Thursday, January 9, 2014

How Centenarians Explain Their Longevity by Dr. Mercola

     I enjoyed reading the article by Dr. Mercola on "How Centenarians Explain Their Longevity".  It had some interesting ideas--one of which is that people live longer because they are happy.  Seems to confirm Proverbs 17:22: "A happy heart doeth good like a medicine, but a broken spirit drieth the bones", doesn't it?
       The excerpt below contains a compilation of the information gleaned from interviews with people who had reached the age of 100 or older.   You can read the entire article here.

The majority of centenarians do not feel their chronological age; on average, they report feeling 20 years younger. They also tend to have positive attitudes, optimism, and a zest for life. Could it be that personality characteristics and worldviews play a more significant role than genetics, diet, or exercise?
One way to determine this is to ask centenarians questions about how they see the world, what they value, and to what they attribute their own longevity. What are their secrets to aging well? These individuals represent centuries of wisdom that should not be overlooked. So that's what researchers are now doing—mining the minds of centenarians for nuggets of wisdom. Regardless of which interviews you read, this is where patterns really DO emerge. In interviews and surveys with centenarians, the following themes come up time and time again when asked to explain why they've lived so long:10
Keeping a positive attitudeEating good food
Exercising moderately (most report basic activities, like walking, biking, gardening, swimming, etc.)Clean living (not smoking or drinking excessively, etc.)
Living independentlyFamily
"Good genes"Friends
Staying mentally active and always learning something newFaith/spirituality

Some jokingly said they attribute their longevity to "avoiding dying." Others give hints to their life philosophy, such as "Find your passion and live it," "Make time to cry," and "Practice forgiveness." Centenarians overwhelmingly cite stress as the most important thing to avoid. Their lives are marked by as many stressful events as the rest of us, but they differ in how well they manage their stress. Rather than dwelling on it, they let it go. And they are very happy people!

Rx: Happiness

Happy people live longer—by 35 percent, according to one study.11 Another study found that happiness and contentment increases health and longevity.12 Other studies show optimists live longer than pessimists.13 So it's no surprise that centenarians are a happy and optimistic lot. Positive thoughts and attitudes seem to somehow do things in your body that strengthen your immune system, boost positive emotions, decrease pain, and provide stress relief.  In fact, it's been scientifically shown that happiness can alter your genes!

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