Want to live longer? Try these three things!

If you’re interested in hanging around for a while, and who isn’t, you might want to give these three a try, according to a recent piece by Jeffrey Kluger for Time magazine.

Stay Curious. Kluger quotes Laura Carstensen*, psychology professor and director of the Stanford Longevity Center: “There is evidence that curiosity has longevity benefits…Asking questions and discovering new things keeps you engaged with the world and with other people.”

Eat More Plants. No surprise here, says Kluger: “The healthiest diet is the one in which you eat a lot of plants…A Harvard University study found that people who ate eight or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day were 30 percent less likely to have a heart attack or stroke than people who ate less from the plant group.”

Change Your Mindset. When you think about aging, do you focus on the positive or the negative?

Kluger quotes Becca Levy, associate professor of epidemiology and psychology at the Yale School of Public Health: “Our research has shown that when more positive beliefs about older individuals are held earlier in life, they can lead to health advantages.”

A study co-authored by Levy, Yale colleagues Martin Slade and Stanislav Kasl, and Miami University’s Suzanne Kunkel found that “older individuals with more positive self-perceptions of aging, measured up to 23 years earlier, lived 7.5 years longer than those with less positive self-perceptions of aging. This advantage remained after age, gender, socioeconomic status, loneliness, and functional health were included as covariates. It was also found that this effect is partially mediated by (a) will to live. . . . The findings suggest that the self-perceptions of stigmatized groups can influence longevity.”

* Carstensen is author of “A Long Bright Future: Happiness, Health, and Financial Security in an Age of Increased Longevity.”

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