How Belief and Positivity Help Power Us to 100

Belief and positivity

Photo: Deposit Photos

By William J. Kole

Experts studying what gets us to 100 and beyond focus a lot on our genes, and that makes sense. How we’re wired genetically plays a pivotal role in reaching a triple-digit age.

But there are many other factors we can control that will optimize our chances of living to 100 in good health, and they’re not limited to eating cleanly, exercising regularly, and managing stress. Researchers are increasingly preoccupied with another extreme longevity X-factor: Looking on the bright side.

The Role of Positivity

One of the things that surprised me the most in my research for my new book, THE BIG 100: The New World of Super-Aging, is the role that positivity plays in helping us achieve not only an exceptionally long but vibrant and healthy life span.

France’s Jeanne Calment, the oldest person who ever lived whose birthdate can be authenticated by records, credited hope and humor for helping her live to 122 years and 164 days. Toward the end of her majestically long life, Calment didn’t wear mascara because she often laughed so heartily she’d cry it off. Her advice to the rest of us: “Always keep your smile.”

Researchers at Boston University’s School of Medicine, examining how optimism affects our health by following 233 older men over a period of 14 years, found it appears to promote emotional well-being by helping us handle daily stress more constructively. “Optimism may promote good health as people age,” says Lewina O. Lee, a clinical psychologist who coauthored the study.

Lee also participated in a separate study of a racially and socioeconomically diverse group of nearly 160,000 U.S. women aged 50 to 79. It found those who scored highest for optimism were 10 percent more likely to live beyond 90. “Higher optimism was associated with longer life span and a greater likelihood of achieving exceptional longevity overall,” the researchers conclude.

To continue reading this article, click here: How Belief and Positivity Will Help Us Live to 100

This content is offered exclusively to Healthy Aging® Magazine subscribers.

Subscribe Today

Healthy Aging® Magazine offers in-depth feature articles, tips and information on how to achieve a healthy lifestyle. Enjoy features on diet and exercise, mental, social and financial wellness, active travel, and recipes! You will find ways to follow your passion, ideas for how to redefine yourself and stay active as well as profiles on inspirational people.

Your subscription includes:
  • ✔ Quarterly digital Healthy Aging® Magazines.
  • ✔ Free monthly digital newsletter.
  • ✔ Special free offers throughout the year.


Subscribe to Healthy Aging® Magazine

The Premier Lifestyle Magazine for All Ages

Receive four digital issues delivered to your inbox. Just $24.95