7 secrets to having a long and happy life

7 secrets to having a long and happy life

Happiness is now!

But happiness is also looking forward to a positive tomorrow, next week and beyond.

Living a good life, in fact living your best life, is not just now but the medium and long term future as well.

In yet another great article, Eric Barker shares 7 lessons from the research that I’m sure you’ll find helpful…

via Eric Barker’s Barking Up The Wrong Tree

There are plenty of ways to make your life a little better. But making your life longer is trickier. Does any of that anti-aging stuff work? Let’s ask an expert…

Thomas T. Perls, M.D., M.P.H, is the director of the New England Centenarian Study, and an associate professor of medicine and geriatrics at Boston University’s med school. What say you, Tom?

A good start to adding more good years to your life would be to get rid of the anti-aging quackery… These guys are just trying to sell you stuff. What does work is living the lifestyle of those who we know are living longer, like those people, I suppose, living in the Blue Zones.

Ouch. No magic pill to prevent aging. But what did he say at the end there? What the heck is a “Blue Zone”? Gimme a sec while I put my research hat on…

A while back a bunch of demographers published a paper in the journal Experimental Gerontology about a place in the Barbagia region of Sardinia where people lived exceptionally long, healthy lives. (They circled it on the map with a blue pen and the name “Blue Zone” stuck.) Well, some place has to have the people who live the longest, right? Just random…

Actually, no. Because they started to find other Blue Zones. Areas where people were up to three times more likely to live to 100 than the average American. And they didn’t just live long — they lived well. Healthier. Happier. Fewer diseases. More energy. Hmm. Care to take a quick trip around the world with me? (We’ll have separate hotel rooms, I promise.)

Okinawa, Japan has the highest life expectancy in the world. Their rate of cardiovascular disease is 20% that of the US. Breast and prostate cancer? 25% as often. And dementia is one-third as likely.

Men from Nicoya, a peninsula off the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, have twice the chance of making it to age 90 as men from the US, France, or Japan. It took them a while to even realize this was a Blue Zone because life expectancy is so low in neighboring countries that mortality studies didn’t even bother to ask if anyone lived past 80.

In Loma Linda — just 60 miles outside Los Angeles — people live more than 7 years longer than the average Californian. When researchers interviewed a woman there she told them a story about when her father got gored by a bull. Cool story but what’s cooler is that the event happened 107 years ago. Lydia just turned 112.

What the heck is going on in these places? We know magic pills don’t work. Must be due to good genes, right? Wrong:

Scientific studies suggest that only about 25 percent of how long we live is dictated by genes, according to famous studies of Danish twins. The other 75 percent is determined by our lifestyles and the everyday choices we make. It follows that if we optimize our lifestyles, we can maximize our life expectancies within our biological limits.

So demographers, doctors, and scientists collaborated with the National Institute on Aging to get to the bottom of this, analyzing what these groups ate, how much exercise they got, how they socialized, etc.

These are very different places with very different people — but they found patterns. Much of the data is correlational. We can’t just say “do this and you’ll live to 100.” There’s no magic formula. But certain activities, behaviors and rituals came up again and again that seem to point to lessons that might help us all live longer, healthier, happier lives.

Ready, Methuselah? Let’s get to it…

Inconvenience Yourself

A better header would have been, “Exercise.” But if I said that, you wouldn’t do it. And, to be totally honest here, the Blue Zone people (if I say “Blue People” you might think I mean Smurfs) never deliberately exercise either.

But they move. A lot. Their lives are more active — but not in a “Aw, crap, now I have to put on my Nikes and go to Zumba class” kinda way. Activity is built into their day.

From The Blue Zones: 9 Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest:

…they engage in regular, low-intensity physical activity, often as part of a daily work routine. Male centenarians in Sardinia’s Blue Zone worked most of their lives as shepherds, a profession that involved miles of hiking every day. Okinawans garden for hours each day, growing food for their tables. Adventists take nature walks.

So don’t worry about the gym. But engage in activities you enjoy. Or just make your life a little less convenient. Take the stairs. Don’t drive when you can walk.

(To learn more about how you and your children can lead a successful life, check out my bestselling book here.)

Now we all know that eating is key to health and longevity. So let’s learn a very helpful concept that is easy to use but kinda tricky to say…

…keep reading the full & original article HERE