Want to live longer? Recent longevity studies have uncovered some characteristics and behaviors of longer lives. The average American life expectancy is currently 78.7 years, and what’s more, longevity studies have shown that there are certain healthy behaviors and personality traits that can help you achieve that long, full lifespan.
Personality and Positivity
One longevity study used the NEO Five-Factor Personality Inventory (in which the five factors are neuroticism, extroversion, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness) to explore whether participants (with a mean age of 75) had particular traits in common. The study found that both men and women scored low on the neuroticism scale and high on the extroversion scale; both personality traits may have health benefits, because someone with low neuroticism tendencies will be able to manage stressful situations while an extrovert may also experience greater perceived well-being and vitality. Another study found that conscientiousness is also strongly correlated with a longer life, speculating that this was because conscientious people are more health-conscious and take better care of themselves.
Other personal characteristics associated with a longer life include being optimistic, being quick to laugh, and simply being happy. Optimists are resistant and resilient in the face of stress, and laughter reduces stress, improves natural killer cell activity, and lowers cortisol. And finally, although we don’t know exactly why happiness correlates with longevity, we can guess that it’s because happy people have something to live for.
Social connections become especially important as we age, because as we encounter health problems, we need friends, family, and neighbors’ support and help with things like doctor appointments or grocery shopping. On the flip side, social isolation is often correlated with health problems like obesity, inactivity, and smoking.
Healthy habits can also predict a long lifespan. Exercise has been proven to add several years to one’s life. Cooking and eating habits can also have an effect on lifespan. One study found that people who cook up to five times a week were 47% more likely to still be alive after ten years (with participants all over age 65). There are several foods proven to benefit different parts of the body as well: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and dark chocolate help the heart; blueberries, fish, low-salt foods, and coffee keep the brain sharp; and dark green leafy vegetables and tofu maintain strong bones. Moreover, the social connections developed through communal eating tie back to lifestyles associated with a longer life.
With the keys to living longer in your hands, it’s also important to consider how and where you want to age. Home Access Products can help with your aging at home needs to ensure that you are completely prepared to live your long life in the comfort of your own home.