Is the COVID pandemic aging us?

Countless people worldwide have experienced loneliness as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and might feel like they're aging faster than they were before it began. And while they’re definitely not alone in feeling like the pandemic has aged them, a new study may show some real evidence that COVID-19 has made us all a little bit older.

"It's clearly having an impact across mind, body, and spirit," said Dr. Peter Economou, a psychologist and associate professor at Rutgers University, reacting to a recent article in the scientific journal Nature which suggests that the pandemic has aged not only those who have contracted COVID, but also those affected by working remotely, having their businesses shut down and other factors.

"Well, if you have a lot of negative self-talk, which is really common in depression or while you're isolated, that will lead to the release of negative hormones. You know, we have this thing called oxytocin, which is the happy hormone. And so if we're not feeling great, we're not having a lot of that and that would lead to us potentially aging at a quicker rate," said Economou.

For so many, pandemic stress has led to wrinkles, gray hair, and just overall anxiety. 

Dr. Economou says there’s no way to know how we might all be affected by this pandemic in the long run, but he does encourage people to create wellness plans. Try to be active, think positively and just do things that make you happy. That may sound simple, but Dr. Economou thinks it could make a big difference.

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