Irvine, CA (PRWEB) March 14, 2012
The Jetsetter Show welcomed The Longevity Project authors Howard S. Friedman, Ph.D., and Leslie R. Martin, Ph.D., to discuss their landmark longevity study during the 30th episode of the popular podcast. The renowned psychologists shared stunning insights into living a longer, happier life.
The longest longevity study in history, The Longevity Project tracked over 1,500 people over an eighty year span, measuring health habits, approach to relationships and career. “We followed a large number of throughout their whole lives gathering information about what makes some people live long and some people die young,” said Friedman. “Personality characteristics, social ties, career paths—everything was quantitative.”
The results of the study surprised them—debunking many popular myths about what makes for a happy, long life. “What’s interesting about the Longevity Project is that it shows why some people stay on healthy pathways and other people fall off,” Friedman continued. “It has a lot to do with the kind of people you associate with, the kind of careers you get involved with and the kind of personality patterns that you develop.”
They found that, over the long term, eating habits and exercise—though important—didn’t matter as much as personality traits and social characteristics.
For instance, their study implied that optimism in childhood doesn’t necessarily indicate a long life. “When we looked across all those decades, we actually found exactly the opposite,” explained Friedman. “Kids who were the most cheerful and optimistic led shorter lives. They were more likely to grow up to be heavy smokers. They were more likely to be heavy drinkers. They tended to have riskier hobbies.” That pair concluded that children who were optimistic tended to be less well-prepared for life’s disappointments.
What makes for a healthy, long, fulfilling life then? According to Friedman, it’s the prudent and especially consistent people. The people who ‘stuck to it’ ended up staying healthier, engaging in better relationships, jobs, marriages, and family life. “It wasn’t that they lived boring lives because they were careful—it was because they were tenacious and pursued what they really loved.”
The study concluded that social ties are very important to longevity as well. People who do things that benefit others tended to live longer and be happier. “What we found consistently in the Longevity Project is that the people who were doing things that promoted the length of their life also tended to live happier lives. They would report that they were doing things that they find meaning in,” said Martin. ”We saw a lot of evidence that a good, fulfilling, enriched life comes from the social connections, being committed to work and pursuing your passions.
Physical activity is important to long life. “What we found is that consistency is what really mattered though,” said Martin. “Kids that were physically active and then tapered off into a sedentary life in later years—that was problematic. And we found that it really didn’t matter what people did. What mattered is that they did it consistently.”
“The Longevity Project is not really about why some people live into their hundreds,” Martin concluded. “It’s about why some people thrive into their seventies and eighties. In terms of the underlying principles of success in life, it’s the people who are honest, dependable, hard-working, doing something meaningful, socially involved with others.”
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