London: Want to live a long and healthy life? Look on the brighter side of life, recommends a study.
For their study, researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine examined more than 500 Ashkenazi Jews over the age of 95 and 700 of their children. This is because their genetic similarity makes them good candidates for gene studies.
Lead researcher Nir Barzilai said: "When I started working with centenarians, I thought we`d find that they survived so long in part because they were mean and ornery.
"But when we assessed the personalities of 243 aged above 100, 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. They expressed emotions openly rather than bottling them up."
Tests showed that the study group, which had an average age of 97.6, had lower "neurotic personality" scores than the general population and had higher scores for being conscientious, the `Daily Express` reported.
The researchers said the positive outlook may be genetically based.
Dr Barzilai added: "Some evidence indicates that personality can change between 70 and 100, so we don`t know whether our centenarians have maintained their personality traits across their entire life spans.
"Nevertheless, our findings suggest that centenarians share particular personality traits and that genetically based aspects of personality may play an important role in achieving good health and exceptional longevity."
The findings have been published in the `Aging` journal.