The Weird Way A Bad Mood Affects Your Age

by Lily Feinn

Imagine: you’re out of coffee, there’s tons of traffic on your way to work, and it’s time for another quarterly review. Stressed out yet? Days like this can make you feel a hundred years old, and now there is actual scientific proof that people feel older when they're in a bad mood. A new study suggests that how old you feel is dependent on daily-stressors and general well-being, and can fluctuate day-to-day. There are the kinds of days you feel like you can accomplish anything — run a marathon in a pair of sandals, dance 'til dawn, eat an entire ice cream cake by yourself. Days like that, you feel so young you could take the SATs all over again and finally get that perfect Verbal (God, no!).

If I do not get a good night’s sleep and wake up on the cranky side of the bed, call me Grandma, I might as well be plucking out grey chin hairs. In the study, the participants said they also felt older on days where they were suffering from pain due to health issues, were especially stressed, or just were in a plain old bad mood. Conversely, they felt younger while under comparatively less stress. So before taking on that extra project at work, take a moment and think what that can do to your subjective age.

The study asked its participants (a majority of women and all over the age of 60) to record in questionnaires their daily felt age, health, mood, and general stressors over an eight-day period. Out of the 43 participants most revealed discrepancies between their actual age and how they felt, and variability in this subjective age was due to the “short-term variability in other variables.” (Aka you could wake up feeling like a 20-year-old, then stub your toe and spill tomato sauce on yourself and go to bed feeling 40.) Hence, pain, stress and age are all invariably linked. Getting that extra beauty sleep might not be a bad idea after all!

Image: CBS, Giphy