We associate longevity with genetics and healthy lifestyle habits. Longevity experts like Dan Buettner have studied what people living in the so-called blue zones, areas of the world where many people live to be over 100 years old, have in common, and they all follow althy diet full of vegetables they are not more than FEEDINGACT moderate exercise thTheyid not suffer much stress anand wereart of a community,o you are not alone. Those mythical blue zones are Okinawa, in Japan; Sardinia, in Italy; Nicoya, in Costa Rica; Ikaria, in Greece; and Loma Linda, in California.
But Spain, even if it is not included in the blue zones that Dan Buettner so popularized, is also one of the places in the world where there are the largest number of centenarians. According to the latest data from the National Institute of Statistics, SSpain19,6319,639enarians, 77% w77% of whom aren. Certainly, the Mediterranean diet was inflinfluential in theg life of the someSpanish, something many scientific studies have shown.
But more than genetics and lifestyle habits, it can BEHAVIOR Dobe’s behavior. fluence longevity? A research group from the Complutense University of Madrid led by María Dolores Merino analyzed how psychological factors influence healthy aging and concluded that people who experience more positive emotions and who are morareatisfied with their lives tend to live longer. It is that he is optimizoptimizing hisand self-esteeself-esteem gives us psychological benefits but benefits to good health.
Psychological characteristics of centenarians
María Dolores Merino explained in an article published in The Conversation that the goal of their study is to check if healthy centenarians present the personality awhipersonality, em to cope with difficulties of a long life and succeed, resulting in a longer life.
To find these common personality traits of centenarians, they interviewed 19 people between 100 and 107 years old (16 women) and discovered that they all had psychological characteristics in common that they grouped into 8 categories.
“The interviewees are active and participatory people, involved in life and with alife, ar have to continue living. Some work into old age and are still physically and intellectually active,” explained Merino – profeMerino, Differential Pdifferentialchologygipsychologicalll-being,cupatoccupational health, Conversation.
The expert included the testimony of a 100-year-old woman who participated in the study and testified to her vitality: “I used to be sewing until I was 98 years old-in refeold—into her profession as a dressmaker-dressmakerlly like to work Croscrosswords, I tried it in sudosudokus:take the elevator down the stairs, but I climb them to exercise my legs.”.
That vitality can be compared to the Japanese “Iki” Ikigai, ich can be translated as “feeling happy by being busy all the time” and is one of the secrets of Japanese longevity.
2. Desire for interaction
“They are characterized by by beingist. “They feel loved by those around them and help others whenever they can throughout their lives.”Professor Merino emphasized.
“I never had trouble making friends; That’thaty I’m so kind. “I have a lot of friends.”. This is the statement of a 104-year-old woman who participated in the investigation.
It has been proven that loneliness among old people is a risk factor for mortality because it increases the risk of depression.
“They become responsible, competent, hardworking, valued, loved, and faithful. “They are moving forward to achieve their goals. focuseson the expert.
“My employers appreciate me a lot. I have been with them for seven years, and the day I got married, he woman cried like my mother. ishe testimony of a 103-year-old woman.
“Four years ago I broke my hip, and after a month or so I was walking, without crutches and a walker, nothing. conAnother1-year-old woman confessed to the authors of the study.
A self-controlled life arises as an i an r strength which makes us more resilient.
Merino pointed out that those interviewed “took the rein in their lives, showing autonomy in judgment and knowing how to find opportunities.”.
“When my husband got sick, I had to deal with everything. I took over my husband’s businesses; I kept the accounts and banks; I directed the men; everything is the testimony of a 102-year-old woman. It is reminiscent of the “sisu” of the Finns, an internal strength that prevents you from collapsing in the face of adversity.
Seeing life positively, not seeing it in a rosy color, avoiding unnecessary troubles, and enjoying the little things in life are the keys.
The centenarians “appear GRATITUDE and enjoy the little everyday things, as Merino pointed out.
“Life gave me everything; thank God. It gave me problems, like losing family members, but I didn’t have a bad time, said a 100-year-old woman.
A philosophy of life that makes you think about what the Nordic people like the Danes do. The philosophy of Hygge comes from Denmark, which can be described as the joy of enjoying things “cozy in a part of the world where the winter is very harsh. For a Dane, Hygge watches TV under the covers Eat a cookie, or enjoy a cup of hot chocolate—it’s that simple.
Resilience is defined as the ability that people have to overcome bad situations. “Despite the difficulties (difficult childhood, loss of loved ones, Spanish civil war, COVID, etc.), they know how to get on with their lives and, in some cases, redirect them. Above all, they are not psychologically damaged by the experience of adversity, said the teacher.
“I was very close to my wife. When she died, I was 97 years old, and my daughter thought I couldn’t get over it. At first, I was bad, but then I thought you only live once and you have to be strong. My wife doesn’t want me to look bad, are the words of a 100-year-old man who participated in the study and whom Merino took as an example of strength.
Merino assured that the study participants “know how to face challenges for which they have no expressed training and successfully overcome them.”.
They are curious people, excited to learn. They have a good memory, and their conversation is fast and lively.
Some don’t go to school, though they can read and write, and they focus their lives on things that satisfy them. Merino gave the example of a 100-year-old man who was president of the Agrarian Chamber for twenty years but had no specific training for this.
Maintaining the taste of learning new things despite age is one of the best brain stimulants. When we learn something new, we create new neural connections, and that is a real shield to protect our brain.
8. Intellectual enthusiasm
“These are curious people who appreciate culture and have a passion for learning. In many cases, they are tireless readers, added the expert.
“Many times, when I was with the cows, I misread, and the sheep went into the field. Then the guard came and said: ‘You can’t see where the sheep are; they are eating the crops.’ I read everything I could, and I also wrote a lot.” explained a 100-year-old man.
reading is one of the hobbies that encourages learning new things the most. and handwritten It activates many regions of the brain and, consequently, many neural networks. Both improve our cognitive capacity.