It is safe to say most people want to live longer. But just what do we do to extend our lives? Do we exercise every day? Accumulate wealth? Eat a vegan diet? Try not to let stress affect us too much?
It was these questions that led Dan Buettner to work with a team of demographers to find just where the people with the longest life expectancy lived and then go and study them.
What he found was that like the Danish Twin Study, much of our life expectancy is determined not by our genes, but by what we do every day.
After searching for common denominators among the five groups of people that Buettner found, he identified nine behaviors and habits.
While exercise for most people means FITBITs, treadmills, gyms, and calories burned, for those who live in Blue Zones, there is no such thing as exercise. Rather, these people find ways within their lives to increase movement.
The garden without power tools. They visit their friends on foot. They fish. They swim. They take long walks. They find their movement within their lives, not as an add on, or have to.
1. Have a Sense of Purpose?
A sense of purpose may not be something we stop and think about much, but for denizens of Blue Zones, it is something they don’t have to think about. Instead, it is a lived experience.
It is waking every day, working in the garden, growing their own food, raising happy children, helping their elders, cultivating friendships, and enjoying life.
These are the things that give life meaning, and make life better. And according to Buettner, knowing your sense of purpose adds seven years to your life expectancy.
In today’s fast-paced, time demanding, never enough world, it can be hard to slow down. But slowing down is equivalent to having more in the life expectancy department.
Why? Because when we reduce stress, we also reduce chronic inflammation, which is associated with every major age-related disease.
And what we can learn from those in the Blue Zones is that slowing down is not something we should do once we are already stressed. It is something we should do every day.
3. Use The 80% Rule
If you’ve ever eaten more than you should, you probably would appreciate the 80% rule.
The 80% rule is a simple guide that tells us that the time to stop eating is when our stomachs are 80% full.
By pushing the plate away and minding the 20% gap between being hungry and feeling too full, we not only open the door to weight loss, but follow a fundamental principle of those in the Blue Zones – food is to be enjoyed.
4. Eat A Plant-Based Diet
The best longevity foods are not meat and potatoes. They are leafy greens such as spinach, kale, beet and turnip tops, chard, and collards.
As Buettner points out, studies have found that middle-aged people who consumed the equivalent of a cup of cooked greens daily were half as likely to die in the next four years as those who ate no greens.
So put the meat aside (Buettner suggests limiting animal protein to one serving per day) and instead choose beans, yams, fruits, nuts, and seeds.
5. Drink Some Red Wine
You’ve heard that drinking red wine is good for your health, but it is also likely to add years to your life.
People in most Blue Zones drink one to three glasses of red wine per day.
Not only has red wine been found to help the system absorb plant-based antioxidants when shared with friends, it also reduces stress, which is good for overall health.
6. Know Where You Belong
Staying connected to family and community, and having a sense of belonging is an essential component of not just longevity but mental health.
As Daniel Dickerson, an associate research psychiatrist with UCLA’s Integrated Substance Abuse Programs points out, disconnection is a significant risk factor for substance abuse.
He explains, “The communal approach is what sustains people. And the opposite — being isolated or feeling left out, not being connected with your community or ethnic or racial support groups — leads more towards feeling disconnected, isolated, and being more prone toward depression and substance abuse.”
It can be so easy to trade time with family for an important work project, the lure of achievement, financial status, and material wealth.
But when we do this, we put a significant strain on our health, wellbeing, and our longevity. In one study, 1 in 3 people over the age of 45 reported being lonely.
Moreover, as the Blue Zones Project has found, feeling connected to loved ones has a positive impact on both life quality and life expectancy.
8. Have A Supportive Social Network
It sounds like a noble venture to create a community that honors, respects, and cares for its’ elders. Yet for those in the Blue Zones, it is simply the way life is.
Elders should be supported, helped, revered, and surrounded by love and kindness.
As Buettner explains, “The elders are very important for our families. They’re the people we learn from and where we get our wisdom.” And when we do, we not only extend our lives but theirs also.
9.Physically Active always
We must be physically active in day to day life with our regular works , Implement the formula 5 days on automation remaining 2 days in a week on manual, so, this 5-2 formula improves our health condition and life expectancy
Living a long happy life should not be determined solely by our genes.
By moving naturally, having a sense of purpose, slowing down, using the 80% rule, eating a plant-based diet, drinking some red wine, knowing where we belong, putting our loved ones first, and having a supportive social network, we can significantly increase our life expectancy. All these 9 tips explained about How to Live Long happily and healthily let's implement all these from today
Author Bio: Claire Nana, LMFT, is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who specializes in post-traumatic growth, optimal performance, and wellness. Shas written over thirty continuing education courses on a variety of topics from Nutrition and Mental Health, Wound Care, Post-Traumatic Growth, Motivation, Stigma.