Debra – Secrets To a Long Life

Wouldn’t we all like to take the “long life” highway?

Haven’t we all listened to the advice of our elders for living longer?  Maybe we don’t always take the advice, but we listen.  The older we get, the more we listen!

About a month ago, I came across an astonishing article (footnote below) detailing a study of 1500 participants whose lives were tracked for EIGHTY YEARS.

Some of what the study uncovered is startling and counterintuitive.  So, let’s begin:

Men live longer if they are married.  Yep.  That is “steadily married men” live longer.  If you are a “man ho,” then you’re screwed.  (Literally.)

Relax more and you’ll live longer.  Not so much.  In the study, those with the most career success were least likely to die young.  Successful men lived years longer.  Ditto for productive women.  It’s important that we have a sustained work life.  Who knew?  Retirement is not the life saver it’s cracked up to be.

You’ll worry yourself to death! No.  Not really.  Trying to get rid of those obsessive traits?  That need to organize?  That annoying tendency to think ahead and prepare for disaster?  You keep right on doing that.  And if you aren’t forward-thinking and paying attention to details, you should start.  The study found that you can improve your life path if you BECOME conscientious. 

Advanced degrees means advanced years.  No!  Productivity and persistence were better indicators of long life than the PHD.  Advanced degrees are good.  Educated people tend to live a little longer in general, but education alone isn’t enough to boot Death from the doorstep.

Optimism, happiness and cheerfulness will see you through to a long, happy life.  A big pessimistic NO.  Cheerfulness was right up there with high blood pressure and high cholesterol as a risk factor for early death.  Optimists are the opposite of the long-lived worrier.

Obviously there is a great deal more to the study, but I find even these tidbits are fascinating.  The study began as a way to understand the sources of intellectual leadership.  The children were studied in depth and followed.  Then decades after the original study, the participants were recycled and studied anew for twenty more years to unlock some of the secrets to long life.

What are your secrets to a long life?  Did you win the gene pool lottery and fall over 90 year-old relatives at every reunion?

Footnote:  The Myths Of Living Longer, Parade Magazine, The Commercial Appeal newspaper

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5 Responses to Debra – Secrets To a Long Life

  1. Betina says:

    Interesting stuff, Deb. I just heard some gloomy statistics about how little most people have saved to fund retirement, and I think that most of us will HAVE TO be active and productive through our sixties just to make ends meet. Me– my 401K has taken such hits that I’ll be working until my absolute expiration date comes up!

    It’s health that is the prime factor for me. Who wants to live to be 95 if you’re sick for the last 25 or 30 years? Walking for exercise and plenty of fiber. . . some time to meditate/pray every day. . . oh, and green tea. Three cups daily. It’s not just anti-cancer, it’s good living.

  2. DebraDixon says:

    Betina– I started on green tea about a month ago and I’ve fallen off the wagon already. I’m getting up right now to get some. Hubby got me green tea bags and it’s so easy to quickly brew some up. Thanks for the reminder.

  3. kylie brant says:

    Fun facts, Deb. Love the one saying cheerful people don’t live longer. I knew those miserable cheerful morning people were going to get theirs in the end! Feeling pretty cheerful here, though. Hard to be down in Cozumel!

  4. christieridgway says:

    Kylie: Hope you’re having a wonderful time!

    I have a good gene pool, but I fully intend to do my part by keeping active in body and mind. Use it or lose it!

    And green tea…yes, I need to get into that habit.

  5. DebraDixon says:

    Kylie– Okay, I think you are allowed to be cheerful in vacation situations! (g) Those don’t penalize your longevity.

    Christie–I’ve seen you. Your gene pool is outstanding!

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