Who wouldn’t want to be alive and kickin’ (and running and spinning and HIITing) at 100? While diet is obviously a biggie in keeping your health in tip-top shape as you age, one new study found there are also important personality traits that can make a big impact too.
The research, published in the journal International Psychogeriatrics, looked at 29 citizens between 90 and 101 who live in remote Italian villages of the Cilento region, which is known for its long-living citizens. The subjects and their younger family members filled out surveys and provided insight about how these folks live so long. And…you can totally copy their advice to provide yourself with similar results.
Here are 6 personality traits that might help you live to 100.
Sometimes it pays to be stubborn—especially when it comes to living a long life. The researchers found (via the subjects’ younger family members, of course!) that many of the long-living adults could be domineering, stubborn, and even controlling—and those qualities allowed the longevity gurus to care less about what other people thought as well as stay true to their beliefs. Just imagine all the stress you could prevent by paying no attention to how you’re perceived and instead focusing on being your best self.
2. Adaptability to change/resilience
While the older adults tended to be stubborn, they also showed resilience and adaptability to change throughout their long lives.
“In order to flourish, they have to be able to accept and recover from the things they can’t change, but also fight for the things they can.” —Dr. Dilip Jeste, senior study author
“These people have been through depressions, they’ve been through migrations, they’ve lost loved ones,” senior study author Dilip Jeste, MD, told Time. “In order to flourish, they have to be able to accept and recover from the things they can’t change, but also fight for the things they can.”
3. Work ethic
Another common trait among the long-living villagers is a strong work ethic. They reportedly love working in their homes and on their land, and just because they’re getting older doesn’t mean they want to stop doing something they’ve been doing their entire lives.
4. Positive mind-set
Researchers also noticed a strong sense of positivity in the older adults, no matter what was going on in their lives. And past research on centenarians has shown the same thing: Keeping a positive mind-set can help lower stress levels that have detrimental effects on your health, and can in turn help you to live longer.
“I am always thinking for the best. There is always a solution in life,” said one study participant, according to a press release. “This is what my father has taught me: To always face difficulties and hope for the best.”
5. Healthy relationships
A strong bond with family is another super-important trait that kept the older adults in great shape as they aged. In fact, past research has shown neglecting your relationships can speed up the aging process—and no one wants that. So, spend time with the people you love who make you feel good—and don’t worry about the rest.
6. A sense of purpose
The participants’ solid work ethic provides them a sense of purpose that helps to keep their minds busy, their spirits happy, and their bodies healthy.
“Most of them are still working in their homes and on the land. They think, ‘This is my life and I’m not going to give it up.'” —Anna Scelzo, lead study author
“The group’s love of their land is a common theme and gives them a purpose in life,” said lead study author Anna Scelzo in the release. “Most of them are still working in their homes and on the land. They think, ‘This is my life and I’m not going to give it up.'”
The good news is these are traits anyone can work on enhancing. And maybe implementing them will help you reach centenarian-status too.
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