“If you’re respectful by habit, constantly honoring the worthy, four things increase long life, beauty, happiness, strength.” – Hindu Prince Gautama Siddhartha, the founder of Buddhism, 563-483 B.C.
Most people dream to have a long and healthy life. Of course, there are many factors that influence how long we are destined to live that we can’t control. Nevertheless, very few people know exactly what they can do to increase their chances to live a longer and healthier life.
So what do our longevity superstars do differently than everyone else?
To answer this questions, Dan Buettner travelled to places where people regularly become hundred years and older, like the island of Okinawa in Japan and Sicily in Italy. He wanted to find what out what their secret to a longer and better life was.
What he discovered was surprisingly simple-our longevity superstars share a few common habits:
1) DIET: They eat mostly a green based diet, although they are not fully vegetarians. They also stop themselves from eating once they feel 80% full, acknowledging that it takes the time to become aware of the food we eat.
So by becoming more aware of what and how much you eat, you can instantly improve your well-being, without sacrificing tasty food.
2) EXERCISE: They are constantly moving, whether this is walking from place to place, using a bike or running up stairs. They ditch remotes and do almost everything by hand.
In other words, you don’t necessarily need to copy the fitness regime of Arnold Schwarzenegger to improve your fitness, provided you make sure you include lots of movement into your natural lifestyle.
3) REST: Our longevity superstars make sure they give themselves regular rest, whether this is taking a siesta, meditating, or even taking weekends off. They avoid feeling stressed whenever they can, for example by coming early to meetings and slowing down their lives whenever they can. They usually end their day in a relaxed manner, and with a glass of red wine.
So by taking regular breaks during the day, and giving yourself time off during weekends, you can instantly recharge your batteries so that you can deal with all the challenges of life. Also, try taking regular vacations from time to time, if you can, and totally switch off from work.
4) MEANING AND PURPOSE: They wake up with a purpose every morning: For one person this may be spending time with his grand-grand kids, for another it may be working in her vineyard. They usually also belong to a spiritual community and spend time with like-minded people.
By waking up every morning with a specific purpose in mind, you too can reap the rewards of living a purposeful life.
5) SOCIAL CONNECTIONS: And finally, they understand the importance of strong social connections. For example, they put family first and dedicate sacred to their loved ones. Even when they are separated, whether through work or a trip, they remind themselves of their family, for example by constantly adoring their loved ones through pictures they carry with themselves.
Most of the residents in Okinawa and Sicilia are connected to close friends and family as if they formed some kind of tribe, supporting each other in any way they can. They also give special respect to older people who are appreciated for their wisdom and experience.
Creating a few strong social connections with friends and family is one of the best ways to improve the quality of your life. The key is that these relationships carry more depth than the casual connections most of us have with acquaintances and social media buddies.
There you go, now you have the secrets to a better life. If you:
- Improve your diet, make sure you get enough movement,
- Combine work with sufficient rest,
- Wake up every morning with a specific purpose, and,
- Nurture a few strong social connections with close friends and family.
- You have all the chances to improve the quality of your life, and possibly also its length.
I would love to hear any other suggestions you have, that could increase the quality and length of our lives. Please share these with me below.
Featured Images Credits to:
Melissa Breyer of 59 Ways To Live A Longer Life
Andrea Kellerman of Can Eating Healthy Food Become A Problem
Viatcheslav Wlassoff, Ph.D. of Can Physical Exercise Improve Cognitive Abilities?
Peter Salovey of Reflect and Rest
Mandy Bass of Live Your Life Purpose, Regardless Of Job Or Circumstance
Let’s Talk of Social Connections and Healthy Aging