Can Gen Z reverse ‘rapid aging’? Why they fear ‘aging like milk’

By Cynthia McCormick Hibbert

The oldest members of Gen Z are still a few years away from turning 30, but their anxiety over what they call “rapid aging” has exploded on social media like a premature time bomb.

Whether Gen Zers — ages 12 to 27 — actually are on an accelerated path to wrinkles, gray hair and reading glasses, experts at Northeastern say there are a host of practices people of any age can follow to stay young in body, mind and spirit.

Does stress cause you to age like milk?

Gen Z’s simmering anxiety over aging came to full boil with internet personality Jordan Howlett’s gently humorous posts about being mistaken for his mother’s older brother — despite the fact he is only 26.

In posts such as “I’m Aging Like Milk,” the bearded Howlett talks about stress and how Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson, who is in his 50s, mistook him for a peer.

There’s no denying that Gen Z has faced unique challenges in terms of the social isolation of coming of age during a pandemic and the stressors of economic uncertainty.

Stress releases toxins that have implications for aging, says Dr. Carmen Sceppa, dean of Bouve College of Health Sciences at Northeastern, who adds that good health habits can build the type of physiological resilience that maximizes youthfulness and strength.

Practicing mental resilience could make Gen Z a particularly hardy generation, says Kristen Lee, a behavioral science teaching professor at Northeastern.

Strength and flexibility are themselves synonymous with youth.

Maximum resilience, however, is not going to come from vying for the perfect image on social media, says Rachel Rodgers, a Northeastern associate professor of applied psychology.

Continue reading at Northeastern Global News.