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.