15 March 2011

Do you want to live long? Do not listen to advice about ways to prolong life!

The Key to a long life: Laugh with caution
Kirill Stasevich, Compulenta 

A 90-year-long study debunks many myths about how to live in order to live long.

"Cheer up", "don't worry", "be positive", "laugh more often", "don't overwork"... Here is a well-known set of recommendations for those who want to live "happily ever after". And there are hardly any people in the world who are ready to doubt them.

But there were some. American researchers Howard Friedman from the University of California at Riverside and Leslie Martin from the University of La Sierra have completed a study that began back in 1921 (!) psychologist Louis Theremin from Stanford University.

Then, in 1921, more than 1,500 children were taken under lifelong supervision. Scientists were interested in everything: pedigree, parents and teachers, hobbies, pets, education level, career, family life, military service and hundreds more details. The study aimed to find out what social factors influence life expectancy. According to Professor Friedman, predisposition to diseases, long recovery periods, premature death are most often explained by such things as anxiety, nervous work, antisociality, pessimism, lack of exercise, poor medical care and even weak religiosity. But none of these factors have been monitored and analyzed in the long term, throughout a person's life.

Therefore, when Mr. Friedman and Martin continued this project in 1991, they had - together with a hundred students — to analyze about ten thousand pages devoted to the fate of the participants in the Theremin experiment; there were a variety of documents — from detailed interviews of the observed to death certificates. Details about the results of the titanic work of Mr. Friedman and Martin can be found in their monograph.

The first conclusion... The first conclusion stunned the researchers.

Those of the participants who had the most cheerful character and demonstrated an excellent sense of humor, on average, lived less than their more "gloomy" companions in the experiment.

The explanation is simple: carelessness and cheerfulness may be pleasant to others, but in the long run they carry major risks. Let optimism help to overcome crisis situations with the least losses, but constantly telling yourself "everything will be fine" is like dancing on a congested highway. Caution and prudence ("frown", as opposed to cheerfulness), in turn, protect you for many years.

The general opinion that laughter prolongs life is a characteristic example of the substitution of cause by effect. A long life without health problems is the reason for a good mood. And this can only be provided to you by composure and the ability to keep yourself in control and limits. Of course, this conclusion can come to mind without a detailed study, but it is so easy to dismiss it as a simple "bore"! Well, now this "boredom" is backed up by colossal research work and data collected over almost 100 years.

...And other amazing results

Here are some of them:

  • Marriage is good for men's health, but it does not affect women's health in any way. At the same time, a man who has lived all his life in a single marriage is inclined to "worry" his divorced, newly married or single comrades. Inveterate bachelors, however, take second place in this "race".
  • Divorce does not harm women's health in any way. Divorced ladies live as long as those who have been married all their lives or remarried.
  • The statement "a lot of work — a lot of stress" turned out to be not entirely true. Those who are immersed in their work and do it well, live much longer than those who are more relaxed and like to rest.
  • Early start of schooling — up to 6 years — increases the risk of premature death. Children need playful, informal communication with other children for full emotional and social development. Which will then fully "pay off" in adulthood.
  • Pets are not a guarantee of a long life, they do not replace friends and social connections.
  • War veterans really live less than those who have not been to war, but this is not so much the "merit" of psychological stress as the result of the fact that a person cannot cope with it in a peaceful life. Those who overcame the traumatic syndrome stopped self-destruction and lived for a long time.
  • Feelings of love and care increase mood and improve well-being, but they do not prolong life. Your health will depend on social connections, their intensity and quality. Roughly speaking, those with whom you communicate determine whether you are ill or not. Or even more crudely: caring and loving people (or a person) with a million bad habits will not increase your life, but rather shorten it.

Of course, all this is not a cause for concern for the sake of concern. As the researchers emphasize, the most important conclusion that can be drawn from their work is the absolutely individual nature of all "longevity factors". And an extremely long time of their action. Everyone can and should determine their own "weak points". And start a long, step by step, preparing yourself for a "long and happy life."

Prepared based on the materials of PhysOrg: Keys to long life: Longevity study unearths surprising answers.

Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru15.03.2011

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