In the introduction and chapter one, Friedman and Martin (2011) review the premise of their book: to identify the psychological and environmental characteristics that are associated with longer lives. Dr. Terman’s longitudinal study of 1500 participants showed detailed qualitative data on their families, schooling, activities, personalities, and social relations. By doing so, they hope to see whether certain traits predicted their health over time. Personality, social relations, family, and work are all relevant to healthy/unhealthy lifestyles. At the end of chapter one, the authors predicted that highly sociable and conscientious children would lead healthier and longer lives. However, the chapter ends with a cliffhanger, claiming that their hypothesis was only half right.
It is insightful for the authors to note that there must be a series of healthy traits one must possess to leave a better life. For example, one single action, such as increasing water intake, will not “cancel out” high amounts of soda drunken. Rather, there must be a lateral inhibition of decreasing soda intake as well. In my experience, by changing one part of their diet region, people may feel like they are on a pathway to a healthier lifestyle. While this may be semi-true, a healthy lifestyle encompasses more than diet. There needs to be a more holistic perspective taken on how to be heathier rather than just focusing on the physical.
For example, in my future, rather than just focusing on what I am eating and the exercise I do, it is also important to view my goals as attainable, work towards them, maintain good social relations, and practice some stress-relieving activity. In class, the speaker spoke about the different health dimensions (ie emotional, physical, financial, etc.). These all have an impact on my psychological well-being. As the book states, individual differences in my personality and perspective towards life affects my health. If I can consciously make better choices in most, if not all, these health dimensions, then I believe that my overall health would improve.