April 20, 2011 at 9:44 am #37210
Apparently even stress has a yin-yang nature:
good stress and bad stress
Cheery people die sooner, and more longevity secrets
Serious folks live longer, and some stress is actually good for you, eight-decade study shows
By Linda Carroll
msnbc.com contributor msnbc.com contributor
updated 4/19/2011 10:16:49 AM ET
For decades weve been told that stress can kill you, that happy people live longer and that hours in the gym will keep you healthy. Now researchers have turned this kind of long-cherished conventional wisdom on its head. The new mantra: Stress can be good for you. Serious people may live longer than those with sunny dispositions. The treadmill may not hold the key to longevity.
These conclusions come from a unique study, which followed 1,500 Californians across eight decades. The study is described in a new book, The Longevity Project. Study co-author Leslie Martin says that some of the new results surprised both her and her co-author, Howard Friedman.
So, if what weve been told isnt true, what can we do to live a long life? Below are eight suggestions gleaned from the longevity study.
Not all stress is the same. If you hate your job, ditch it before the stress kills you. But, if you love your job, dont sweat the stress.
As it turns out, theres good stress and bad stress. If youve got a job where your boss is out to get you or youre experiencing sexual harassment, thats bad stress. But if your stress arises out of a job that you love, then the stress wont hurt you, Martin says. In fact, some of the people who lived the longest were those who were completely absorbed by their careers, working long hours. The key to good job stress is to find work that engages you and makes you feel productive.
Reach out and touch someone on a regular basis. People who connect with friends and family tend to live longer. So, Martin says, one of the best things you can do is strengthen social ties. And you get an extra benefit if you have social connections that involve helping others, she adds.
If youre disconnected, Martin recommends joining social groups or volunteering.
Dont make your dog your best friend. Pets are all well and good, but they are no substitute for human contact. People with pets didnt live any longer than others in the study. And if they substituted pets for human connections, they lived shorter lives.
Dont worry about worrying. If youre a worrier, that may be a good thing. If youre not, maybe you need to be. There is a beneficial type of worrying, Martin says. When you worry about things, you play out scenarios, you plan for possibilities. That kind of worrying is good. If youre worrying over something you have no control over thats bad.
Be careful about who you choose to marry. A good marriage may lead to longevity, but a bad marriage and divorce can shave years off your life. Divorce is harmful, Martin says. A man can mitigate the damage from divorce by being remarried. Women are almost as well off staying single after a divorce. And contrary to whats been found in other studies, being steadily single is virtually as good as being in a long term marriage.
If youre an exceedingly sunny person, tone it down a bit. People tend to think of cheerfulness as good, but we found exactly the opposite, Martin says. Cheerful kids lived shorter lives. That was a big shocker.
Overly optimistic people tend not to be as careful as those who have a more serious take on life. If youre one of those people who expects things will always turn out great, you may benefit from listening to the perspectives of others, Martin says. Awareness is a key component. And being a little more prepared and a little more risk-averse.
If you hate the gym, dont go. While its good to be fit, youll never stick with an exercise regimen that you hate or that bores you. Back when this study started in the 20s people didnt jog. But some of them still lived long lives. The key, Martin says, is to stay active doing something you enjoy, whether thats gardening, woodworking whatever is your passion.
Dont retire early. A lot of people think that early retirement will help them live longer, but the study shows that the opposite might be true. Looking at study volunteers who were still working in their 70s, Martin and her co-author concluded, the continually productive men and women lived much longer than their laid-back comrades.April 20, 2011 at 12:20 pm #37211
When I was in Japan
they called the very
cheery people kara genki
空元気 – empty yuan chi
I like that study.
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