7 Special Qualities of the Very Long-Lived

From the book: The Human Animal by Desmond Morris copyright 1994 pages 182 & 183

Studies have revealed that people who live to be a hundred have certain attitudes in common

which show throughout their life:

1. They take a natural pleasure in regular exercise. They enjoy activities such as walking and gardening but in a relaxed way. They do not take vigorous exercise that is motivated by anxiety about health. Their physical exertions are extensive rather than intensive. They do them for fun rather than as a health duty.

2. They have a calm but lively personality. They have a zest for life but do not exhibit emotional extremes that give rise to outbursts of anger or moments of panic.

3. They do not live in the past. To do so is to idolize times when they were younger, faster and stronger, and that can be depressing. Instead they live very much in the present, with enthusiasm for the activities of the day.

4. They are successful at what they do. This does not imply major success. Their goals maybe very modest but if they achieve them, in their own eyes, this will act as a life stretcher. In fact, the very long-lived are more concerned with what they do rather than with whom they are. They are proud of their work rather than themselves.

5. They are moderate in their habits. They eat a varied diet that avoids all extremes. They consume a regular daily mixture of meat and vegetable foods, and also take a moderate amount of alcohol. They live longer than those who suffer from what might be called "food and drink anxiety", of the sort that leads to various kinds of self-denial. Equally, they tend not to be the gourmets who develop food and drink into an art form.

6. They have an orderly life style. This does not imply a strict, military style control. Rather, it suggests a daily routine that is free from chaos and stress.

7. They have a twinkle in the eye. A sense of humor survives with them even into extreme old age.