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You can develop life skills that make you happier and less likely to suffer from depression. According to research co-led by Professor Andrew Steptoe, Professor of Psychology at University College of London, physical and mental health was better among people with the following 5 life skills;

  • emotional stability
  • optimism
  • control
  • conscientiousness
  • determination.

These skills are all vital to people’s success in life, leading to lower depression, greater financial stability, better health and lower social isolation. The conclusions come from a study of more than 8,000 people over 52-years-old and the headline results were:

  • People with the lowest levels of these five life skills had depression rates of 23%.
  • People with the highest levels of these five life skills, the depression rates dropped to just 3%.

Professor Steptoe commented, “No single attribute was more important than others. Rather, the effects depended on the accumulation of life skills.”

He added  “There is research on individual factors such as conscientiousness and optimism in adults, but the combinations of these life skills has not be studied very much before. We were surprised by the range of processes – economic, social, psychological, biological, and health and disability related – that seem to be related to these life skills. Our research suggests that fostering and maintaining these skills in adult life may be relevant to health and wellbeing at older ages.”

The Steptoe study was published in the journal PNAS (Steptoe & Wardle, 2017) and reproduced in the excellent Psyblog journal – view article

Separate from this study the 5 skills bear a close resemblance to the 4 C’s of mental toughness framework developed by Clough and Strycharczyk, which has also been widely proven to lead to improved performance, positivity and wellbeing amongst those with a higher level of mental toughness.

The 4 C’s and related Steptoe skills are as follows:

  • Control – control and emotional stability
  • Commitment – conscientiousness
  • Challenge – determination
  • Confidence – optimism

Original Post from Mental Toughness Partners