Many people spend their lives working hard, building a life for their families that they can be proud of, only to finally retire and live out the rest of their days in a retirement home just watching the hours pass.
In part, this is because our society associates growing old with becoming sick, feeble, and senile. Diseases like Alzheimer's and dementia are growing rapidly, with nearly 1 in 3 seniors now dying from these mind-killing diseases.
Growing old doesn’t have to be like this though. Research suggests that most of us can live at least 100 healthy years if we take care of our minds as well as our bodies.
But it's not just about how many years you live. It's also about your quality of your life in those years.
Our mental and emotional health plays a large role in our ability to live long, happy lives as well. A study from the American Psychological Association discovered that certain personality traits were common in people who lived the longest and healthiest lives. This study consisted of 300 couples over the course of 75 years who joined the study in their 20s. The participants each chose a few friends to rate their personalities on a 36-question scale. The researchers then evaluated the results to see which personality traits were the most common.
Here are the five key traits that were discovered:
People who were organized and thorough in their actions and thought process tended to live longer.
This was the second highest quality associated with women in this study. Being open and friendly to those around you, not only helps you live longer, but makes you happier. Talk to a stranger! It’s good for your health.
People who took the time to listen to other peoples’ ideas and understand their feelings were found to live a longer, healthier life. Allow yourself to be open to new ideas.
4. Emotional expression
Being able to easily and effectively express your emotions allows you to release any stress or tension that they may be causing you. Learn to express how you’re feeling openly and honestly.
5. Emotional stability
Being emotionally stable is one of the strongest links to enjoying a long, healthy life. Let go of drama and people around you who express toxic emotions. Your mental health will thank you for it!
How many of these traits do you have? Did you notice that all of these traits center around one common denominator: mindfulness?
Slow down, be mindful and enjoy life. There will be more of it to enjoy!
Samantha McGraw is a life coach, speaker and mentor to women who want to live a happier,healthier, more fulfilling life. Her mission is to encourage each person she meets to love themselves and appreciate their uniqueness so that they can be the best version of themselves that they can be, navigating their journey with purpose, joy and balance.