first laminectomy in 1970. I have stopped taking pills many times.. I recently was pulled off of 300 mg. A day for the past 11 years…two serious falls( a flight of stairs ..then 11’ headfurst offa scaffolding. I then had a stroke..11 years later, I woke up and started asking why all the pills? They got scared and dropped me..they labeled me as an insubordinate..no one will see me.. my dog jumped on me in the middle of the night (25lbs.) right on my stomach and my low back just ripped.. I can’t get out of bed and the pain is unbearable. No pain clinic or hospital will see me now.. I’m loosing this battle.. any suggestions?

  4. Laurie February 16, 2018, 3:43 pm

    I have osteoporosis and I found out when I was only 40years old. I used to work out and ate a better diet. I’m 50 now and I don’t exercise , I have no ambition. I drink coffee and I eat alot of sugar, I know it’s bad for my bones, but I can’t get back to how I used to be. Is it to late, can I reverse my bone loss with your diet. My doc wants me to take drugs for my osteoporosis. I refuse. How can I give up the sugar?

    • Glory February 19, 2018, 5:24 pm

      Laurie – I read your comment and thought about my family history with health, diet, and exercise. I decided to make a change when I was 38 (I’m now 58). Later as I saw other relatives struggle, I thought back to how I changed my diet. It was one thing at a time. Trying to change too many things at once I knew would be difficult and discouraging. I decided to write a short book about how I did it to encourage other people & to give practical ideas for making one change at a time. You can find it on Amazon at this link: http://amzn.to/2BFw2Mr
      It’s called “How I Changed My Diet, Lost Weight, & Gained Health: and You Can, Too!”
      Much of the premise is about changing habits (+ practical ways to do it). The more habits we try to change at once, the more likely we’ll fail. If we make one change at a time, we get small wins.

  5. Nancy February 16, 2018, 8:52 am

    This is perhaps the most important column you have written. This youthful mindset and these activities also ward off depression. Thanks for the reminders!

  6. Elle February 15, 2018, 5:35 pm

    I love everything written because I’m doing it all🤸‍♂️Good diet, exercise, practicing being grateful and getting to bed by 10:00pm. Circadium rhYthm good for the brain💝🙏🌍

  7. Rita February 15, 2018, 2:13 pm

    Thank you for the wonderful suggestions. It works because I am doing all. Church weekly, exercise 3 days a week at the Senior Center. Diet is very important to me. The napping sounds wonderful too.

  8. shula February 15, 2018, 12:44 pm

    Great suggestions including the singing and the napping.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA February 15, 2018, 1:43 pm

      I hope you’re able to implement the suggestions that work for you, Shula. 🙂

  9. Marlene February 15, 2018, 9:26 am

    Good morning Vivian,
    Thank you very much for your Excellent reminder.

    Have a wonderful day.
    Marlene

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA February 15, 2018, 10:42 am

      You are welcome, Marlene!

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