Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Longevity and Mental Health

In the latest copy of AARP magazine there's a wonderful article about the longest-lived people in the world and what aspects of their way of life that might have led to such long healthy lives. The article focused on a research trip to the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica, one of the places on the planet with an unusually high proportion of people who reach the age of 100 or beyond. They interviewed as many centenarians as possible and came up with a list of several lifestyle practices they had in common. Here are a few of the ones that caught my attention:

• They had a strong sense of life purpose, they felt needed, and had the intention of contributing to the greater good.

• They live with their families, derive satisfaction from helping other family members, have a strong sense of belonging and of being valued in the family unit, and are supported by other family members in return.

• They eat lightly and tend to eat food combinations with a high nutritional content.

• They work physically their entire lives and enjoy their daily work.

• They share a common set of cultural and spiritual traditions and keep close relationships with neighbors and friends who they socialize with frequently.

• Despite living in conditions those of us in the United States would describe as poverty-stricken and unsatisfactory, as a rule these people appreciate what they have, watch for the silver lining in bad situations, and expect to receive what they need. They are optimistic in their point of view and believe in a caring and loving God who watches out for their best interests.

No comments: