"Play nice and get along" may have been a lesson from preschool. But it turns out that it's advice that might help you later in life, too.
A new study found that folks who are more active, more outgoing and less neurotic tend to live longer than everyone else. For women, being more empathetic and cooperative than other women may also lead to longer lives.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, also found that self-discipline and being open to new ideas appeared to play no role in longevity.
Now, there was one problem with this study. The researchers looked at the children of people who lived to be 100 – not the people who lived to be 100 themselves. They did this because it's hard to follow centenarians for long periods of time, since they are more likely to die between interviews.
With a mean age of 75, these "children" were no spring chickens themselves. Previous studies have found that the offspring of centenarians tend to live longer than average as well. But the results still aren't quite as good as they would have been if the researchers had managed to study the members of the 100+ Club directly.
There's still some merit to this. A positive outlook and a support system of close friends and relatives can be significant factors in any battle against illness, especially as we age.
I wouldn't suggest going out and making dramatic changes to your life and personality as a result of this study. But if you find that you could use some more friends, more activity and less stress, here's one more incentive for you to reach those goals.
You'll be happier and better off regardless of whether you make it to 100.