A good attitude key to a long, healthy life

old dude

Personality traits may have a lot to do with how long you live. After studying over 200 people aged over 100 years a research team found that traits like being optimistic, easygoing, outgoing, staying engaged in activities and enjoying laughter influence longevity.

Previous studies focused on genetics

Scientists in earlier studies have found that personality comes from underlying genetic mechanisms that my influence health. This study identified genetically based personality characteristics of the participants and they selected Ashkenzi Jews who are genetically homogenous.

Nir Barzilai, MD, the Ingeborg and Ira Leon Rennert Chair of Aging Research, and author of the study summarizes:

“When I started working with centenarians, I thought we’d find that they survived so long in part because they were mean and ornery. But when we assessed the personalities of these 243 centenarians, we found qualities that clearly reflect a positive attitude towards life. Most were outgoing, optimistic and easygoing. They considered laughter an important part of life and had a large social network. They expressed emotions openly rather than bottling them up,”

Conscientiousness and neurosis also factors

They also found that these centenarians had higher scores for being conscientious and lower scores for being neurotic compared with a sample group from the US population.

Barzilai concludes:

“Some evidence indicates that personality can change between the ages of 70 and 100, so we don’t know whether our centenarians have maintained their personality traits across their entire lifespans. Nevertheless, our findings suggest that centenarians share particular personality traits and that genetically-based aspects of personality may play an important role in achieving both good health and exceptional longevity.”

Source: MedicalNewsToday, Aging

 
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