Happy-go-lucky types die younger, study finds
March 11, 2011
Courtesy of UC Riverside
and World Science staff
Cheer up. Stop worÂryÂing. Donâ€™t work so hard. That may be some of the worst adÂvice you could give someÂone who inÂtends to live a long life, a new study sugÂgests.
â€œItâ€™s surÂprisÂing just how ofÂten comÂmon asÂsumpÂtions â€“ by both sciÂenÂtists and the meÂdia â€“ are wrong,â€� said psyÂcholÂoÂgist HowÂard S. FriedÂman of the UniÂversÂity of CalÂiÂforÂnia, who led the 20-year stuÂdy. He and co-reÂsearchÂers pubÂlished the findÂings in a book enÂtiÂtled The LongeÂvity ProjÂect: SurÂprisÂing DisÂcovÂerÂies for Health and Long Life from the LandÂmark Eight-Decade Study (HudÂson Street Press, March 2011).
â€œProbably our most amazÂing findÂing was that perÂsonÂalÂity charÂacÂterÂisÂtics and soÂcial relaÂtÂions from childÂhood can preÂdict oneâ€™s risk of dyÂing decÂades latÂer,â€� FriedÂman said.
The team anÂaÂlyzed daÂta gathÂered by the late psyÂcholÂoÂgist LouÂis TerÂman of StanÂford UniÂversÂity in CalÂiÂforÂnia and subÂseÂquent reÂsearchÂers on more than 1,500 bright chilÂdren who were about 10 years old when they were first studÂied in 1921. The LongeÂvity ProjÂect, as the study beÂcame known, folÂlowed the chilÂdren through their lives, colÂlectÂing inÂformaÂtÂion that inÂcludÂed family hisÂtoÂries and relaÂtÂionÂships, teachÂer and parÂent ratÂings of perÂsonÂalÂity, hobÂbies, pet ownÂerÂship, job sucÂcess, educaÂtÂion levÂels, milÂiÂtary servÂice and more.
â€œWe came to a new unÂderÂstandÂing about hapÂpiÂness and health,â€� said psyÂcholÂoÂgist LesÂlie R. MarÂtin, a study colÂlaÂboÂraÂtor who is now at La SiÂerÂra UniÂversÂity in RivÂerÂside, CaÂlif. â€œOne of the findÂings that really asÂtounds peoÂple, inÂcludÂing us, is that the LongeÂvity ProjÂect parÂtiÂciÂpants who were the most cheerÂful and had the best sense of huÂmor as kids lived shorter lives, on avÂerÂage, than those who were less cheerÂful and jokÂing. It was the most pruÂdent and perÂsistÂent inÂdiÂvidÂuÂals who stayed healthÂiÂest and lived the longest.â€�
The cheerÂful, hapÂpy-go-lucky kids tended to take more risks with their health across the years, FriedÂman notÂed. While an opÂtiÂmisÂtic apÂproach can be helpÂful in a criÂsis, â€œwe found that as a genÂerÂal life-orientaÂtÂion, too much of a sense that â€˜evÂeryÂthing will be just fineâ€™ can be danÂgerÂous beÂcause it can lead one to be careÂless about things that are imÂporÂtant to health and long life. PruÂdence and perÂsisÂtence, howÂevÂer, led to a lot of imÂporÂtant benÂeÂfits for many years. It turns out that hapÂpiÂness is not a root cause of good health. InÂstead, hapÂpiÂness and health go toÂgethÂer beÂcause they have comÂmon roots.â€�
OthÂer surÂprisÂing findÂings:
MarÂriage may be good for menâ€™s health, but has litÂtle if any efÂfect on womÂenâ€™s lifeÂspans.
BeÂing diÂvorced is much less harmÂful to womÂenâ€™s health. WomÂen who diÂvorced and did not reÂmarÂry lived nearly as long as those who were steadily marÂried.
Study subÂjects who were the most inÂvolved and comÂmitÂted to their jobs did the best. ConÂtinÂuÂally proÂducÂtive men and womÂen lived much longÂer than their more laid-back comÂrades.
StartÂing forÂmal schoolÂing too early â€“ beÂing in first grade beÂfore age 6 â€“ is a risk facÂtor for earÂliÂer morÂtalÂity. HavÂing sufÂfiÂcient playÂtime and beÂing able to reÂlate to classÂmates is very imÂporÂtant for chilÂdren.
PlayÂing with pets is not asÂsoÂciÂatÂed with longÂer life. Pets may someÂtimes imÂprove well-beÂing, but they are not a subÂstiÂtute for friends.
ComÂbat vetÂerÂans are less likely to live long lives, but surÂprisÂingly the psyÂchoÂlogÂiÂcal stress of war itÂself is not necÂesÂsarily a maÂjor health threat. RathÂer, it is a casÂcade of unÂhealthy patÂterns that someÂtimes folÂlows. Those who find meanÂing in a trauÂmatÂic exÂpeÂriÂence and are able to reÂesÂtabÂlish a sense of seÂcurÂity about the world are usuÂally the ones who reÂturn to a healthy pathÂway.
PeoÂple who feel loved and cared for reÂport a betÂter sense of well-beÂing, but it doesÂnâ€™t help them live longÂer. The clearÂest health benÂeÂfit of soÂcial relaÂtÂionÂships comes from beÂing inÂvolved with and helpÂing othÂers. The groups you asÂsoÂciÂate with ofÂten deÂterÂmine the type of perÂson you beÂcome â€“ healthy or unÂhealthy.
Itâ€™s nevÂer too late to choose a healthÂiÂer path, FriedÂman and MarÂtin said. The key is not to stop worryÂing, they added, but to stop worryÂing about the minÂuÂtiae.
â€œSome of the miÂnuÂtiÂae of what peoÂple think will help us lead long, healthy lives, such as worÂryÂing about the raÂtio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatÂty acids in the foods we eat, acÂtuÂally are red herÂrings, disÂtractÂing us from the maÂjor pathÂways,â€� FriedÂman said. â€œWhen we recÂogÂnize the long-term healthy and unÂhealthy patÂterns in ourÂselves, we can begÂin to maxÂimÂize the healthy patÂterns.â€�
â€œThinkÂing of makÂing changes as takÂing â€˜stepsâ€™ is a great stratÂeÂgy,â€� MarÂtin adÂvised. â€œYou canâ€™t change maÂjor things about yourÂself overÂnight. But makÂing small changes, and reÂpeatÂing those steps, can evenÂtuÂally creÂate that path to longÂer life.â€�
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"It takes far less effort to find and move to the society that has what you want than it does to try to reconstruct an existing society to match your standards." - Harry Browne, How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World
I have a hard time believing some of this. I think this is part of the matrix trying to keep people under its control. In my opinion, having a high maintenance psychotic bitchy wife will drive you must faster to an early grave.
On the other hand, "BeÂing diÂvorced is much less harmÂful to womÂenâ€™s health. WomÂen who diÂvorced and did not reÂmarÂry lived nearly as long as those who were steadily marÂried."
This is most likely true, at least in America, since the ex-wife take AT LEAST HALF OF EVERYTHING!!, while the guy gets totally screwed and has to live out of his car for the next 20 years.