Want to Live Longer? Do This

Some things we do not have control over. Regarding longevity, we don’t control our genetics, our medical predispositions, our birth gender, ethnicity, and often our socioeconomic status. But there are a variety of factors we can control. The National Institute of Aging estimates that 70% of factors that determine how long we live are within our control. Here are some of the behaviors associated with living longer that you have control over:

  • Eating a healthy, primarily plant-based diet.
  • Being physically active.
  • Being socially engaged with others, and having ongoing social support.
  • Belonging to and participating in a larger community, such as a church, neighborhood get-togethers, a yoga community, a hiking group, an art coop, or something similar.
  • Not being overweight.
  • Having healthy, non-conflictual, reciprocal positive relationships—with your spouse or partner, your children, parents, extended family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, etc.
  • Don’t overdo alcohol consumption. And don’t drive while under the influence of any mind-altering substance.
  • Being in charge of what you’re addicted to. Some addictions shorten your life, such as smoking. You know what you’re addicted to. Stay in charge of those addictions, or they will take control of you.
  • Life satisfaction. How satisfied are you regarding what you’ve accomplished or experienced, what you’re proud of, your money/savings/financial goals, your work life, your love life, your home, your family, friends, creative expression, fun/play and your overall sense of well-being?
  • Dental health. Sometimes a sign of disease shows up in the mouth first.
  • Addressing your mental health and well-being. If you get anxious, depressed, angry, lonely, cynical, or any other negative emotion, go for help. Those are treatable emotions.
  • Wearing a seat belt.
  • Living in a low crime environment or city.
  • Learning how to bounce back from adversity, setbacks or losses. Resilience is essential for all of us.
  • Controlling your exposure to the sun, to air and water pollution and to hazardous chemicals.
  • Regularly getting medical check-ups, and getting immunized (from the flu, shingles, hepatitis, tetanus, etc.).
  • Being easy going, so you don’t get easily knocked off center by stress.
  • Having future goals you’re actively pursuing.
  • Keeping your mind vital and active.
  • Loving a person or an animal, and being engaged with the ones you love.
  • Keeping an optimistic attitude.
  • Living in gratitude and thanksgiving.

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