Even though people have made so many advances in the past 100 years; the health field, the technology field, in all fields, most people living in these advanced countries live unhealthy and unfulfilled lives. Actually, in the USA, the life expectancy of average people today is dropping -this is the second year in a row that this is the case. This is despite all the medical breakthroughs being discovered in this country –it’s because people are in despair, they are getting sick and dying.
Why is a global leader and many other countries seemingly failing in the field of longevity? The new life expectancy for American people is 78.7 years – that makes the USA behind other developed countries like the UK, Japan, Mexico, France, Canada, and Germany. In these countries, the life expectancy of people is around 80.3 years. But it’s not the doctors who are falling behind in the latest health formulas and technology; they are not the ones failing us, there are no strange outbreaks. There are other reasons; it is the way the human race is facing life, it’s the lifestyles of the people – these are the real reasons and it is very sad. Experts say there are 3 tops reasons why people are dying off sooner. Do you know what the real issue is? It is called despair. The tragedy of the situation is that it is what many people are dying of today – from causes that relate to despair and it is no respecter of age either. These are the three:
- Overdosing on drugs
This is certainly having a crucial effect on the USA and many other countries of the world. And it’s on the rise. During the years 2000-2014, fatal drug over-dosages rose by 137%! Although opioid drugs are not entirely to blame, the opioid crisis is impacting hugely on overdosing and addiction.
- Alcohol abuse is rampant
The USA is drinking too much, killing off people at alarming rates. And it poisons people too – alcohol poisoning kills around 6 people a day, and 76% of those people are between the ages 35-64. When people don’t have hope, they turn to alcohol, not always, but many do.
Suicide is a real problem. People are distressed, sad and lonely and feel the only way out for their problems is suicide. Yes, the opioid epidemic might show alarming statistics, but so does suicide. Between 1999 and 2014, the rates of suicides rose by 24%, particularly for those in the 25-59 age groups.
There are habits the oldies have cultivated
It’s clear that if you plan on living to 100 years, that you might want to think about watching more than only your diet. A study was done of the inhabitants of a remote little village in Italy who lived way past 90 years. It was discovered that this group of people also had particular psychological traits in common as well, namely resilience and stubbornness. This study was published in the International Psychogeriatrics journal, analyzing the physical and mental health of 29 of the old villagers, aged between 90 and 101. Those who participated filled out standard questionnaires and took part in interviews on topics such as beliefs, traumatic events, and migration – events that had occurred in their lives. The younger families were also asked what their impressions were of their older relatives’ personalities. The younger family members described their older family members as being domineering, stubborn and disciplinary, but that they also displayed qualities of resilience and the ability to change. Even though these people had suffered through the Great Depression, they had migrated and lost loved ones; they had continued to flourish and become old; to accept and recover from their forever changing lives, and to fight for what they believed in – in other words, their state of mind stood the test of time. What was discovered was that these people displayed very positive characteristics; they did not crumble when adversity struck, they had a strong work ethic and they had close bonds to their family, their church, and the countryside. In fact, most of the older adults in the study were still active and working, whether it was in their homes or on their land. It gave them all a purpose in life. Does it not make sense that happiness, contentment, working hard, positivity and resilience through hard times, and eating nutrient-rich foods of the land were the secrets to their long life?
The researchers also then looked at the younger members of the families, those aged from 51-75. Although these younger members did show better physical health than the older members, however, it was the oldies that displayed better mental faculties, more self-confidence, and better decision-making skills. Even as the older family members’ health deteriorated, their mental health was high (those who volunteered for the study had to sign consent forms and participate in hour-long interviews which would have ruled out any signs of dementia or any age-related cognition problems). These people boasted of life satisfaction and happiness with very high scores, and low scores for depression and stress.
These kinds of studies have helped scientist to understand more what the secrets to aging well are. Let’s look at say 5 or so habits that you can cultivate in order to live longer lives. Because it appears that there are certain attributes and habits that seem to be the underlying factors for a long and happy life as seen above. Even though scientists seem to conclude that there is no single factor that contributes to a long and healthy life, it appears strongly that it is the different aspects of your life, such as your diet, your lifestyle, your attitude, your personality, your daily activities – these things play a huge role in your overall health and wellbeing as far as longevity is concerned.
If you are happy and content, you can live anywhere
A professor in psychology, Howard Friedman, from the University of California, says that “The most important advice we offer people about longevity is to throw away your lists“. He is also co-author of The Longevity Project. He says today’s people live their lives according to lists – go to the gym, try and use weights, eat this, do that – but why aren’t we all healthy and happy and stable? Some oldsters who have lived in the cities for many years have survived better than a lot of young people. Take the executive director of the Musicians Emergency Fund, Marie – she adores city life. But look at her life, see how busy and fulfilled she is. She says that there is not one day in her life when she is not learning. When she is not working, she is on weekend trips out of the city of New York. As a New Yorker, she says she has learned to cope, to live on the defensive, to be active, and to conquer fear. That’s her secret.
In fact, over 80% of people who are older than 65 now live in metropolitan areas. These stats come from the World Health Organization. They claim that by 2030, an estimate of over 60% of people will be living in the cities and many of these will be over 60. In fact, cities are increasingly being ranked high on the lists of doctors and seniors as the place to be if you want to age happily and gracefully.
Each and every year, the Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging (CFA) rates the top metropolitan places to get old successfully. Why? Because they claim that it’s the cities that have the strong health support systems, which offer continuous learning opportunities; that offer widespread public transport systems and an abundance of culture and arts programs. They agree that people often and do feel isolated and lonely in the cities, but they say thousands suffer from loneliness and isolation in their country cottages far away from people, too. For millions of people struggling with depression, loneliness, anxiety, disease, you name it, being near a city, your cure could be waiting for you just outside the door.
It’s not really whether it’s the country life or the city life, it’s basically that people long to be noticed, to ‘bump’ into each other, and often. They long to be free of the entrapments of modern life such as the computer age, the cell phone age. It’s about human contact, real human relationships. We are losing human contact as we speed ahead, clamoring to stay abreast of modern technology, and forgetting, not even caring whom we trample on our way to get there. A 2017 study found in the Journal of Personal Relationships, that having good friendships counts more to people than their family. This study looked at over 250 0000 people in over 100 cities and discovered that even though friends and family are connected to better health and happiness, as people got older, it was the strong friendships that had links to better health. But it’s more than that – it’s about getting involved, serving, giving of yourself in service – another secret to a long and happy life.
Exercise and eat good food
Another tip for long life is exercise, but we all really know that – but it’s true – and thing is, seniors know it too and they are achieving amazing things today. One 69-year old claims that she was watching marathon runners on TV, feeling envious, saying to herself “I wouldn’t be able to do that – those are superhumans”. But she soon became one of them, training every day. Today, she has run nearly all the New York City Marathons. What she acclaims her success to is dedication, discipline, and brainpower. She admits that the running is hard but that the finish line is sheer joy. OK, there are not many physicians who will recommend that octogenarians start doing big-time physical exercise every day, but it’s not really about that. It’s about what is in the mind, the passion, the joy, the determination, the mindfulness – building strong bones is an added bonus.
Peter Martin, a professor at the Iowa State University, who runs studies on an ongoing basis on centenarians says that most centenarians do eat different but generally healthy diets. However, he noted that there was one thing that did stand out among them. They rarely skipped their breakfast. Routine is important to them.
Are you envious? Do you long for that contentment and healthy mental status as well? Well, you can achieve it too but it will require some lifestyle changes, it will require some hard work, it will require dedication and discipline – that’s what the happy oldsters claim.
Let’s look at things that will add the above to your life if you want to live longer. Instead of 5 habits for a longer life, there are an extra 3 for good luck that you can start to do:
- Don’t gorge or overeat on the good or the bad stuff
If you want to live to be 100, then don’t eat a lot of foods, Look at the oldies from the Japanese culture. They stop eating before they feel full and bloated. University researchers confirm that you eat less, you age slower.
- Get busy
Turn off the television set and get busy with things that you love doing; that you have a passion for – whether it is contributing at your church, or walking in nature or reading, keep moving, keep busy – don’t stagnate.
- Get out into some fresh air and some healing sunlight
If you are looking for a natural tonic for your body and soul, it’s time to get outside, into nature, taking in gulps of air and warm sun. We all know how imperative it is to use sunscreen and not to stay in the sun too long but get your Vitamin D.
- Reach out
Research shows that you stand a chance of risking heart disease if you don’t have a good network of friends and family around you. Loneliness poses a threat to many old people who then become prone to depression and inflammation. Reach out, become involved in service – become a wanted person!
- Keep your drinking moderate and concentrate on water
Those women who down more than two alcoholic drinks a day and men who have more than three a day risk the chances of increased weight gain, relationship problems, behavioral problems, etc. Small amounts of alcohol like red wine can prove to be good for you, in moderation.
- Eat enough real organic fruits and veggies
When we eat less than 3 servings of veggies and fruit a day, we allow diseases to enter our lives and eat away at our health. Fiber from fruits and vegetables lowers the risk of heart disease by as much as 76%, boosting protection against inflammation and cancer.
- Exercise and moving
As we said above, involving yourself in daily exercises is like saying you have found the fountain of youth. Exercise not only works out your body, it works out your metabolism, your heart, and your mind. Just moderate exercise like a 30-minute walk a day can already be lowering your risk of disease.
- No time for smoking
Quit smoking – for your own sake and health and to increase your lifespan. It’s never too late to quit this habit because it straight always starts slowing diseases, enabling you to add on quite a few more years to your life.
Positive attitudes count big time too
Of those people who live long lives, the most common reasons seem to be related to remaining independent and positive attitudes like looking forward to events in the future, like watching the grandchildren grow, etc. – in other words, hope. Otters gave usefulness and being needed as their reason for wanting to live longer. The desire to live a long life is laden with positivity. Many participants said because they had significant roles to play in their life, they felt motivated to live a long life. It has also been proven that a desire for a long life is conditional, based on staying in good health, functioning properly in the mind and body. Those who expressed no real desire to live longer were those who had fearful attitudes, fear of the future, they were unwell, they were lonely and bitter, in pain and despair.
To conclude, here are some wonderful herbs that you can add to your life, to bring happiness and contentment as you “do life” and these are all without chemical drugs. Use herbs from Mother Nature herbs to help you continue to live the happiest life possible:
A brain tonic, Brahmi improves feelings of well-being.
Calms both the body and the mind, easing anxiety and stress.
- Gotu Kola
Relaxes the nerves, clams panic attacks, helps people deal with stress.
- Calamus Root
Improves concentration levels, stimulating the mind and body, improving motivation.
Used for centuries – to relax the nervous system and calm the mind, giving peaceful sleep.
- St. John’s Wort
A natural antidepressant used successfully for those with cases of mild to moderate depression.
This beautiful flower has mild narcotic like compounds in it which encourage deep and restful sleep. Helps with daytime anxiety attaches.
Cannabis is marvelous when used to reduce social anxiety and excellent for depression. Unfortunately, it is not a legal herb as yet in many countries.
- Kava Kava
This herb helps to relieve anxiety and nervousness. It is a mild sedative, reducing feelings of nervous tension. Those with liver problems should first discuss with a doctor.
- Oat Straw
Oat straw is perfect for feelings of anxiety, also treating migraines, shingles, and even epilepsy. Seems ideal for those trying to detox from drug addiction or nicotine cravings.
Of course, feeling happy and fulfilled makes us healthier, but it won’t make up for bad habits such as a poor diet, lack of exercise, lack of sleep, or excessive stress levels. Take care of your lifestyle choices to look after your body and mind for true happiness, health, and contentment that can surely lead you to benefits that last a lifetime.
Obsessiveness about dieting today – it’s time we let drop those conceptions, it’s time to stay within the healthy ranges. Seniors today seem to be enjoying themselves with a few indulgences on the side in their food and drink. They are happy, independent centenarians who seem to have had a rollicking good ride. Reaching a ripe old age isn’t the aim though, it’s about what caused them to have such a happy, long, and satisfied life. It seems that it’s about good food, good exercise, certainly good lifestyles filled with hard work and discipline, perseverance – it’s about good habits. Got it? Well, go get it!