Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

In my keynote The Meaning of Life (so presumptuous huh!) we cover eight basic points that we have learned from older folks about living a quality life. Among them we talk about lifelong learning, having a great attitude and having a broad social network. We have cited studies in the past that support this of course so here is another.

Hui-Xin Wang of Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden published a study in Jan. 20 issue of Neurology that adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting a link between personality traits, lifestyle and Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers questioned 506 older people about their personality traits and lifestyle, to measure their sociability and disposition to stress. After six years, 144 people had developed some sort of dementia, but researchers discovered that calm, more relaxed people, whether they had active social lives or not, were 50 percent less likely to develop dementia.

People who were both calm and outgoing, with active social lives, were also 50 percent less likely to develop dementia.

The study suggests that changes to lifestyle, such as having an active lifestyle, engagement in different leisure activities, i.e. mental, social and physical activities, or having a rich social network, may protect against dementia.

“The main limitation of the current study is that personality was assessed only at one occasion,” said Wang. ” And that is true. Some older adults do become depressed and stressed as they age and face more physical and emotional struggles. That said, people going into that stage of their lives who exhibit the eight traits we talk about handle aging much better than their counterparts.

Want all eight? Ah heck, you need to have me come and speak to you!