We all want to live long, healthy lives. It’s why we watch our diets, exercise, rest and generally live as healthily as we can. New science reveals there’s another ingredient in longevity that you (or your significant other) may already be doing – being stubborn.
As it turns out, our attitudes determine a lot about how long (and how well) we live. Of course, we all know that a sunny disposition and positive outlook on life are great factors to happiness. But stubbornness? As it turns out, yes, a stubborn streak is a very good thing.
Recently, a study published in International Psychogeriatrics reported that people who live to age 100 are usually adaptable, resilient, and (you guessed it) stubborn. This study also noted that other traits of these 90-somethings and 100-somethings are close bonds to family, country and religion, and a strong work ethic.
Researchers took a look at the lives of almost 30 senior residents from Italy’s Cilento region, as reported by Time. This region is known for being home to a large number of senior residents. To collect data on what exactly keeps these folks ticking, the scientists interviewed the seniors and members of their families.
What they discovered was that all families reported the seniors were headstrong. They were also reported as being highly adaptable, which researchers believe helps them balance outwardly conflicting personality traits, like positivity and stubbornness.
Even though the seniors’ physical health had declined with age, their mental health was still excellent. What’s more is that they demonstrated greater self-confidence and decision-making skills than did their younger family members.
“These people have been through Depressions, they’ve been through migrations, they’ve lost loved ones,” said the author of the study and associate dean at the Center of Healthy Aging at the UC San Diego School of Medicine Dr. Dilip Jeste to 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.”
Dr. Jeste went on to say of the findings, “Things like happiness and satisfaction with life went up, and levels of depression and stress went down. It’s the opposite of what we might expect when we think about aging, but it shows that getting older is not all gloom and doom.”
We all know there’s no surefire path to a long, healthy life. Still, these findings do illustrate the importance of self-esteem and other positive personality traits. If you’re passionate about your family, patriotic, positive and typically believe that you are right no matter what, chances are you have a lot more life to live.