University of Georgia research has provided new clues on surviving to be 100 years old. How we feel about ourselves and our ability to adapt to an accumulation of challenging life experiences may be as or more important than health factors. The research found that critical life events and personal history along with how people adapt and cope to stressful situations are crucial to explaining successful aging.
“Understanding health in these terms has huge implications for quality of life,” said Leonard Poon, director Institute of Gerontology, UGA College of Public Health and lead author of the study. “What is happening to you matters, but more importantly, it is your perception of what is happening to you that is really important for your individual health.”
“An individual confronted with a stressful situation can either find a quick emotional solution or ruminate on the problem,” explained Poon. “One is very destructive in terms of general well-being,” he said, “and the other is very adaptive.”