Are you constantly scolded for being “too stubborn” in your beliefs?
Well, tell those naysayers to kick rocks, because your headstrong ways could help you live longer.
Researchers from the University of Rome La Sapienza and the University of California San Diego School of Medicine studied people living in the villages of Cilento in Southern Italy to find out their secrets to longevity. The area — nestled between mountains and the Mediterranean Sea — boosts a large population of people past the age of 90.
The key traits of these long-living Italians include: a strong work ethic, positivity, close ties with family and stubborn personalities.
“There have been a number of studies on very old adults, but they have mostly focused on genetics rather than their mental health or personalities,” said Dilip V. Jeste MD, senior author of the study, senior associate dean for the Center of Healthy Aging and Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Neurosciences at UC San Diego School of Medicine.
“The group’s love of their land is a common theme and gives them a purpose in life. Most of them are still working in their homes and on the land. They think, ‘This is my life and I’m not going to give it up,'” added Anna Scelzo, first author of the study with the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse in Chiavarese, Italy.
And they aren’t afraid of speaking their minds.
“We also found that this group tended to be domineering, stubborn and needed a sense of control, which can be a desirable trait as they are true to their convictions and care less about what others think,” said Scelzo. “This tendency to control the environment suggests notable grit that is balanced by a need to adapt to changing circumstances.”
Italians in general seem to live to an old age. Genetics do likely play a role, but many researchers believe their fresh diet and relaxed, stress-free lifestyle plays a big part.
“Since the 1960s there has been a big improvement in the Italian diet, with much more fresh fish and a wider variety of foods,” Stefania Salmaso, Director, National Centre for Epidemiology and Health Promotion in Rome told the BBC.
They do smoke more — 23 percent of adults, according to the British news network — but “fresh vegetables and fruit are commonly available and we use a lot of olive oil in cooking, and less animal fats than is found in British dishes.”
So, it’s clear: Stop stressing and start being opinionated — it’ll help you live longer!