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Longevity, Conscientiousness and Work

There’s an excellent article in the New York Times (Eighty Years Along, a Longevity Study Still Has Ground to Cover) about a very worthy new book based on a fascinating series of research studies: The Longevity Project: Surprising Discoveries for Health and Long Life from the Landmark Eight-Decade Study is the book where UC-Riverside researchers Howard Friedman and Leslie Martin draw key lessons from an eight-decade-long Stanford University Terman study of 1,500 people.

Quotes from the article:

– Many assume biology is the critical factor in longevity. If your parents lived to be 85, you probably will, too. Not so, Dr. Friedman said. “Genes constitute about one-third of the factors leading to long life,” he said. “The other two-thirds have to do with lifestyles and chance…The key traits are prudence and persistence. “The findings clearly revealed that the best childhood personality predictor of longevity was conscientiousness…

– Dr. Friedman said he thought the most important as-yet-unanswered question was about work — “retirement kinds of issues,” he said. “We know it’s not good to retire and go to the beach.” But it’s also not good to stay in a stressful boring job. “We need to think about negotiating these transitions in a healthy way,” he added.

– Spend your time working at a job you like instead. “There’s a misconception about stress,” Dr. Friedman said. “People think everyone should take it easy.” Rather, he said, “a hard job that is also stressful can be associated with longevity. Challenges, even if stressful, are also a link.” In the end, he said, “if people were involved, working hard, succeeded, were responsible —no matter what field they were in — they were more likely to live longer.” Many people, of course, have to stay in a job they don’t like or don’t do well in. That’s bad stress, and they found those people were more likely to die young.

Full NYT article: Eighty Years Along, a Longevity Study Still Has Ground to Cover.

Learn more about bookThe Longevity Project: Surprising Discoveries for Health and Long Life from the Landmark Eight-Decade Study.

Related article: 100 is the New 65: Living Longer and Better.

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  1. David says:

    Thanks for pointing this book out, will definitely check it out!

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