The oldest living person, Gertrude Baines, just turned 115. The California resident was born April 6, 1894, in Shellman, Georgia, to parents who were born into slavery. As People.com reports: Baines enjoys lifes simple pleasures, such as extra crispy bacon and sweets, as well as daily viewings of The Price Is Right and Jerry Springer. Pressed for her secret to longevity, Baines begs off the question. She prefers not to have the title [of worlds oldest], says her nurse, Cynthia Thompson, who has looked after her for nine years and quotes Baines as saying, Of all the people in the world, why do I have to be the one? I didnt ask for this.
It appears that the secret to her longevity may not be so mysterious, and may boil down to enjoyment of lifes simple pleasures. A new study would suggest there is more to this behavioral approach than meets the eye. Researchers at the American Geriatrics Society have recently completed a study evaluating the behavioral traits of the children of centenarians.
The researchers found that these individuals had very low scores on neuroticism - meaning they didnt fret and worry about the little things in life - or even the big things too much. They also had higher scores on extraversion - meaning they had desire and interest in others and in participating in activities. Women, but not men, were also found to be more agreeable with others (meaning less chance for conflict).
While different personality traits obviously have pros and cons depending on the given situation, this is an unmistakable pattern of behavior that is common in the long lived. Sometimes we evaluate the rightness of our behavioral traits based on solving a current situation or problem. But then we must pause and ask, How right is that strategy if it ends up killing me?
From a technical point of view it is easy to see that the net result of these behavioral traits is less wear and tear, in other words, less inflammation. The take home message is that no matter how you approach and deal with life, ensure you set aside time to relax and rejuvenate - the length of your life may depend on it.