A team of researchers found that people who had more life skills generally had more money, better health, less depression and were connected to a larger social circle. What are those skills?
The good news is that you do not have to be born with these skills and do not rely on intelligence. What is the secret to a successful life? According to the results of a British scientific study the key is not in aspects such as education, money or intelligence, but in certain “life skills” such as optimism or persistence.
These and other skills could be a key to enjoyment in the third age of economic success, health and social welfare. That is the conclusion reached by a group of researchers from the University College London (UCL) in an observational study in which they examined more than 8,000 men and women between 52 and 90 years.
According to the study, the key skills for life are five:
- Emotional stability
- Commitment or dedication (English conscientiousness)
- Feeling of being in control
- These skills are often called non-cognitive because they are malleable personal traits that have nothing to do with intellectual ability. And experts found that higher scores on these skills were associated with economic success, social and personal well-being, and good health in older adults.
- That is why scientists believe that fostering and maintaining these skills, not only during childhood but also during adulthood, may be relevant to well-being and health during later ages.
- More money, more friends and less depression
- The researchers found that people who had a high score on at least four of the five attributes observed, generally had more money, better health, less depression and were connected with a wider social circle.
In contrast, those who excelled in only one or two of these life skills suffered more loneliness, depression, and were more likely to have chronic illnesses.
For example, only 3% of people with a good score in the five skills had symptoms of severe depression, compared to 22% in the group of people with less life skills. And individuals with the highest capacities also had lower cholesterol levels and better health indicators for diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
“We were amazed at the wide variety of processes – economic, social, psychological, biological, and related to health and disability – that appear to be related to these life skills,” said Professor Andrew Steptoe of the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health of UCL University, which led the study. According to the researchers there is not one skill that is more important than another in that relationship.
“Rather, the effects depend on the accumulation of life skills,” explains Steptoe. This study was published in the journal PNAS, and although researchers claim that there is no causal relationship between ability and success, the results do open up possibilities for exploring how well-being, health and Social functionality of the elderly.