Growing old with a life well-lived is the goal for many people across all walks of life. The path to a happy life is different for everyone and the sheer number of options available to us as adults can be overwhelming and leave us drifting as we long for identity and purpose.
While the purpose of this post isn’t to tell you what to do with your life. No, the point of this post is, no matter what path of life you find yourself on (even if you’re still searching), you can live a happier, longer life. Let’s waste no more time.
Tip #1 is to remain active.
As we age, we will all develop certain needs and certain difficulties when it comes to different types of physical activity. That being said, though, physical activity in virtually any capacity can be good for you. Working on maintaining and strengthening your muscles at any age is important not just for mobility but for balance and overall quality of life.
Additionally, those who are more advanced in years may be concerned about telomere degeneration.
Telomeres are the ends of chromosomes that protect the information stored in our DNA. As cells continue to multiply, the telomeres get shorter and shorter, which, among other factors, causes aging.
Physical activity can slow down the deterioration of telomeres. A recent study indicates active adults when compared to sedentary adults have longer telomeres on average to the tune of giving active adults a nine-year aging advantage. Furthermore, according to another study, adults moving from inactive to moderately inactive (doing at least some exercise) had a 16 to 30 percent drop in death risks.
More than just physical health, exercise is also critical for your mental health. Research indicates that exercise can help combat not only physical ailments like diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity but sicknesses of the mind and nervous system like dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. Physical exercise pumps blood to the brain, elevates your mood and can improve memory by making the hippocampus portion of your brain bigger.
Tip #2 is keeping a positive attitude.
We all have pessimistic days from time to time and others struggle with more clinical mental illnesses like depression. As much as is possible, however, it’s better for your overall lifespan and the happiness therein. Keeping a pessimistic or bad attitude about life can sap your energy and possibly decrease the length of your telomeres, which as we established is key to a longer life.
Laughter is an important part of life as we age. Taking life less seriously can add years to your life as it contributes to a positive attitude and overall better mental and physical health. A study from the Mayo Clinic reported that those with a positive outlook on life have a 50 percent lower risk of death than those with a negative attitude. Those who live each day with purpose and gusto rather than succumbing to the notion that we aren’t useful as we get older tend to live a longer and obviously happier life.
Living positively decreases stress, and stress can have a significant influence on your physical and mental health. Stress is closely linked with inflammation. Inflammation is a response to danger from your immune system and to that end is normal. However, in addition to ramping up the rate at which you age, stress, inflammation, and other stress-related complications can contribute to conditions like heart disease.
Living with a more positive outlook takes work and diligence, but that investment in your mental and physical health is well worth the extra years on your life.
Tip #3 is feeding yourself well
It bears repeating that a solid, nutritious diet is critical to our overall health at every stage of life and more so when we get older. Eating additional fiber in addition to more fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds can help lengthen lifespans, according to research. Cutting out sugar, refined flour, fried foods, and artificial sweeteners also contributed to a longer life.
While it is helpful to eat as nutritious as humanly possible, it may not be feasible for you for a number of reasons. That’s okay. Even little steps toward a more nutrient-minded way of life can dramatically affect your future life for the better.
According to a recent study, people who kept a 15 percent lower calorie intake over the course of two years saw not only significant weight loss but their bodies showed signs of reduced oxidative stress, which means they aged slower than they used to.
Tip #4 is to learn to relax and get more sleep.
Sleep is a critical component of a healthier life. There are a number of reasons we stay up later and later, but staying up later can have a big impact on our lives. Not getting enough sleep can eventually lead to conditions such as obesity, cancer, diabetes and generally a shorter lifespan.
On the other hand, getting too much sleep can also be dangerous. Too much sleep can be linked to cancer and depression, both of which take their toll on your mind and your body. Too much sleep is linked to conditions like cancer and depression. Keep in mind that sleeping longer to catch up on sleep from a few nights before isn’t necessarily detrimental to your health, but if you find yourself sleeping way too much on a regular basis, it may be time to see a doctor just to make sure everything is okay.
Tip #5 is to keep your mind busy.
Using your gifts to the best of your ability is critical to overall happiness and health throughout every stage of life. Finding a state of flow in which you use your talents each day in some way – even if it’s not something you can incorporate into your professional life – can lead to a significant increase in happiness. Additionally, staying well-read and learning at every opportunity can decrease mortality risk, especially in older adults.