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Viva la Vigilant

Never mind set backs and hardships, hardworking, goal oriented people tend to live longer, healthier lives.  Makes sense, doesn’t it?  They’re the ones who take their vitamins, manage their carbs, exercise, sleep enough, work hard, volunteer and maintain social connections, and it works!  All of these habits show an ability to focus and delay gratification, for the sake of long-term plans. It’s that “eye on the prize” mentality.

The Longevity Project, conducted by Friedman and Martin showed that vigilance, an admirable quality, is a definite predictor of long life. Resilience and flexibility are also facets of this personality trait. Things don’t go their way?  Move on!  Efforts fail?  They analyze why, don’t make the same mistakes twice and try again, with a different approach. They tolerate frustrations and accept responsibility for their actions.

Vigilant people know they get better, more rapidly when the feedback is immediate, so they are coachable and accepting of experts’ advice. 

They don’t condemn themselves, but look at life as a learning experience, readjusting their course while reinforcing what’s going right. No slacking off for these folks, but no self-loathing either. What’s all this leading to?  The message is, “don’t worry, be happy” is not a quality exhibited by the longest lived among us.

It’s the “don’t worry part” that’s the problem, well sort of.  No, don’t worry about the stuff you can’t control, but do be mindful of your health and well-being.  It pays off in the end.  Just ask the ninety year olds, who are still high performers.

So, where does the longevity and vitality come from?  Epigenetics, the habits and lifestyle they choose, that in turn gives their genes the best expression.

Turns out that acute stress is good for you, things like occasional calorie deficits, changing jobs, public speaking.  Stressors like these help build up proteins, to prevent cell senescence and accumulate healthy enzymes and neuroprotective factors. It’s the chronic stress that’s a killer.  They definitely don’t sweat the small stuff.  Free floating anxiety never helped anyone. Healthy elders don’t dwell on the bad stuff while doing their cross fit, dynamic stretching or mixing up their endurance and strength training.

No, neuroticism is not their strong suit, but they’re definitely good at battling real stress, not creating imaginary stress. What’s the secret?  Consistent routines, there’s that focus thing again! Eat and sleep at the same time, exercise routinely, no wild fluctuations, but throw in a little improvisation and spontaneity, now and then, just to keep it interesting and maintain an agile mind.  Sounds like that’s the “be happy” part, that plus the social connections.

The outgoing among us definitely have an advantage.

Maybe it’s the lower stress chemicals resulting from strong social bonds, maybe it’s the shared humanity and supportive friendships. Turning to the troops for support and solace buoys up natural optimism, hence,the benefit of family, church and friends.

These habits are all behaviors that you can cultivate over time, to give you more time!

 Yes, it turns out that genetics is only about 30% responsible for your future.  The rest is up to you.  Epigenetics is powerful antiaging “medicine”! Take your cues, from the Super Seniors who walk the talk and by all means manage your telomeres, the biological end caps at the end of your DNA strands. Don’t let your cells die prematurely or blow up, spewing contamination to surrounding tissues. Start taking Dr. Dave's Best Telomere Edge Packs and give yourself an edge!