A lot of factors can make someone’s mental age older than they actually are. For one thing, you may have just always been an old soul since you were young, or certain experiences may have caused you to mature faster than you would have liked. Health factors can also influence an aging brain, making it (and subsequently you) age more quickly, which will certainly influence how you think and feel.
In general, minding your health (especially brain health) is sure to make you feel younger. There are brain exercises you can do as you age to keep the mind sharp, for example. Milstein also recommends brain-healthy habits like like walking with friends (which research2 says can help ward off dementia, BTW), getting enough exercise, eating a nutritious diet, and getting adequate rest.
Additionally, whether your mental age is young or old, we should always strive to keep learning for the sake of our brains and personal development. As Milstein writes in his book, “Think of your brain like a bank account; the more deposits we make, the less our net worth is affected by withdrawals. We make deposits (new connections) by learning new things; As we age and naturally lose some of those connections, there are simply more remaining.”
Ultimately, though, an older mental age often translates to wisdom, and Nuñez notes there can be benefits to your mature mindset. “No matter what age you are, it’s so important to keep a healthy mindset and reframe any negative thinking around what makes you, you,” she tells mbg.