Chapter 2 of Longevity Project focuses on the role of conscientiousness in predicting longevity. The personality trait of conscientiousness, or being prudent, persistant and well-organized, is correlated with long life, a finding contrary to conventional wisdom but explained by various rationales. Conscientiousness may be correlated with longevity since conscientious people take good care of their health, because conscientiousness has the same biological causes as good health (both related to high serotonin levels) or due to the fact that conscientious people maintain healthy relationships. The chapter described how it is possible for people to increase their level of conscientiousness with small, progressive steps and examined the link between low conscientiousness and chronic disease.
Chapter 2 relates to my personal experiences as I notice my Mom’s conscientious nature makes her particularly mindful of her health. She is a hard worker, prudent and put-together, and this translates to her care for her physical well-being. For example, especially due to family history of heart failure, my Mom exercises regularly and walks places when she is able to. As well, because she is a vegetarian, she is diligent about getting adequate nutrition from non-meat sources, such as protein from chickpeas, nuts and tofu. This focus on physical health is a result of her conscientious nature and will benefit her in the long-run.
This chapter relates to my perceptions of my future as it gives me hope for my longevity. I am definitely consciencious, and prior to reading The Longevity Project, I believed this was at odds with my well-being as conventional wisdom is that worrying is bad for long-term health. However, as described in the chapter, conscientiousness is a predictor of longevity, and I notice in my own life how my conscientious nature relates to my care for my physical health (I try to workout regularly, eat well and am cautious of injury), substantiating the idea that I may live longer.