My OVitaminPro.com blogs tend to be about general health and often have a supplement or two that might help. A couple of attitudeprinciples are so important that shouldn’t be ignored. This blog and another one I am working on about loss in life will help in every aspect of life.
In the 1990s I managed to catch an important TV program about longevity and productivity. The lessons were so valuable that I still think about the conclusions and point them out in my conversations in my daily and professional life.
Many factors can play into the longevity and productivity game like: smoking, alcohol, drugs of all kinds, stress, genetics, accidents and injuries, disease…well, you get the idea.
The question is, however, what are the factors that are common to just about everyone who is over 100 years of age and still productive.
This is the topic that was studied by a couple of young scientists in Georgia. This study is now 30 years old and maybe some of the conclusions may not have been verified but I still think the original lessons are valid and for the most part, under the control of many of us.
As you might expect the researchers started with a few preconceived notions such as family history of longevity or diet. They found neither of these common to all. After months of interviews and lifestyle studies four factors were found to be common to all of them and here they are.
Without exception all the long-lifers were committed optimists. They believed that life was wonderful and worth living. No matter what happened it did not damper their faith that life was terrific. Subsequent studies have indicated that optimism tends to have a longevity influence. I personally like optimism because it tends to give a person more options over pessimism. The optimist will continue to look for possibilities when the pessimist just assumes the worst.
This leads into #2.
Ability to deal with loss
You won't live to a hundred without losing parents, siblings, friends, kids, pets a
spouse or two, jobs, money, opportunities, houses, cars and all sorts of other things that go with living. Again loss is a part of life and the long-lifers learned to take it all in stride and don't ever take it personally.
Another way to think about loss is to just refer to it as change, and change we really didn’t like. Change can be difficult even if it is a good change but loss implies change that was not welcome.
Life is about change and loss means some new rules for our life and accepting these losses and working to accept the change will help a person move forward in life.
Over the years I have had people tell me that they weren’t changing anything. I wasn’t sure how to react to such statements at first but maybe the best response is: “I understand that change is difficult but life is about change”. “Also, don’t blame me, I don’t make the rules”.
The body is made for motion and all of these people kept it moving. All were physically active in a vocation or avocation on a regular basis. One lady taught her own stretch and
aerobics class which she started in her 90's. As one old guy in our gym (95 years old) used to say, “keep moving, don’t hurt yourself.” I can’t say it better than that.
Subsequent studies have shown that being physically active reduces risks of major mortality factors like: hypertension, type 2 diabetes, lipid problems, some types of heart disease, stroke and some cancers.
Commitment and Socialization
Each person was committed to some type of cause that kept them involved in the community around them. One person was very involved in his church and helped make every important decision. Another person helped with her local historical society and even gave guided tours of old buildings some of which happened to be younger than she is.
Again recent studies do show the link between being socially active and longevity. In one study, time to death was delayed 42% for those who socialed occasionally and 110% in those who socialized at least once a week.
So there you have it. Find something that interests you and get involved, keep moving, don't take losses personally but accept them as part of living and always, always look on the bright side of every situation. This won't guarantee that you will live to 120 but it will make the years you do have much better for you and the people around you.