Surprising Discoveries from an 80+ Year Study on Longevity

Everyone thinks they have the secret to longevity, but do you have what it takes to live a long life?

Do you even want to live a long life? Would you rather live a long mediocre life or a short life full of pleasure?  These are the questions that come to my mind when I think of longevity.

As we continue to learn as an Epoch collective, I can’t help but admire the people I choose to do life with. Each person on our team has an individual personality, interests, talents, strengths, and weakness, and yet together we still manage to create something bigger than ourselves.

The topic of longevity has been something we’ve covered many times, but I never took the responsibility to find information for myself, until we chose to record this podcast. My google search lead me to Lewis Terman, psychologist professor at Stanford. There he started the Longevity Project that was later published by Howard Friedman, Ph.D. and Leslie Martin, Ph.D.

an interesting 80+ year study on longevity - the Longevity Project

Terman started collecting data in 1921 when his participants were in grade school. He gathered data on family dynamics and asked them personality questions, IQ questions, and interviewed parents, teachers, and of course the participants themselves throughout their lives.

The data that was being collected has continued to be collected even after his death. Grad students discovered his findings archived in the school library, picked up the pieces, and completed the study. It’s the longest running longitudinal study, having continued for more than 80 years. And the findings will shock you!

When living in an age where public health tells you what to eat and how much sleep to get, psychology will tell you that it’s your personality and collection of life choices that determine your longevity.

Often times it is said that happy-go-lucky people will live a long and happy life. Well…the Longevity Project found that it is more the conscientious person, the one who makes life choices to protect their health and make carefully laid out decisions about situations and relationships.

Hollywood would have you to believe that finding that one person who gives you a weird feeling in your stomach and then living with them for a lifetime will give you a long life. Well…the data suggest that men who possess a certain personality and have a healthy outlook on relationships are really the only ones who benefit from this. Women who are in a poor relationship or even become widows tend to fare better. Men who divorce were worse off than men who never married.

I share all this information not to scare you, but to get you to think about the people we choose to include in our tribe, because they have an effect on us. The health and lifestyle choices we make don’t only impact us. They also provide an example for our children, essentially snowballing their effect in our lives, not just for the moment, but for lifetimes.

Mental, social, and physical health work together to create the perfect formula for longevity.

There is no one way to a long life. There is no one way to a happy life.

Everyone is different because of their genetic makeup, personality, family upbringing, and life experiences. These things shape us and create the person we are today.

To create a longevity lifestyle, it is the little steps that count. Make one choice each day that will better your health and create a longevity lifestyle.

How is your thought life?

So many religions and philosophers say that our thoughts are the source of life. Do you fill your head with thoughts of life or of death? Do you recognize when you are heading down a dark thought path? Do you have supports in place to keep you accountable? Who can you count on? If not, what is keeping you from creating a positive thought life?

The first step in creating a mental longevity lifestyle is reflection.

The second step is like the first – share your reflections with a friend.

To you, the reader, thank you for taking the time to invest in yourself. For deciding that you are worth it and investing not only in your intellect, but in your longevity and influence in this world.

I end my post like I do every time, with a personal reflection I share with friends.

From Grace, Truth, and Love: I write…

I woke up and I was headless, and yet I still remained.

My life though not my own, never ceased.

I was once dead, but my mother never minded.

I’m not dreaming through the hallow parts of my head.

I’m trying to not take up space, and yet I still remain.

The deals I make are falling through,

but the laughs are coming from the clock.

No, I can’t find my friends in my enemies,

Nor can I find them in the space between.

Here is where they find me, and yet I still remain.

They are plotting my demise,

Smearing my blood along the line-

Crushing my spirit.

They dream.

But my desires outwit them, and yet I still remain.

The moments of depression sneak up in my head and I’m breathless.

I am a woman tangled up in my thoughts.

Not really knowing where they will lead me next.

And yet I still remain.

I’m taking my sunrise in life as a shock.

My words are so cold they turn me inside out.

I glaze over my thoughts, trying to show you something I never knew I knew.

As I continue down this road, I adore You in me.

The Me I wish I could see all the time.

I am a woman, and yet I still remain.

The sound is burning an image into my mind.

What do I know apart from You?

The Sun is shining for me, my truth burns throughout me.

I will never leave.

I adore the woman I am, and yet I still remain.  

About the communicator
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Jennifer is a wife, mom, educator, writer, dancer, and house plant enthusiast. Her life mission is to work smart to make people smarter.