Being un-happy, feeling hopeless or lonely may age you faster than physical risk factors, according to new research.
When it comes to keeping healthy, research has shown this is done by watching what we eat, drink and how much we move. But academics have suggested that good mental health may help you live longer.
A new study, conducted by Deep Longevity in collaboration with US and Chinese scientists, set out to determine the impact that psychological feelings can have on the pace of ageing.
According to findings, published in the journal Aging-US, having a combination of psychological issues were found to accelerate age by 1.65 years. Such factors included being unhappy, lacking focus, depression and fear.
In fact, research determined that poor psychological health was shown to age people more than smoking, which adds an average of 1.25 years to biological age. Other factors which speed age rates include marital status, poor sleeping and living in rural areas - due to "low availability of medical services".
Researchers examined blood and biometric data of 11,914 Chinese adults, measured with a verified "anti-aging" clock - the first of its kind to be used on a control group of this size.
While accelerated ageing was found in those with a history of stroke, liver and lung diseases, it was also detected in people with a vulnerable mental state. The study ultimately determined that psychological problems should not be ignored when it comes to overall health.
Manuel Faria, from Stanford University, said: “Mental and psychosocial states are some of the most robust predictors of health outcomes - and quality of life - yet they have largely been omitted from modern healthcare”.
Back in June, a government survey revealed that loneliness is on the rise in Scotland. A YouGov poll for the British red cross found 30 per cent of people felt lonelier then compared to the year before - despite the country being in the midst of lockdown at that time.
Findings revealed the rising cost of living crisis was a factor, as 53 percent admitted to cutting back on socialising in an effort to save money.
If you feel that your mental health is not in a good state and need to talk to someone - you can reach out to Samaritans 24 hours a day, 365 days a year by calling 116 123. For more information, visit their website here.