My colleague Becca Levy, a professor of epidemiology and psychology at the Yale School of Public Health, has studied the longevity of people in their 50s as a function of their perceptions about aging.
She asked if they agreed with statements like, “Things keep getting worse as I get older,” and, “As you get older you are less useful.” Even after she controlled for their medical conditions, subjects who agreed with ideas like these died on average 7 1/2 years sooner than their glass-half-full counterparts.
The rest of the report had one overarching conclusion. The people who lived the longest AND were the happiest, were those who were able to bounce back from stress. It’s what they called ‘adaptive competence’.
- Are you able to recover and move on from stress or does it stay with you?
- Do you hold onto slights, hurts, betrayals, setbacks, mistakes and never let them go?
- Do you fret all the time about ‘what if’?
- Are you still pissed off that you don’t have an eraser?
- Is it serving you well to be that way?
Drawing and commentary by Marty Coleman of The Napkin Dad Daily
Quote by John W. Gardner, 1912 – 2002, Secretary of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Founder of Common Cause, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.