Monday, September 10, 2012

Creative Individuals Live Longer

The Human Mind

An article in Scientific American links creativity with longer life, and might I add a happier and more meaningful one:
Researchers have long been studying the connection between health and the five major personality traits: agreeableness, extraversion, neuroticism, openness and conscientiousness. A large body of research links neuroticism with poorer health and conscientiousness with superior health. Now openness, which measures cognitive flexibility and the willingness to entertain novel ideas, has emerged as a lifelong protective factor. The linchpin seems to be the creativity associated with the personality trait—creative thinking reduces stress and keeps the brain healthy.
A study published in the June issue of the Journal of Aging and Health found that higher openness predicted longer life, and other studies this year have linked that trait with lower metabolic risk, higher self-rated health and more appropriate stress response.
The June study sought to determine whether specific aspects of openness better predicted survival rates than overall openness, using data on more than 1,000 older men collected between 1990 and 2008. The researchers found that only creativity—not intelligence or overall openness—decreased mortality risk.
Creativity, linked with open-mindedness, allows the brain's neural networks to remain active and flexible. Creative persons tend to have healthy active brains. Such scientific research might explain why orchestra conductors, among many other creative individuals, tend to live long and have full lives.

You can read the rest of the article at [Scientific American]