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What if you could predict who would live the longest?

| Oct 28, 2011 | Firm News

Longevity_Project_cover

Here is an interesting book (and book review at the blog Caring Right at Home) on the concept of predictors in the aging process –  The Longevity Project.  A lot of the habits and attitudes that seem to lead to a long and healthy life may not do so.  And some of those that go against what I thought was the common wisdom may in fact lead to longevity.  Regardless of your habits or lifestyle, there are quite a few nuggets here worth pondering.  Here are some of the conclusions:

  • The top personality trait that predicts a long, healthy life is “conscientiousness”—the “qualities of a prudent, persistent, well-organized person.”
  • Characteristics displayed at an early age are not necessarily permanent. For example, a tendency toward catastrophic thinking (extreme pessimism) poses a health risk. But this is one area where we can learn more healthful ways of approaching life, developing more productive ways to think about challenging events.
  • Do happiness and optimism predict a longer life? The authors show that a positive outlook can reduce stress and encourage healthy behaviors. But they also conjecture that a person who is overly optimistic may be more likely to take risks; worriers may actually be more cautious in protecting their health.