Health & Lifestyle

Curiosity may have killed the cat – but it could help you reach 100, while being nosy is more likely to get you there in the first place

  • The number of UK centenarians has increased, from 110 in 1921 to 13,924 in 2021
  • The results indicated they had 19 traits in common, including honesty

Having a sense of humour is handy when dealing with the trials of old age – but being nosy is more likely to get you there in the first place.

Research shows that curiosity is an important trait for longevity and is more vital than humour, optimism or faith.

The number of centenarians in the UK has increased, from 110 in 1921 to 13,924 in 2021. Based on interviews with men and women between 100 and 107, researchers looked for any shared characteristics.

The results indicated they had 19 traits in common, including honesty, a love of learning, gratitude, intelligence, being active and curiosity.

Other traits classed as peripheral – and not found in most of the men and women – included being cheerful, having religious faith, courage and humour.

Having a sense of humour is handy when dealing with the trials of old age ¿ but being nosy is more likely to get you there in the first place

Having a sense of humour is handy when dealing with the trials of old age – but being nosy is more likely to get you there in the first place

The number of centenarians in the UK has increased, from 110 in 1921 to 13,924 in 2021. Based on interviews with men and women between 100 and 107, researchers looked for any shared characteristics

The number of centenarians in the UK has increased, from 110 in 1921 to 13,924 in 2021. Based on interviews with men and women between 100 and 107, researchers looked for any shared characteristics

‘Centenarians have successful academic and professional results, are self-taught problem-solvers who take on challenges even though they’re not trained.

‘They love to learn and are curious, and have a good memory,’ said the psychologists from Universidad Complutense de Madrid, whose findings were published in the Journal of Happiness Studies.

They added: ‘Analysis of the life of healthy centenarians provides us with lessons that, in all probability, could help in achieving a healthy old age.

‘Be curious, learn about new cultures, travel and read. Curiosity is the zeal for knowing, travelling, being up-to-date. Stay intellectually active, finding new areas of knowledge and learning.’

  • Are you a centenarian or do you know one? Tell us what you think. Email [email protected]


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