Go ahead, dig your heels in. Turns out it's good for you! 

By Meghan Overdeep
December 13, 2017

The key to a longer life might have nothing to do with health, and everything to do with your attitude. But don't throw your diet and exercise plans to the wind quite yet.

That's according to a small yet fascinating study published in the journal International Psychogeriatrics, which found that Italy's oldest residents share traits like stubbornness, optimism, a love for family and country, and a willingness to work hard.

Researchers from both the University of Rome La Sapienza and University of California San Diego School of Medicine studied 29 Italians aged 90 to 101—and 51 of their family members aged 50 to 75—who live in remote villages straddled by the Mediterranean Sea. It's a niche group, but one that could very well hold the key to the fountain of youth.

What they found is that participants aged 90 and over "had worse physical health but better mental well-being than their younger family members." According to researchers, their exceptional longevity was characterized by "a balance between acceptance of and grit to overcome adversities along with a positive attitude and close ties to family, religion, and land, providing purpose in life."

"I am always thinking for the best," one participant noted. "There is always a solution in life. This is what my father has taught me: to always face difficulties and hope for the best." The oldest participants also shared a fierce love for their land, in fact, most of them are still working in their homes and on the land.

Looks like Mawmaw and Pawpaw knew a thing or two after all!