Are you conscientious?

If you are conscientious, congratulations!

One study indicates that conscientiousness could be “the best personality predictor of long life.”

Called the Terman Project, the study is the subject of a new book by two professors—Howard S. Friedman at the University of California and Leslie R. Martin at La Sierra University. We read about the book, The Longevity Project, in a recent article in Yahoo! News.

What is the Terman Project? Lewis Terman, a Stanford University psychologist, began studying 1,500 children in 1921, and researchers have continued studying them for eight decades. They  have collected detailed information about their health, activities, attitudes, families and other variables. It’s the depth of the detail that allows Friedman and Martin to make “scientifically sound conclusions.”

How do these researchers define conscientiousness? It’s the “qualities of a prudent, persistent, well organized person.”

How does being conscientious make you live longer?

  • You’re more likely to obey rules, have healthy habits and avoid risky behaviors, such as smoking and driving without a seat belt.
  • You may be less prone to some diseases because you have different levels of certain chemicals in your brain.
  • Your conscientiousness helps you to develop healthier situations and relationships. You probably have a happy marriage, many friends and a positive work situation.

How can you become more conscientious? You can change your personality, but making changes isn’t easy and it takes time. These authors suggest that “lasting adjustments happen with smaller, but progressive, steps.”

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One Response to “Are you conscientious?”

  1. Howard Friedman May 20, 2011 at 3:30 pm #

    Good tips. To read the Introduction (free) to The Longevity Project, go to

    The Longevity Project
    http://www.howardsfriedman.com/longevityproject/

    There is also a Facebook page with lots of discussion about The Longevity Project.

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