The Single Best Way to Live Longer
Want to add years to your life and life to your years? Research shows that ‘conscientiousness’ is the most powerful personality trait related to living a healthy and long life. Indeed, over a 10-year period, mortality is reduced among the conscientious by 10 to 25%.
So, exactly what is conscientiousness? Well, it’s being disciplined, goal oriented, self-controlled, responsible to others, hardworking, orderly, and rule following.
Sound like a tall order? Well, break it down and the ‘hardworking’ bit is the most influential. Focusing on getting up and getting to work is a great place to start. Research also shows that those who feel supported socially are measurably more conscientious.
More Life to Your Years
It’s not just how long you live, it’s how you live those years. For example, over a six year period the single aspect of ‘responsibility’ reduced the risk of dementia by 35%, and self-control and industriousness added protection. Research correlates conscientiousness with increased overall health and reduced substance abuse. The conscientious are less likely to be overweight, have high cholesterol, inflammation, hypertension and gum disease.
Studies show that the conscientious, almost as a matter of definition, are more thoughtful about decisions and take fewer unnecessary risks. They have better diets. Interestingly, the conscientious increase healthy habits and coping strategies (diet and exercise) while those with lower scores take it the other way. Current research show that the conscientious are demonstrating better coping and lower stress during the COVID-19 pandemic.
More Years to Your Life
Sounds like getting involved with others, in a helping way, helps a person to live longer.
Our NOT Retirement Rebels bear this out. In 2021, average life expectancy in the United States is about 79 years. As you look at the following list, remember that not only are most of these NOT Retirement Rebels beating the odds, but they are living lives of intensive activity and purpose.
Peter Mark Roget, who wrote Roget’s Thesaurus (the longest continuously published book in the English language), lived to 90 years – and that was in 1869)! Colonel Sanders (of KFC fame) continued his public appearances until one month before he died at 90 years. Internationally acclaimed folk artist, Mary Ann Moses, continued painting to within a few weeks of her death at 101. That’s exactly what the research would lead you to expect from a group of engaged, hardworking and accomplishing people.
Conscientiousness is promoted when we engage in our passions, set meaningful goals, team up with others, and develop a host of skills and methods to reach those intentions that mean so much to us.
The NOT Retirement program makes conscientiousness fun by helping us to identify and engage in our passions. It also gives you the tools to be better at achieving those important ambitions, building success upon success.