International Day for Older Persons: Do You have the centenarian mindset?
We need to have strong minds and positive psychological attitudes to live healthier and longer. Who else, other than centenarians—individuals past the age of one hundred years and examples of longevity—can provide us the insight into efficient psychological strategies for living longer?
Centenarians have something different from others: a sparkle of life in their eyes and attitudes. The sparkle of life, or the centenarian spirit, creates liveliness in everything they do, both the big and small activities of daily life. It keeps these one hundred-year-olds living in a creative way. It expresses itself in unexpected thoughts, words, acts, or behaviors, often including humor or refreshing comic attitudes.
Centenarians are full of surprises: they may be supporters of a baseball team (Myrtle Little, one hundred), of a country singer (Ollie Pike, 103), or of humor (Jeanne Calment).
When a journalist asked Jeanne Calment, who lived to 122 years, why she had lived so long, she answered, “Because God has forgotten me.” When another journalist asked at her 120th birthday how she considered her future, she answered, “Very, very short.” Finally, when one last journalist commented on her wrinkles, she protested, “The only wrinkle I have is the one I sit on.”
Check if you have the psychological features to become a centenarian. Please fill in the following questionnaire, which my patients have to fill in before their first consultation. The scores are tentative but should be considered as an incentive to make psychological improvements, not as solid evidence.