Why Being Stubborn Might Just Help You Live Longer

Updated: Dec. 20, 2017

When you were younger, you may have caught flak for being a stubborn child—but here's why having that trait might be a good thing.

stubbornDean Drobot

Stubbornness has a time and place, you might think. Standing your ground on important issues that are rooted in your personal values is a good use of being stubborn. Standing your ground and yelling “Santa Claus isn’t real!” at a younger relative is a bad use of being stubborn. It’s all very situational, but a new study suggests being generally stubborn might have some major health perks.

A new study by the University of California San Diego School of Medicine and the University of Rome La Sapienza and published in International Psychogeriatrics aimed to pinpoint specific psychological traits that may lead to greater longevity.  The research involved a study group of 29 participants, ages 90-101 years old, in remote rural villages in Italy. At study’s end, it was found that even though all the participants were in worse physical health than their younger family members (ages 51-75), their mental well-being was markedly better.

The notable characteristics shared by the group of 29 included a stubborn disposition, strong work ethic, strong familial bonds, a sunny outlook on life, and a preference for rural life. (There’s already plenty of evidence support living in nature and living longer for women.) Researchers believe that stubbornness, in particular, helped participants stay mentally vigorous because they were less likely to care about what others thought of them and, in turn, would have less external stress from it.  

“We also found that this group tended to be domineering, stubborn, and needed a sense of control…” study co-author Anna Scelzo stated in a press release from UC San Diego Health, “This tendency to control the environment suggests notable grit that is balanced by a need to adapt to changing circumstances.”

“I am always active. I do not know what stress is,” a study participant said in a testimonial, “Life is what it is and must be faced … always.”

Looking to live a more stress-free, happy life yourself? Try some of these tips for being happier without really trying.

[Source: The Independent]