You want to live a long and healthy life, full of beauty, love, and contentment, long enough to achieve your purpose in the world, to see your kids grow up and be happy, and to enjoy all the great experiences that life has to offer.
While how long you can live you or if you can choose to be happy may seem out of your control, various research has been undertaken to investigate whether we can have any effect on our longevity or our happiness levels. And the report is, yes, in many ways we do determine our life’s outcome by how we eat, if we connect and interact, and how we view life can all influence whether we’ll reach the centenarians club.
(But, of course, this assumes you’re not a smoker, and don’t engage in risky or dangerous behavior. And have the inclination to live a long time.)
Incorporate these seven principles to enhance your vitality and longevity.
1. Eat Real Food
Real food consists of fresh vegetables and fruits, unprocessed meats and seafood, and naturally-occurring starches and fats. Emphasize vegetables, and eat local or organic whenever possible. Avoid sugar, processed and packaged foods, which tend to lead to weight gain, cardio-metabolic issues, disposition toward diabetes, and declines in brain health and function.
2. Enjoy Life and Don’t Stress
Try to see the humor in life, be able to roll with the punches, and flow with life ups and downs and you’re sure to live a long life. Too much or too frequent stress causes the body to age more quickly; it negatively impacts the endocrine system, the adrenals, and even the heart. Plus if your body does survive the stress, why would you want to live a long time totally stressed out?
3. Move Frequently
Physical movement is fundamental to the human experience. Throughout history humans have walked, run, lifted things, carried them over distances, and crafted natural resources to their own use (building shelters, making tools). While most health advice tells you to exercise daily, hitting the gym is not necessary. Movement is: walk, maybe jog or sprint a little, pick up the kids or groceries and lift them over your head, squat, dance, do whatever movement feels natural for you. Do it multiple times per day, ideally a little movement every couple of hours. Sitting less is an imperative.
4. Stay Connected
Keep a community around you: friends, family, and people with shared interests. Get together with them face-to-face; stop hiding behind the internet. Humans needs connection and social support and you are no different. Tribes and close-knit communities is what helped us survive. Make spending quality time with family and friends a priority. Research presented in the Blue Zones’ book Thrive shows that those with regular positive social interaction tend to live longer and happier across all cultures.
5. Respect Your Gut
Your gut–both in the intuitive sense and in the bacteria-microbiota-digestive sense–is fundamental to your health and well-being. You need to trust your gut and go with your instincts to make the best decisions in uncertain situations. The more you hone in on and listen to your gut, the better guidance it will provide you and can help you avoid dangerous or threatening situations. Physiologically, the more you nourish your microbiota gut with probiotics, fermented foods, and fiber, the better your digestion will be, the easier it will be to fight off disease, and the stronger and sharper your brain will be (plus a healthy gut may even keep you lean). Avoid antibiotics, sugar, wheat, alcohol, and genetically-modified foods for a healthier gut. Maintaining good gut health is a key factor predicting your ability to live a long and healthy life. Your gut is fundamental to how you and your body interpret, interact with, and respond to the world, so respect it.
6. Play and Laugh
Play not only helps us stay connected (4) and relieves stress (2), it also sparks learning, imagination, creativity, and problem-solving (source), so perhaps more play just might be the creative insight need to discover the fountain of youth. Perhaps if you let yourself laugh, joke, roll, jump, hide and seek, you’d all be a little happier, a little less worried, and have more energy to live a little longer. Plus, the fun of play can oftentimes lead to laughter and laughter is the best medicine. Research suggests laughter is good for the cardiovascular health because it relaxes the whole body, expands the blood vessels, and causes a release of endorphins and other chemicals that protect the lining of those blood vessels.
7. Experience Gratitude, Peace, and Contentment
Whenever possible, feel gratitude in your body, let that be the foundation of contentment and you will be at peace. This is the counterpoint to striving too hard, being continually dissatisfied with your life, and looking outward for happiness, because all of this creates added stress and lowers mood, which impact the quality of life, the willingness to live, and since the mind influences the body, physical health is also compromised. One quote that comes to mind is, “So many people spend their health gaining wealth, and then have to spend their wealth to regain their health” by A. J. Reb Materi. Fortunately, to experience gratitude, peace, contentment, and the health and longevity it brings, you don’t have to spend money or time searching for it. These positive sentiments will see you through a happy life and their effects will ensure your body wants to live a long time in radiant health.
Observing these principles will have you eat right, maintain the community that nourishes your spirit, lift your mood, keep your brain sharp, and your ensure your body is healthy to sustain your for a long and vital life.
Leave a comment below and let us know what do you see as fundamental to a long and healthy life.
“Don’t seek, don’t search, don’t ask, don’t knock, don’t demand – relax. If you relax, it comes. If you relax, it is there. If you relax, you start vibrating with it.” ~Osho