In the past couple of weeks, a major study has been written about and discussed by many major news and media outlets and publications, on the topic of life expectancy. The research was presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition in Boston and covered more than 700,000 records of US veterans who were enrolled in the Veterans Affairs Million Veteran Programme (link given later). The research suggested that 8 particular lifestyle changes could add more than 20 years to your life, they are as follows:
Get a good night’s sleep.
Be physically active.
Avoid binge drinking.
Be free from opioid addiction.
Have positive social relationships.
It is interesting for me as someone who works as a hypnotherapist and hypnotherapy teacher in the mental health field, that most of these can be directly helped with hypnotherapy. Here today though, I wanted to offer more focus on the areas that have evidence supporting them, that will add to life expectancy and are primarily a psychological approach.
When you’re young, you may believe you have plenty of time to leave your imprint on the world. Your entire life is still ahead of you, and your 80s feel like a very long time from now. You begin to consider how you want to live a long, fulfilling life as you get older and more mature. You want to travel to those far-off nations you’ve been wanting to see, attend your grandkids’ weddings, and spend as much time as you can in this wild, wonderful world.
Even if you have outstanding genes, living to be 100 is not a given. But the good news is that longevity is greatly determined by your lifestyle choices and behaviours. This means you can actually have a lot of control over how long you live. And regardless of your age, it’s never too late to start forming these healthy habits in order to live a long and fruitful life.
According to research, you might be able to prolong your life by making a few little lifestyle adjustments. Harvard researchers examined data from two significant ongoing cohort studies that compile nutrition, lifestyle, and medical data on more than 100,000 adults for a study that was published in the journal Circulation. They sought to learn how a variety of good lifestyle choices relate to a long life free of illness (also known as healthspan). The results were striking: people who practised all healthy behaviours lived longer by more than ten years than people who did not.
As we all know, stress plays a major role in people developing chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. According to a study conducted by the US Department of Veteran Affairs, not managing stress has a 22 percent death cost. Once you acknowledge stress as a role in your life, there are fortunately lots of strategies to learn to handle it. More importantly, exercise itself is a fantastic stress reliever.
Now we know it is easier said than done, and reducing stress in your life can be very challenging, but doing so can help you live longer. According to studies, prolonged stress can cause both men and women to die young. So spend a few minutes identifying the source of your stress. Do you blame your job for the added stress in your life? Think about how you can escape difficult circumstances. It’s a good idea to create coping mechanisms for stress. Daily meditation is one of the most common practises among people to do so.
2. Make Friends
Even if keeping to yourself can be more in line with your nature, it won’t help you live longer. Don’t worry! We are not telling you that you should never spend time alone. Just saying that being a little social can do you wonders when it comes to adding a few more years to your life. A study found that having just three social ties can double your lifespan.
This may sound insignificant, but as the researcher (in the main study cited at the beginning of this article) Xuan-Mai Nguyen put it, “Every little bit helps, whether you pick a physical activity or make sure you’re surrounded by positive social support.” You will experience less stress and may be less prone to use drugs if you feel more supported by others. In an ideal scenario, you might even enjoy your 7.5 hours of exercise while surrounded by friends or other gymgoers, which would increase your social support.
Make sure you are always in a community that is encouraging. You should try making new friends as soon as you arrive in a new location. It might take some work for you to widen your social circle because our society may be more individualistic than ever. You are capable of doing it.
3. Be With Your Partner
Do you know that being married can actually lengthen your life? This is because emotional connection and collaboration have positive effects. The cherry on top, having sex two to three times a week can improve your health in numerous ways and reduce stress.
Staying with a partner that loves you and cherishes you can do wonders for your health. When you know, you have someone to look after you, a shoulder to fall back on, it eases your stress and makes you feel so much better. Plus, being with your partner means that you are not alone so you don’t have to feel isolated and lonely. And the best thing about living with your better half is that fact that you pick up each other’s good habits, like eating healthy instead of eating junk and going on walks with them.
Being in a committed healthy relationship also gives you a sense of purpose and stability and it feels really good to know you have someone who truly cares about you. They become your biggest cheerleader in taking care of your health. Moreover, when you go through tough times, having that loving support can help you bounce back more quickly. All in all, having a loving partner cannot only add more love, joy, and laughter to your life, but it can also add a few more years to it.
However, it is important to note, if your relationship is toxic or extremely stressful, it can have the opposite impact and shorten your lifespan. So make sure you are in a healthy and happy relationship.
4. Sleep Better
Anyone can have trouble sleeping, and a fast-paced lifestyle and insomnia can both contribute to you having trouble falling asleep. After experiencing sleep deprivation for some time, you must have observed how it affects your health. It should come as no surprise that a lack of sleep might shorten your life. In actuality, sleeping 5-7 hours a night can up the chance of early mortality by 12%. Sleep is a crucial activity that allows the body and brain to rest and rejuvenate.
According to research, both insufficient and excessive sleep might be harmful to your health. Sleeping six hours or less or more than nine hours has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease-specific, cancer-specific, and all-cause death when compared to seven hours per day. Lack of sleep can increase inflammation and negatively affect hormone levels, which can have an adverse effect on health and shorten longevity.
According to the Sleep Foundation, consistent 7 to 9 hours each night were deemed to be good sleep. If you are concerned about sleep deprivation affecting the longevity of your life, try napping. Napping can be a terrific technique to supplement your nightly sleep because it can make you feel more relaxed, especially after nights when you find it difficult to get a complete eight hours. Read this article for more on this topic: The Science of Napping.
5. Be Grateful
Practising gratitude is a profound and transforming act that can change our lives in a variety of ways, possibly resulting in a longer and healthier life. People can reap a variety of advantages that have a good impact on their overall health, including both their physical and emotional wellbeing, by establishing a sincere sense of thankfulness.
By lowering stress levels, thankfulness can significantly increase life expectancy. Stress has emerged as a widespread element affecting the lives of many people in today’s fast-paced and frequently demanding society. Chronic stress is linked to a number of health concerns, including heart problems, immune system deterioration, and mental health disorders. But when we give thanks and concentrate on the good things in our lives, it helps us change our perspective and turn away from the worries. This shift in perspective may help to lessen stress and the damaging consequences it has on the body.
People who are grateful frequently express greater levels of happiness and life satisfaction. We gain a more optimistic view by noticing and appreciating the gifts in our lives. This optimistic outlook protects against mental health problems including despair and anxiety. Additionally, it strengthens emotional resilience, enabling people to deal with difficulties in life more flexibly and easily.
Studies have also shown that practising gratitude may reduce inflammatory indicators in the body. Numerous health issues, such as heart disease and other chronic illnesses, are linked to chronic inflammation. Gratitude may directly influence the promotion of better cardiovascular health, improving lifespan, by lowering inflammation.
Furthermore, those who are grateful are more likely to adopt healthy habits. We are more driven to take care of ourselves when we recognise the good things in our lives. People who are grateful are frequently more likely to exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, and abstain from dangerous behaviours like smoking or binge drinking.
Meditation can not only have a positive effect on your physcial well-being, but it can also do wonders for your mental, and emotional well-being. This can all work together to help us live longer and better lives.
One of the key advantages of meditation is stress reduction. Stress has become the most common problem impacting many people in today’s fast-paced and sometimes chaotic society. Numerous health concerns, including as cardiovascular troubles, reduced immune systems, and difficulties with one’s mental health, can be brought on by prolonged stress.
People can learn to cultivate a state of calmness and mental clarity by regular meditation practise, which aids in lowering the body’s stress reaction. The detrimental effects of long-term stress on the body may be lessened by meditation because it promotes mental clarity and a sense of inner serenity.
Additionally, meditation has been linked to better cardiovascular health. Meditation eases heart strain by triggering a relaxation response that lowers blood pressure and slows heart rate. As a result, there may be a decreased chance of having cardiovascular conditions like heart attacks and strokes. Additionally, this improved cardiovascular performance might aid in extending life.
Moreover, meditation may also have a favourable impact on the immune system. Chronic stress can impair the immune system, leaving people more vulnerable to illnesses and infections. But regular meditation practise has been connected to enhanced immune system performance. Meditation may improve the body’s capacity to fight off infections and illnesses by lowering stress hormones and encouraging a more balanced immune response, enhancing general health and maybe extending life.
7. Improve Your Quality of Life
A good quality of life includes a variety of variables that contribute to general well-being, enjoyment, and longevity. People build a foundation for improved health and a potentially longer lifetime when they prioritise and cultivate certain parts of their lives.
Through healthy lifestyle choices, a high quality of life can have a major impact on longevity. A high quality of life increases the likelihood that a person will develop healthy physical habits, such as eating a nutritious food, exercising frequently, and receiving enough restorative sleep. Making these healthy decisions can help people live longer by lowering their risk of acquiring chronic conditions including obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular issues.
Furthermore, effective stress management is frequently associated with a high quality of life. Chronic stress is harmful to the body and mind, affecting everything from immunological function to cardiovascular health. People who place a high priority on their health are more likely to develop good coping mechanisms for stress, such as mindfulness exercises, meditation, or relaxing hobbies and pastimes. People can improve their general health and possibly lengthen their lifetime by minimising stress.
Incorporating psychological practises in our daily lives can significantly improve our general health and wellbeing and can possibly add a few more years to our lives. By adopting a positive outlook and practising optimism, we can lower stress levels and strengthen our immune systems, which will improve our bodies’ resistance to infections and disease. Our ability to handle stress, strengthen our emotional resiliency, and support cardiovascular health can all be improved by practising mindfulness and meditation. Moreover, establishing a network of supporting relationships and forging strong social bonds to provide you a sense of purpose can also positively impact our mental and physical wellbeing.
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Likewise, if you’d like to learn more about self-hypnosis, understand the evidence based principles of it from a scientific perspective and learn how to apply it to many areas of your life while having fun and in a safe environment and have the opportunity to test everything you learn, then come and join me for my one day seminar which does all that and more, have a read here: The Science of Self-Hypnosis Seminar. Alternatively, go grab a copy of my Science of self-hypnosis book.