If you’re looking for the key to longevity, start with being optimistic. A recent study looked at a group of men and women over the age of 95 and paid close attention to their personality traits. While being active was deemed important, so was being outgoing, easygoing and sharing feelings. Science Daily reports:

Previous studies have indicated that personality arises from underlying genetic mechanisms that may directly affect health. The present study of 243 of the centenarians (average age 97.6 years, 75 percent women) was aimed at detecting genetically-based personality characteristics by developing a brief measure (the Personality Outlook Profile Scale, or POPS) of personality in centenarians.

“When I started working with centenarians, I thought we’d find that they survived so long in part because they were mean and ornery,” said Nir Barzilai, M.D., the Ingeborg and Ira Leon Rennert Chair of Aging Research, director of Einstein’s Institute for Aging Research and co-corresponding author of the study. “But when we assessed the personalities of these 243 centenarians, we found qualities that clearly reflect a positive attitude towards life. Most were outgoing, optimistic and easygoing. They considered laughter an important part of life and had a large social network. They expressed emotions openly rather than bottling them up.”

What tips do you have for staying optimistic and choosing happiness?

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  • Being happy IS a choice! I derive happiness from very mundane things, like, the RAIN!!! Oiiiiiiii!!!! I’ve been praying for the rains, thunderstorm and lightning. So far, nothing. Meanwhile I’ve found somebody in the blogosphere who doesn’t know it, but has been entertaining me, I’ve been having dirty thoughts about them.

    Listen, I’m easily excitable!!!loool. BUT, when I do get into a funk. It’s a motherlover’s wrap. I’m not always happy, but I choose to be, because well eh, what is there left to do other than be pessimistic?! I’ve been down that path, and it ain’t pretty.

  • The title of “Choose Happiness, You’ll live longer” is a wee-bit on the side of being an oxymoron. My point: Happiness naturally comes with the desire to live a long happy life, doesn’t it? Why live longer, if it’s not for a happy reason?

    Unhappy people wish for short lives, often using cigarettes, alcohol, drugs and such in support of their goal. By contrast, happy people ‘automatically’ wish to live a long time. Happiness inside has the magic quality of placing you outside of time. Happy inside means it stays with you always, whether it’s the past, present or future, whether it’s time for you to pass on or time to be granted another hundred years to live.

    The purpose of everything we do is to heal. Once we’re healed we’re happy. Like everybody healed after an illness or accident. This makes perfect nonsense to the seriously unhappy.

    No need of healing here, and anyway, how would I know I’ve been healed? You’ll know, because the weight taken off your back is so great you’ll feel like a new person. You’ll even get the urge to jump n’ dance again.