“The Nun Study” was a longevity study done to help predict how emotion affects the immune system. The participating nuns (678 nuns in total, average age: 22) were asked to write an autobiography that was to include all the stuff they could think of about their life: Their history, their goals and aspirations, their family life etc. The nuns agreed to annual tests/assessments of their cognitive and physical function. The tests included medical exams, and blood draws to test genetics and nutrition. Curiously they were also required to donate their brains to science after they died.
60-ish years later (1986) researchers began to connect the dots. They found three important results:
- The greater percentage of nuns who wrote more
positively staved off brain diseases such as
- The nuns who wrote their essays with more
positive language, and more generative ideas,
lived 10 years longer than the nuns with a more
negative tone about their life!
- The nuns who wrote with more acuity. and more
language complexity, were also the nuns that
lived longer… They were also primarily the nuns
who wrote with a more positive outlook.
How About Your Takeaways!
- Positive outlook, and positive drive in your life,
- To be lifelong learners matters. And the ability to
expand your language, critical thinking, and
abstract thinking matters.
- We can help each other with that!