Study find people who are stubborn are likely to live longer lives
Everyone wants to make the most of life and live to a ripe old age. We've heard many different "secrets" to how to do it – just last year, the world's oldest person marked her 117th birthday in Italy and revealed her secret was eating raw eggs every day. In Japan, where women have historically enjoyed the longest life expectancy in the world, they claim it's thanks to a diet of fish, rice and simmered vegetables, as well as a good standard of living at an old age, surrounded by younger family members.
And now, a new study has found something that many of us haven't heard before – that being stubborn can lead you to a long and happy life. The study, published in International Psychogeriatrics looked at people who lived to 100 years of age and looked at what character traits they had in common.
Aside from finding that centenarians tend to be more stubborn, (and be prepared to erase that image of an old, cranky granda waving her walking stick in the air) they were also found to be more positive, resilient and adaptable and positive. Additionally, the study found the headstrong 90 to 100-year-olds were also still close with their family and country, still had a strong work ethic, and practised faith in their religion.
Researchers interviewed 29 elderly residents from a region in Italy known for its large senior population, and they also spoke with their families to learn more about their lifestyle. They found that their strong-will was a defining trait, but also that it was balanced out by their adaptability meaning they could be stubborn but at the same time optimistic. Their sheer determination to stick around is what seems to keep them young.
Dr Dilip Jeste, author of the study and associate dean at the Center of Healthy Aging at the UC San Diego School of Medicine told Time that it's their attitude that helps them keep going strong.
"These people have been through Depressions, they've been through migrations, they've lost loved ones," he said. "In order to flourish, they have to be able to accept and recover from the things they can't change, but also fight for the things they can."
And even if they had trouble hearing or moving around without a walking frame, the study found that their mental health was still very much unharmed. The elderly folk under study were good at making decisions, had high levels of self-confidence and often showed up their younger family members in a number of daily mental activities. Looks like your bossy grandma still has a few years in her yet.
"Things like happiness and satisfaction with life went up, and levels of depression and stress went down," Dr Jeste said. "It's the opposite of what we might expect when we think about ageing, but it shows that getting older is not all gloom and doom."
While the study is only of this small group of Italian nonnas and nonnos (who probably also eat raw eggs on the daily), you can't deny the fact that attitude goes a long way. The findings confirmed that self-esteem and remaining motivated, passionate, and devoted to your life and family will give your body the drive to keep kicking a while yet. Stay stubborn, folks.