Secret to longevity: Adaptive Competence

So do you want to live to be a centenarian? What does it take to live a long, healthy life and potentially reach 100? No smoking? Healthy diet? Lots of hard work at the gym? Or perhaps being from one of the “Blue Zones” (longevity hot spots around the world) such as Okinawa Island in Japan, Sardinia in Italy, or Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica, is the secret, whatever happens to be the reasons for people’s longevity in those regions.

Active lifestyle, and healthy possibly vegetable based diet may help you live longer. But those may not get you to 100 by themselves. In fact most of us will not get that far no matter how hard we try. Unusual longevity often is genetic. There are people who have lived to be 120 or higher. You can read up on a few of them here. Recently NPR reported of Helen Reichert, a 109 year old chocolate truffle eating, beer drinking, ex smoker who is still living a quality life.

getting-oldHowever, in addition to genetics, according to her doctor, gerontologist Mark Lachs, the key to such longevity is an important trait called “adaptive competence”, which translates to dealing effectively with life’s setbacks and stress. It is the ability to “bounce back from life’s curveballs” as Dr. Lachs told AOL on the same story. He adds, “people with adaptive competence seem to have physiological and psychological reserves that enable them to move forward.” Such setbacks may be many things such as medical, financial, divorce, or death of a loved one.

The experts also mention two other traits that help with longevity: sense of humor and having a strong social network. By the same token those who are pessimists and whine a lot, will most likely experience shorter life spans with poorer quality and more health problems.

Well, remember to keep a more positive outlook on life, complain and whine less, be happy and enjoy your short while here. That may just help you make your life a bit better and longer. Now this is easier said than done for the pessimists among us. I know, because I am one. But that is a topic for another post that I will cover later.

 


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