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The oldest woman alive says she made it to 115 years old — surviving both World Wars and the 1918 flu pandemic — by avoiding ‘toxic people’

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The world's oldest person as of January 2023, María Branyas MoreraMaría Branyas Morera, 115, is the world’s oldest person as of January 2023.

Guinness World Records

  • Guinness World Records confirmed Spanish resident María Branyas Morera as the world’s oldest person.
  • Morera said one key to longevity is to stay away from toxic people. 
  • Research has indicated toxic relationships can impact mortality and cause health problems.

The world’s oldest person’s key to a long life is simple: cut out toxic people. 

Guinness World Records confirmed María Branyas Morera, 115, as the world’s oldest person on January 19.

Born in San Francisco, Morera moved to Spain when she was eight. She lived through both World Wars and the 1918 flu pandemic before retiring in a nursing home 22 years ago.

Morera attributes her longevity to “order, tranquility, good connection with family and friends, contact with nature, emotional stability, no worries, no regrets, lots of positivity, and staying away from toxic people,” according to the Guinness World Records’ website. She sometimes posts words of wisdom on her Twitter account, managed in part by her daughter.

—LongeviQuest Supercentenarios (@Supercentenaria) January 17, 2023

“I think longevity is also about being lucky,” Morera said, according to Guinness World Records. “Luck and good genetics.”

Science says toxic relationships are bad for your physical health

Though research has consistently showed maintaining social relationships are an important part of living a long life, keeping toxic people around may do more harm than good.

“One of the biggest indicators that your relationship is negatively affecting your emotional health, is that it is impacting an area of your life [such as] work, friendships, family, health, finances, spirituality, or downtime,” Carolyn McNulty, a licensed mental health counselor, previously told Insider

A study from 2020, which interviewed more than 3,000 middle-aged and elderly people, found constant criticism from one’s partner had the most significant impact on one’s quality of health and mortality.

Researchers said their findings suggest “relationship quality” had a bigger impact on a person’s mortality risk compared to whether or not they had a partner — suggesting that being on your own might be healthier than keeping an overcritical spouse.

Other studies have linked toxic relationships to depression and high blood pressure, and licensed therapist Shannon Thomas previously told Insider her clients in abusive relationships typically come in with digestive issues and memory problems. 

Read the original article on Business Insider