Most Centenarians are Easy Going Optimists
Getting old is a real drag for most of us, but for that lucky .2 percent of the American public, a positive attitude and basic optimism means living longer and enjoying every minute of the journey.
Americans living into their 90’s has tripled but we’re still far beyond other creatures like some turtles that can live far beyond a century and the record for the koi fish of 226 years old. So what genes allow some creatures to live so much longer than others?
A study, published in the journal Aging, found certain personality traits are tied to longevity. Researchers asked 243 Ashkenazi Jewish adults, between the ages of 95 and 107 to fill out a questionnaire. The group was chosen because there were so genetically similar to one another that finding differences was easier.
"The results indicated they had two things -- a positive attitude for life, meaning they are optimistic, easygoing, extraverted, laughed more and expressed emotions rather than bottling them up," said Dr. Nil Barzilai, a study co-author and director of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine's Institute for Aging Research to ABC News.
This makes sense because the more laid back your view of life, the less likely you’re going to stress out about life’s trials and tribulations. Overtime, stress can take its toll on the body’s systems. The less stress, the better.
"Several studies have found that genetics accounts for only about one-third of how long and well we live," said Dr. Gary Small, director of the UCLA Center on Aging, who is also co-author of "The Alzheimer's Prevention Program to ABC News."
Other Centenarian Traits
As you might expect, centenarians are usually free of many of the diseases like heart disease and diabetes that cause ill health later in life. They deal well with stress so they don't abuse cigarettes or drink too much and they are rarely, if ever obese.