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Home > Blog > Long life -- Is it (mostly) in the mind?
Out of Our Minds
Thursday, August 26, 2004 11:37 AM
Long life -- Is it (mostly) in the mind?
Anita Sharpe on Health & Wellness

I saw a study a few years ago showing that college professors were among the longest-living people of any occupational group. As the study noted, their longevity seemed to have nothing to do with diet and exercise. More likely, it was tied to curiosity and a lifelong habit of using their minds.

This week's cover story in Time magazine looks at people who live to be 100 and what, if anything, they have in common. Okinawans, legendary for their long life, do stay active and eat a lot of soy. They also share 'a sense of belonging and purpose that provides a strong foundation for staying mentally alert well into old age.'

Time interviewed the oldest living American, Verona Johnston, who is 114. The story didn't say whether she did bench presses or ran marathons, although it's fairly certain she didn't do Atkins. 'I really like mashed potatoes and gravy,' she said. 'You can get too old to enjoy life,' she added. 'I never got that old.'


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Nathan Skreslet - 8/26/2004 5:31:08 PM
I don't have any studies to back this up apart from my own experience, but I think it's definitely true that you are only as old as you feel. Age - that is to say, the number of times you and the earth have completed a full revolution around the sun - really has very little to do with how you feel about yourself, which is a large determining factor in personal health and I would argue longevity as well.

I'm a very happy and upbeat person and I have been ill perhaps once in the last 5 years and then only mildly. I doubt this can be entirely attributed to luck and I certainly wasn't stress-free, I was doing a double-major and working part-time. Health and healing are all about attitude. It's been frequently shown that two people with the same disease will recover differently depending on their will to survive.
blablawa - 8/26/2004 1:28:45 PM
More likely, it is tied to status and lack of stress.

This experiment was carried out several years ago. High rank monkeys were put in a new environment were the happened to be the lowest in the pick order. Within several months they developed high blood pressure, damaged arteries and more serious business. Food and food intake were controlled to be the same.


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