Being stubborn isn’t usually considered a great characteristic, especially according to your mom. But a new study by the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, published in International Psychogeriatrics, says that stubbornness is actually one of the personality traits that helps people live longer.
In the university news release on the study, Dr. Dilip V. Jeste, study co-author and director of the UC San Diego Center for Healthy Aging, pointed out that plenty of research has been done into the roles of genetics and lifestyle in longevity—a plant-based diet and moderate physical exercise seen as the secret keys here—but there was not a lot of scientific data about the significance of personal characteristics or mental health.
To learn more about the correlation between personality traits and longevity, Jeste and her colleagues studied the psychologies of 29 elderly people living in nine remote villages in the Cilento region of southern Italy, where residents routinely live to be older than 90. To get a more well-rounded sense of their personalities, they also surveyed 51 of their younger relatives.
The following presents some of the personality traits that they found all of these elders had in common. And for more tips on how to live a long, healthy life, check out the Top Longevity Secrets from the World’s Oldest Citizens.
Even though all of these people had faced war, illness, and personal loss, they were still convinced that life was beautiful and that everything would work out for the best. “I am always thinking for the best. There is always a solution in life. This is what my father has taught me: to always face difficulties and hope for the best,” one elder said. And for more ways to stay positive, here are 25 ways to beat the winter blues.
Strong Work Ethic
“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, first author of the study with the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse in Chiavarese, Italy.
By stubbornness, the researchers seem to be pointing to the tenacity and resilience with which the group approach life, always pushing forward and refusing to give up no matter what happens. “I am always active. I do not know what stress is. Life is what it is and must be faced … always,” one elder said.
“We also found that this group tended to be domineering, stubborn and needed a sense of control, which can be a desirable trait as they are true to their convictions and care less about what others think,” said Scelzo. “This tendency to control the environment suggests notable grit that is balanced by a need to adapt to changing circumstances.”
Strong Family Bonds
Over and over again, researches on longevity have found that those who live in a society in which the elderly are respected and surrounded by a strong network of friends and family tend to live longer. “I lost my beloved wife only a month ago and I am very sad for this. We were married for 70 years. I was close to her during all of her illness and I have felt very empty after her loss. But thanks to my sons, I am now recovering and feeling much better. I have four children, ten grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. I have fought all my life and I am always ready for changes. I think changes bring life and give chances to grow,” one of the elders said.
To discover more amazing secrets about living your best life, click here to sign up for our FREE daily newsletter!