“Make the most of your life!” “Take care of yourself and live a longer life!” We know these phrases all too well. Researchers at the University of Rome La Sapienza and University of California San Diego School of Medicine have found common psychological traits in an Italian village linking to be able to live a longer life. This group consists of several hundred citizens from the ages of 90 to 101. The study found participants who were 90 to 101 years old had worse physical health, but better mental well-being than their younger family members ages 51 to 75. The traits they found may surprise you.
Something I preach often is the power of positivity and an optimistic outlook on life. Even in this rural community, the exceptional longevity of life was directly correlated to accepting the challenges ahead of them and maintaining grit to overcome adversity. We may not have the same adversity as those living in this rural Italian village, however, if we can utilize this mentality to our day to day life, it could improve our longevity and give us a chance to live a longer life as well.
They also found that these people living long lives in the rural population had a personality that was “domineering, stubborn and needed a sense of control.” In other words, if you have a habit of maintaining control and being stubborn, this could lead to living a longer life according to Cambridge University.
The study was conducted on an Italian village that was set in a rural space. The majority of the studies done focused on genetics and not personality or mental health. They were strongly connected to the land they lived on.
“The group’s love of their land is a common theme and gives them a purpose in life. 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,’” said Anna Scelzo. She’s the first author of the study with the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse in Chiavarese, Italy.
Can Our Attitude Help Us Live a Longer Life?
“The main themes that emerged from our study, and appear to be the unique features associated with the better mental health of this rural population, were positivity, work ethic, stubbornness and a strong bond with family, religion, and land.” said Dilip V. Jeste MD. He is the senior author of the study and the senior associate dean for the Center of Healthy Aging. Also, he is the Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Neurosciences at UC San Diego School of Medicine.
In conclusion, maintaining a positive outlook on life and having your environment filled with family and spiritual connections can help. In addition to these, maintaining a work ethic and even a little stubbornness were all associated with being able to live a longer life.
And at the end of the day, our days on this Earth are numbered. We need to ensure we are taking care of ourselves mentally because we could be impacting our physical selves as well.
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