Think a healthy diet and regular exercise are the only keys to a long life? Well, a new study of Italy’s oldest residents found that many of them share character traits that might play a role in their longevity—particularly the hard-headed among them.
Those traits? Stubbornness, optimism, a love for family and country, and a willingness to work hard.
Published in the journal International Psychogeriatrics, researchers from the University of Rome La Sapienza and University of California San Diego School of Medicine studied 29 Italians aged 90 to 101 (and 51 of their family members aged 50 to 75). Their findings uncovered that the older generation "had worse physical health but better mental well-being than their younger family members."
According to the research, their "exceptional longevity was characterized by a balance between acceptance of and grit to overcome adversities along with a positive attitude and close ties to family, religion, and land, providing purpose in life."
As important as well-balanced nutrition and weekly spin classes are to our overall health, it appears as though being happy has a lasting effect, too. "I am always thinking for the best," one participant said of their mindset. "There is always a solution in life. This is what my father has taught me: to always face difficulties and hope for the best."