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A new study by University College London has determined that people who feel ‘young at heart’ could have a longer life expectancy.

6,489 people aged 52 or older were asked how old they felt and were then followed over 99 months to identify the mortality rate. No fewer than 66% of the participants felt three or more years younger than their actual age, a quarter felt their actual age and the remaining subjects felt older than their age.

The study found that over the 8 year period that the subjects were followed 15.9% passed away; of those more of the participants who felt older than their actual age died than those who felt their age or younger.

James Maddux, professor emeritus of Psychology at George Mason University, Virginia analysed the study and concluded how important optimism can be when it comes to a person’s health and well-being.

“Anxiety and poor management of stress can put people at increased risk of cardiovascular disease.”

However he also stated that “if you feel your life and health is largely under your control, and you believe you are capable of doing things like managing stress, eating right and exercising, then you are more likely to do those things.”

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