Look on the bright side of life to feel young
A new study has found that people who age best have a light-hearted, optimistic outlook on life, a finding which offers a new theory on why some with good genes have a sunnier outlook and sharper mind in old age.
The researchers at University of Hamburg in Germany have discovered that simply focusing one`s brain on positive thoughts, and living for the moment, rather than looking too far into the future, can help main
Lead researcher Dr Stefanie Brassen said that successful ageing came down to "the positivity effect". She said this was "a biased tendency towards and preference for positive, emotionally gratifying experiences".
For their research, the researchers conducted an experiment which saw young and elderly adults presented with pictures of happy, sad, fearful or neutral faces.
During certain parts of the task when participants were told they could relax, researchers noted that the elderly subjects were much more engaged by the sight of a happy face, a news source reported.
By scanning the brains of participants, the researchers discovered increased activity in the rostral anterior cingulate cortex, the part of the brain that controls emotions. High levels of activity in this part of the brain are associated with good mental health.
The study, published in a journal, suggest that staying happy and focusing on life`s positives are key to people remaining mentally alert as they get older.
Dr John Krystal, the editor of Biological Psychiatry, added: "The lessons of healthy ageing seem to be similar to those of resilience throughout life."