If you’re planning for retirement, longevity is on your mind. From a financial perspective, you’re looking to ensure that your money will last. No one precisely knows their life expectancy, but research is indicating that some choices we make can influence our longevity – and the quality of life in those years. Heathy eating and exercising are two obvious examples. And a new study highlights another dimension associated with longer longevity – your psychological well-being. The study found people with high levels of psychological well-being lived between 5 and 8 years longer. Our guest shares with us the findings of that study and practical steps you can take to increase your psychological well-being.
Dr, Jennifer Boylan joins us from Colorado.
Jennifer Morozink Boylan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Colorado Denver. Her research focuses on health disparities, psychological factors that influence physical health, and biological mechanisms that link the social environment to disease processes. As a health psychologist, her research addresses the ways in which psychological factors engender resilience and protect against health risks associated with disadvantaged social status. This work utilizes multiple methodologies, including national longitudinal survey data, biological assessments of cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors, and laboratory assessments of emotion regulation and physiological reactivity and recovery to stress. Jennifer earned her Ph.D. and M.S. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Biological Psychology, and a B.A. in Psychology at Illinois Wesleyan University.
For More on Dr. Jennifer Boylan
Podcast Episodes You May Like
On Well-Being & Longevity
“In our study, we compared these effects of psychological well-being with two other factors. One was education. The survival benefits of psychological well-being were comparable differences in life expectancy, between someone who had a college degree compared to someone who had less than a high school education. Now the survival benefits of high psychological well-being were not quite as big as the differences in life expectancy between someone who has never smoked versus a current smoker. That difference is about 10 years, but our study was one of the first to report these associations between psychological well-being and life expectancy, which I think is really helpful for conveying just how important psychological well-being can be for how long we live.”
On How to Increase Your Psychological Well-Being
“There are a lot of ways, backed by scientific research, to increase your psychological well-being. These can include things like connecting with other people and then nurturing high quality social relationships, writing about your goals in life, being authentic with your core values, volunteering and engaging with your community. You want to seek out positive experiences, even small ones in daily life and try to savor those. And over time, all of those experiences can increase your psychological well-being. I think it’s also important to note that some activities that increase our psychological well-being might not always feel good or enjoyable in the short term. It takes a lot of work and effort to strive to achieve your goals, to make the most of your talents and to work to make the world a better place. But those activities also increase your psychological well-being and can be good for your physical health and how long you live. You can increase your psychological being at all stages of life and all stages of circumstance. I think this is something each of us individually has the power to d0 – seriously prioritize things that you enjoy and that make you feel fulfilled in life. You want to feel like you’re making the most of your personal talents and your personal capabilities, whatever those are. So cultivating psychological being is really helpful as we navigate life’s challenges and it may also promote your health and longevity.”
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Joe is the author of Win the Retirement Game: How to Outsmart the 9 Forces Trying to Steal Your Joy coming this summer.
Intro and Outro voiceovers by Ross Huguet.