The Personality Trait Linked To Looking Younger

People high on this personality trait look younger and are able to walk faster.

People high on this personality trait look younger and are able to walk faster.

Self-control is linked to aging more slowly, a study finds.

People who are better able to control their thoughts, feelings and behaviours have biologically younger brains and bodies at age 45.

This means that people with higher self-control look younger and are able to walk faster.

Those who find themselves somewhat lacking in self-control, though, should not despair.

Self-control is not set in stone and can be learned.

In addition, midlife is not too late to make changes like starting to exercise and quitting smoking.

The conclusions come from a study of almost 1,000 people in New Zealand who were tracked from birth.

The aim of the study was to see whether self-control helped people prepare for old age.

Dr Richmond-Rakerd, the study’s first author, explained:

“Our population is growing older, and living longer with age-related diseases.

It’s important to identify ways to help individuals prepare successfully for later-life challenges, and live more years free of disability.

We found that self-control in early life may help set people up for healthy aging.”

The people in the study were tracked from around the age of 3-years-old until they were 45.

As children their self-control was measured and as adults their brains and bodies were tested for physiological signs of aging.

The results revealed that people with higher self-control as children walked faster, had younger looking faces and healthier bodies overall as adults.

Professor Terrie Moffitt, study co-author, said:

“Everyone fears an old age that’s sickly, poor, and lonely, so aging well requires us to get prepared, physically, financially, and socially.

We found people who have used self-control since childhood are far more prepared for aging than their same-age peers.”

Improve your self-control

There are a variety of science-backed ways to improve your self-control.

These include positive affirmations, keeping busy, feeling grateful, abstract thinking, avoiding the ‘license to sin’, and not trying too hard.

→ Here are 10 more studies on what self-control can do for you.

→ Read on: How to change your personality.

The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Richmond-Rakerd et al., 2021).


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Hello, and welcome to PsyBlog. Thanks for dropping by.

This site is all about scientific research into how the mind works.

It’s mostly written by psychologist and author, Dr Jeremy Dean.

I try to dig up fascinating studies that tell us something about what it means to be human.

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Author: Jeremy Dean

Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology. He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book "Making Habits, Breaking Habits" (Da Capo, 2013) and several ebooks.