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There is a reason why people say that happiest people are the healthiest people. There are many scientifically-proven ways with which one can extend their lifespan, and lead healthy lives devoid of diseases and distress. Finding happiness in the mundane, being around loved ones, keeping a largely-positive attitude are key factors. To shed more light on this, scientists who study centenarians identified eight "personality traits" that are common in "super-agers". And, they suggest everyone nurtures these qualities so as to live longer, healthier lives.
According to a Business Insider report, researchers at the Complutense University of Madrid, Spain, conducted "in-depth interviews" with 19 Spanish centenarians to find out if they "shared positive personality traits" that could have helped them deal with life's setbacks. The study participants, between 100 and 107 years of age, showed "no signs of dementia or cognitive impairment", and were able to do their daily activities independently. Sixteen out of 19 participants were women, and three were men.
Published earlier this month in the Journal of Happiness Studies, the study identified eight common traits that all the centenarians possessed. The authors linked them to becoming "healthy super-agers".
The first trait was leading active lives. During the study, it was found all 19 centenarians had always lived 'active lives', showing a desire to 'continue living', the study said. They would always keep themselves busy with something. For instance, a 100-year-old woman who participated in the study told the authors that she sewed until she was 98 (working as a dressmaker). Now, she does crossword puzzles. "I go downstairs in the elevator, but I walk up the stairs, to exercise my legs," she was quoted as saying.
The second trait was enjoying with loved ones and nurturing relationships. During the study, researchers found that participants "tended to enjoy spending time with people"; they were talkative. A 104-year-old woman was quoted as saying, "The best thing in my life are my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, who love me more than the grandchildren." This finding reinstates findings from another recent research that stated that there is a link between being visited by friends and family, and living a long life.
Taking commitments seriously was the third trait. It was found that the centenarians were happy to take on responsibilities -- be it work-related, or childcare. They lived honest lives and were reliable.
Taking control of your own life was the fourth trait. It is about trusting yourself and being confident about the decisions you make. In the research, it was found that adapting to surroundings and seeking out opportunities was common among the centenarians.
Being curious and possessing a desire to learn new things was the next trait. "I started travelling with a friend after my husband died. I liked travelling a lot, but he didn't. I was almost 80 years old; every year we went to a different place. We've been to Paris, Rome, Berlin, Brussels, Warsaw, Jerusalem, Turkey," a 100-year-old woman was quoted as saying.
The centenarians have also been grateful for their life. Life's never fair or perfect, but the participants -- despite facing adversities -- were able to show gratitude for whatever was good in their life. This was followed by a similar trait, in which they looked at a silver lining during every hardship in life. They all had the ability to march on in life despite the challenges.
And finally, the participants were keen to challenge their mind. The study found that many of the centenarians were "naturally intelligent". They are "self-taught", are "problem-solvers", who are ready to "take on challenges even though they are not specifically trained".
Do you have any of these traits, and would you want to turn your life around?