L’Chaim

Do you think you have the secrets to longevity?

No, it’s not because you ate all of your vegetables as a child or jogged 30 minutes each day for the past 20 years or lived a stress-free life.

These are just a few of the myths dispelled in Drs. Howard Friedman and Leslie Martin’s book, “The Longevity Project”. Released in March of 2011, this book tells of the “surprising discoveries for health and long life from the landmark eight-decade study” by Stanford psychologist Dr. Terman.

What began with some 1,500 boys and girls  born around 1910 selected by Dr. Terman  in 1921 ended, or should I say resulted in detailing factors such as social connections, personality and marriage affect long-term health in The Longevity Project. Dr. Terman chose bright kids and tracked them throughout their lives. Over the years he collected  information about the children and their families, how many books were in their houses, to their dispositions.

Dr Terman died in 1956 at the age of 80, but the project was carried on by others. Friedman and Martin picked up on his work in 1990, and used the decades of data gathered to better understand health and longevity.

Findings:  cheerful and optimistic children are less likely to live long lives, because they are risk takers. Dr Martin explains that  “by virtue of expecting good things to happen and feeling like nothing bad ever would, they predisposed themselves to be heavier drinkers, they tended to be smokers, and their hobbies were riskier.”

Some degree of worrying is good.

People (and children) who display prudence,  persistence, organized lives are strong, healthier and live longer. Yep, that means those of us somewhat compulsive and not entirely carefree).

The book is dotted with assessments used by Dr. Terman in his group of Termanites over the years. So if you like that sort of Redbook, how do I rank questioning, you will enjoy these tests.

If you are smart, educated, pretty healthy and moderately healthy, you will no doubt have read or will be reading this book and can “expect” to live a long life!

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