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Personality Secrets to a Long Life

Researchers Find Centenarians Optimistic, Extroverted, Positive; Some Became That Way Later in Life

Personality & Longevity: Perspective

"I really believe these are some of the mechanisms [of longevity]," says Daniela Jopp, PhD, assistant professor of psychology at Fordham University.

Her own research on centenarians has found some similar links. She reviewed the study findings.

"We know personality has a strong genetic background," she says. Those who live to 100, Jopp says, "seem to have a very special psychological makeup."

Those who age successfully adjust their expectations about health, she has found. They accept a few aches and pains, she says. They don't focus on complaints, such as having trouble sleeping.

Based on her work and that of others, Jopp says for now she can give this advice to those who want to make it to 100: "Don't get too stressed out," she says.

"People who are optimistic and look positively into the future have not only a better time, but it may help them live longer," she says.

In her research, she finds those living to 100 tend to be well aware of their limited life expectancy, but to continue to make plans anyway.

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