Positive attitude is not everything: Experts reveal the personality trait most linked to longevity


More than positivism, comprehensive habits, resilience against stress and traits such as discipline are behind a healthy and lasting age

The number of Americans reaching the age of 100 or older has doubled in the last decade, according to statistics. While many of them attribute their extensive longevity, at least partially, to a positive outlook on life, experts point out that the relationship between personality and aging is more complex.

“We overestimate the effect of simply being positive,” David Watson, PhD, a former professor of personality psychology at the University of Notre Dame, tells CNBC. “Conscientiousness, or how to organize and discipline a person is, is most closely related to longevity.”

Watson explains that scrupulous individuals tend to take better care of their health. For example, they drink alcohol moderately, eat balanced and avoid risky behaviors. “They don’t do stupid things, so they have fewer accidents and better health behaviors,” says the expert.

Fortunately, conscientiousness can increase with age. Specialized workshops seek to increase the capacity for self-regulation through punctuality exercises and objection monitoring. “If you act more scrupulously, attitude follows behavior,” Watson says.

Kindness is also related to longevity, especially in stressful situations. Psychologically healthy people recover more quickly from stress. “They can relativize problems and return to their equilibrium faster,” the expert adds to CNBC.

A combination of healthy habits, resilience and personality characteristics such as conscientiousness and kindness, is behind a more lasting and complete life. A positive attitude by itself does not guarantee longevity, but is part of an integral lifestyle to age well.infobea

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