We think of those with bright, sunny outlooks as the people who’ll be around to celebrate their 100th birthday, but according to a new study, we’re wrong. Researchers from the U.K. have found that being neurotic can actually help you live longer!
For the study, over half a million people between the ages of 37 and 73 filled out a survey about neuroticism and rated their health on a scale from ‘excellent’ to ‘poor.’ They also reported their health-related activities, like exercising, smoking and drinking.
At the end of the study, 4,497 of the participants had died. Researchers found that among those who rated their health fair or poor, “higher neuroticism was associated with reduced mortality” lead researcher Catharine Gale explains.
“Our findings are important because they suggest that being high in neuroticism may sometimes have a protective effect,” Gale says, “perhaps by making people more vigilant about their health.”
If you have pre-existing health issues, or just think of yourself as unhealthy, don’t get stressed about your anxiety. Those neurotic tendencies could actually help keep you from kicking the bucket early.