Why you probably look much older than you think | Arwa Mahdawi

A majority of people imagine they’re far fresher-faced than they actually are. So should we be battling our internalised ageism and embracing the ravages of time?

Sit your old bones down, because I’ve got bad news: you probably look older than you think you do. Don’t shoot the messenger – blame science. A recent study published in the journal Psychology and Aging found that 59% of US adults aged 50 to 80 believe they look younger than other people their age. Women and people with higher incomes were slightly more likely to say they thought they looked fresher than their peers; and only 6% of adults in the bracket thought (or realised) they looked older than others their age. In short, most of us are delusional.

While the survey only included people over 50, I reckon they would have got the same results if they polled anyone over 30. Our brains have inbuilt denial mechanisms that stop us confronting our own mortality. Many people’s biological age tends to differ from their “subjective age” (or how old they feel). Mine certainly does: according to my passport I’m 40, but in my head I’m still a sprightly 29.

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