NYC Therapist Talks: Stress Management = Longer Life?
Two of the psychologists currently involved in the research, Howard Friedman and Leslie Martin have written a book summarizing their findings, The Longevity Project: Surprising Discoveries for Health and Long Life from the Landmark Eight-Decade Study. (The book includes self-rating scales for readers on many of the relevant variables.) As with all research, some expected relationships turned out to be true, some were found to be false, and some unexpected relationships emerged that are contrary to popular wisdom.
---Being sociable, extroverted, and happy doesn’t predict long life; but being a mildly neurotic worrier does, for reasons similar to those for conscientiousness. On the other hand, as expected, social ties—having contact with friends and loved ones—is a plus, if only because they can call for help when you need it.
---Taking it easy and avoiding stress doesn’t make you live longer, but being engaged with meaningful work does. Read Article
It seems we may not know as much as we thought we did about how to live a long and health life. Stress avoidance does not seem to be helpful to our lifestyles. We need to instead learn to manage our stress in a helpful manner, while finding pride and joy in our work. There is no reason that your work has to make you feel like you are constantly treading water. This is so important for people who live in NYC as we are constantly trying to keep up with the high paced lifestyle that comes along with living here. You do not need to have a certain personality style to enjoy life and feel accomplished. It is just a matter of learning the skills to help you through the stressful patches that will inevitably come up. Check out our group therapy series on stress management!