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Is ageing down to just genetics or can positive psychology help slow it?

Integrating positive psychology into areas of self-esteem, confidence and motivation, helps our choices become focused on healthy living and stress reduction.

Research has found that positive reinforcement encourages a real shift in thought-processing. The opposite applies for negative thinking, which can create internalisation of despair and hopelessness.

Your advice to people who wish to improve their biological age.

Try to incorporate the following good practices in your daily life:

■ Follow a healthy lifestyle. Try to exercise for 30 mins a day — a walk, even broken down into 3x10-minute walks, can do wonders for your mood and stress reduction. Research has shown that physical activity in young adulthood benefits brain power in midlife. 

■ Reflect on how you are feeling. We all experience highs and lows throughout the day. When you are shifting from positive to negative thoughts, stay aware of how this shift impacts your physical response. Reflection is key to achieving and being in a ‘positive’ space

■ Be around people who raise your spirits, support you and are a positive influence.

■ Use positive self-talk. It’s so important that we are kind and compassionate to ourselves. We are often kind and caring towards others yet overly hard on ourselves. Try to focus on the positives in your life and what you are thankful for. Challenge negative thoughts with a positive strengths-based focus. Identify the negative areas in your life and try to shift the focus to a more positive outlook.

■ Laugh and laugh out loud, even during challenging and difficult times. Find humour in everything; release stress through laughter.

(Tanya Dharamshi, clinical director and counselling psychologist at Priory Wellbeing Centre, Dubai)