Can Your Personality Control How Long You Live?
“Those who live the longest are more outgoing, more active and less neurotic than other people,” reports a new study from Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. That makes me feel pretty good about my lifespan.
The study examined the personality traits of 246 children of people who had lived to be at least 100. (The study chose the offspring of centenarians because they are easier to follow over time than the very aged since they don’t die as often before follow-up interviews can be conducted. Also, children of those who live to 100 are themselves likelier to live longer).
Interestingly enough, long-living women are more likely to be empathetic and cooperative than woman with a short lifespan. Time reports that “these findings comport with what you would expect from evolutionary theory: those who are extroverted enough to make friends and help others are those who are going to be able to gather enough resources to make it through tough times.”
My Great Aunt Louise is almost 90, but she’s such an outgoing, vivacious woman you would think she’s just 60. At our last family reunion she was playing volleyball with the younger cousins and she is always laughing and telling stories. It’s safe to say she is one of the most extroverted (Italian-attitude) older woman I know. She’s still going strong.
Although I question a bit of the validity here I still find an undeniable truth that long life isn’t just about your physical health, but your mental health as well.
What do you think? Do you know people who are old and mean? What about happy, outgoing elders? What’s the difference between their lifestyles and longevity?