“Having a sense of humor, just looking at the positive side and not dwelling on the downside. Takes up too much energy being negative. I don’t like the other side,” White joked with PEOPLE in their latest issue. “The positive side is a lot more fun.”
White also made a point to clarify that “having a sense of humor” doesn’t have to mean spit firing jokes inappropriately like Patch Addams, but it should include resisting the temptation to take yourself too seriously. Noone likes a brooding Brad, especially when the world is on fire.
“Don’t focus everything on you; that wears out pretty fast,” White continued. “Don’t take yourself too seriously. You can lie to others — not that I would — but you cannot lie to yourself.”
For her 99th birthday, which she celebrated this past Sunday, White kept it local with a few family members and a couple of the wild animals she feeds on her time off. The Golden Star reportedly makes a point to laugh often between gigs, which she credits with her good health, “also having a good agent who keeps me busy all the time.”
There is actually a lot of literature that supports laughing and longevity. In a recent study published in the official journal of the American Psychosomatic Society, a sense o humor was determined to contribute to the prevention of several serious illnesses.
“We conducted a 15-year follow-up study of 53,556 participants in the population-based Nord-Trøndelag Health Study, Norway. Cognitive, social, and affective components of the sense of humor were obtained, and associations with all-cause mortality, mortality due to cardiovascular diseases (CVD), infections, cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases were estimated by hazard ratios (HRs),” the authors wrote.
“The cognitive component of the sense of humor is positively associated with survival from mortality related to CVD and infections in women and with infection-related mortality in men. The findings indicate that sense of humor is a health-protecting cognitive coping resource.”
During our chat with registered dietitian and founder of The Wellnecessities, Lisa Hayim, we unpacked the other relevant factors alongside mental wellness that facilitate achieving centenarian status.
“Those who live to be 100 are a small population so it may be easier to extract variables that overlap. It seems some factors are a result of genes. When it comes to things we can do, some big factors include not smoking, eating lots of vegetables, and daily movement,” Hayim told Ladders.
“Stress management doesn’t have to look like meditation or squeezing a stress ball at your desk. “It has to do with building in stress-free activities into our usually crammed with work lifestyle. Think about community events, doing things for pure joy, or simply putting your cell-phone down for periods of time.”
All in all, White believes “living in the movement, maintaining an even temperament, and keeping things light will keep her this year and the next. Saying of the trick to keeping a long happy life:
“Again, having a sense of humor.”Just looking at the positive side and not dwelling on the downside. I don’t think about things I might have missed out on.”
Someone mail Rush Limbaugh a kazoo and a whoopie cushion.