In an 80-year long Stanford University study, researchers discovered some truths about living life that surprised everyone involved.
The study began in 1921. Psychologist Lewis Terman followed 1,550 elementary school students into adulthood to learn about their lives and what these people had in common. Terman died in 1956, but other scientists picked up where he left off, and in 1990 psychologists Howard Friedman and Leslie Martin took on the monumental task of reviewing the eight decades of data. What they produced, entitled The Longevity Project, offers some astonishing tips for a longer life.
We display 5 of those tips for a longer life in the slide show above, but ultimately Friedman and Martin’s conclusions show that this isn’t really about cutting calories and exercising, the focus is really on your spirit. As Publisher’s Weekly wrote:
The authors learned, for example, that people don’t die simply from working long hours or from stress, that marriage is no golden ticket to old age, and the happy-all-the-time types may peter out before the serious plodders. If there’s a secret to old age, the authors find, it’s living conscientiously and bringing forethought, planning, and perseverance to one’s professional and personal life. Individual life stories show how different people find the right balance in different ways, depending on their personalities and social situations. Lively despite the huge volume of material from 80 years of study, and packed with eye-opening self-assessment tests, this book says there’s no magic pill, but does offer a generous dose of hope: even if life deals you a less than perfect hand, you’re not doomed to an early demise if you live with purpose and make connections with the people around you.
1. People who work the hardest, live the longest. Even in stressful jobs people who love to work and work diligently outlive the slackers.
2. “Giving back” has big rewards. Turns out it really is better to give than to receive. Among Terman’s subjects, the men and women who liked to lend a helping hand — lived the longest.
3. Stay single. Getting married is not a magic bullet to good health.
4. It’s not the happy-go-lucky who thrive. Cautious worriers last the longest. Trying to convince yourself it’ll all turn out alright in the end? Don’t bet on it, and you may just grow very old.
5. Get your funky on… in bed. The records show that the women who most often reached climax most often lived longer. Ladies it’s time to get very familiar with your happy place.