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Dr. Daniel Amen's Notes from "The Longevity Project"

The Longevity Project

Dr. Daniel Amen shares his notes from reading The Longevity Project, highlighting the keys to a long, healthy, vibrant life. Consider this a “cliff-notes” version.

  • Terman study, 1921, tracks 1548 children for 90 years
  • No. 1 predictor of longevity is conscientiousness
  • Forethought is critical function of Pre-Frontal Cortex
  • Ability to live not only for the moment is key to longevity
  • Delayed gratification is key to longevity
  • Hard work and accomplishment is key to longevity
  • Those who were most disappointed with their achievements died the youngest.
  • Being undependable and unsuccessful in careers had a whopping increase in mortality!
  • Reaction to loss with drinking, depression, anxiety and catastrophizing was associated with early death.
  • Those who thrived after loss following a period of grief and adjustment got a “resiliency bonus” and lived an average of 5 years longer than average.
  • An optimistic, carefree attitude encouraged people to underestimate risks and approach their health in a lackadaisical fashion, which decreased longevity. They died more often from accidents and avoidable deaths.
  • Thoughtful planning and perseverance (usually associated with good brain function) was associated with longevity.
  • Prudent, persistent achievers with stable families and social support lived longer.
  • People with habits, routines, and social networks which encouraged exercise did the best.
  • Social relationships dramatically impact health. The group you associate with often determines the type of person you become.  For people who want to improve their health, association with other healthy people is usually the strongest and most direct path to change.
  • Moderate worry, meaning you care and think about the future, is important to stay healthy.