Studies Show There's 1 Unexpected Trait That Can Help You Age Better

Want to thrive in your golden years? Start doing this now.
FatCamera via Getty Images

There’s no denying it: We live in a youth-obsessed society, largely because of our collective fear of aging. But what if, somehow, we could see getting older as a blessing instead of a curse? After all, as the wise philosopher Pitbull once said, “Every day above ground is a great day.”

While we can’t control everything about how we advance towards and eventually experience our golden years, there are several scientifically proven steps we can take to improve our chances of staying as healthy and happy as possible as we age.

That’s why we — Raj Punjabi and Noah Michelson, the co-hosts of HuffPost’s “Am I Doing It Wrong?” podcast — recently chatted with Dr. Parul Goyal, a geriatric medicine specialist at Vanderbilt Health, to learn as many secrets as we can about thriving past the age of 65.

Goyal told us that regardless of how old you we are right now, there are ways to adjust your diet, level and quality of physical activity and even your sex life that will help you set yourself up for success later down the road. She also revealed an unexpected approach to aging that can act as a fountain of youth — and it’s absolutely free.

“Research has indicated that individuals that have a positive mindset tend to experience improved cognitive function, better physical health, and enhanced emotional resilience,” Goyal told us. In other words: Optimism is the key to aging like Paul Rudd.

She pointed to a study that came out in 2019 from Rockefeller University, which talked about how optimism was associated with exceptional longevity in two different cohorts. And another study that came out of France found positive perceptions of aging were key predictors in a person’s quality of life, she said.

So how can we supercharge our optimism?

“Keep a gratitude journal to use at night, practice positive affirmations, practice meditation, and spend time with positive thinkers,” Goyal said. “Because you are who you spend your time with.”

We also discussed other ways to take care of yourself (and your loved ones) to guarantee aging is more pleasurable than stressful, including tips for keeping your brain sharp and why some kinds of naps are better than others.

After you’ve had a listen to the full episode above or wherever you get your podcasts, subscribe to “Am I Doing It Wrong?” so you don’t miss a single episode, including our investigations of the ins and outs of tipping, how to score the best deals on airline tickets, how to apologize or vanquish your credit card debt, how to find love online or overcome anxiety, tips for online shopping, taking care of your teeth and pooping like a pro, the shocking truth about doing your laundry, secrets to booking and staying in a hotel, how to deal with an angry person, and more.

Need some help with something you’ve been doing wrong? Email us at, and we might investigate the topic in an upcoming episode.

Popular in the Community


HuffPost Shopping’s Best Finds