Away from the cameras, Brosnan has faced hardship. Not only did he lose his first wife Cassandra Harris to ovarian cancer, his daughter Charlotte sadly passed away from the same disease in 2013. In order to try and cope with the grief for both his wife and daughter, the actor turned to the therapeutic qualities of painting. Reflecting on the ordeal as a life-changing “terrible loss”, the actor has managed to rebuild his life, finding love again with his second wife Keely Shaye Smith. It is a newly found positive approach to life that Brosnan credits for his youthful looks and clean bill of health, sharing advice to others to “just love and work”.
Sharing his anti-ageing tips back in 2018, Brosnan said that he has come to accept the sorrow that came with losing both his first wife and daughter.
He said: “I think I’ve found good faith in my life, and good faith in myself. You just have to be… You have to have good faith.
“You’re going to suffer one way or the other. You’re going to… It’s truly unavoidable, and so you just have to know that the days will get better, and you just have to endure whatever pain has been given to you. And then put it down and try to do a good thing.”
With studies, like one from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine concluded three personality traits help individuals to live longer, for Brosnan this seems to ring true.
The 2017 study, which was co-authored by Dr Dilip V Jeste, aimed to uncover scientific data about the significance of personal characteristics or mental health on longevity.
In order to do just this, Dr Jeste and her colleagues studied the psychologies of 29 elderly people living in nine remote villages in a region of southern Italy. The regions were picked specifically as residents routinely live to be older than 90 years old.
In order to get a more “well-rounded sense of their personalities”, academics also surveyed 51 of their younger relatives.
The results found that the elderly participants all had the following personality traits in common:
- Strong work ethic.
Remarkably, even though most of the participants had faced hardship during their lifetime, including wars, illness and personal loss, they were still convinced of the fact that “life was beautiful”.
One participant said: “I am always thinking for the best. There is always a solution in life. This is what my father has taught me: to always face difficulties and hope for the best.”
In a similar vein, all of the participants were still doing some form of work in order to keep their homes and surrounding land in good shape. This strong work ethic to maintain something that they love means that they remain active and focused on a common goal.
Although surprising, stubbornness was another personality trait that researchers found was able to give the participants resilience and tenacity. Refusing to give up no matter what happens has meant that participants do not know what “stress” is, which has had a positive effect on their health.
“We also found that this group tended to be domineering, stubborn and needed a sense of control, which can be a desirable trait as they are true to their convictions and care less about what others think,” explained Anna Scelzo, first author of the study with the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse in Chiavarese, Italy.
“This tendency to control the environment suggests notable grit that is balanced by a need to adapt to changing circumstances.”
One of the other common traits found in participants was a strong family bond. Even for those who have lost their partners, being surrounded by a strong network of friends and wider family was a contributing factor to them living longer.
Unrelated to results of the study mentioned above, when asked to give his own advice for people who want to age as well as he has, Brosnan gave surprisingly similar suggestions to the 2017 study.
He said: “Oh, just love and work. Work and love. That’s all it is, really. Be grateful that you have a partnership, or a friendship, or a few friends. And just get on with life. I don’t know any other way.”
It is not just Dr Jeste’s study that found a positive correlation between personality traits and longevity.
In fact, psychologist Becca Levy explained that people who see the positives in ageing, like wisdom and emotional maturity, live an average of 7.6 years longer.
Those who have increasingly positive attitudes in regard to ageing tend to also exercise more, eat healthier and have less stress-related inflammation. This means that wider aspects of an individual’s lifestyle, such as diet and exercise, should not be undermined in the ageing process.