Ways to Live Longer and Better

Life is beautiful to those who know how to enjoy it. Though life is temporary and short, it is possible to maximize the span of our existence by living healthy and savoring every moment of life. Yet, this is easier said than done as human nature has always been tuned to ‘Race for It’, as if there were no tomorrows.
How often do we stop to admire how green our garden looks? Or count the daily blessings showered on us? Instead, we waste precious moments to ruminate about ‘the other side of the grass being greener.’
Perhaps this is why the well known American lecturer and author, Dale Carnegie had said, “One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon-instead of enjoying the roses blooming outside our windows today.”
Before we completely miss the woods for the trees, it is time to halt in your tracks and question the direction in life. If enjoying life and living long is on your wish list, take your call with the following pointers.
Tips to have fun and live long
Control stress. Very few things age us faster than stress, especially chronic stress. Have you ever noticed how quickly presidents age while in office? We all have stress in our lives, and in small doses it can even be beneficial. But when stress is part of our everyday comings and goings, it begins to take its toll. While we will never eliminate stress, there are things we can do to reduce it — some included below.
10-ways-to-live-longer-and-better-300x195Slow down – get a bit out of pace 
In our jet setting lifestyle, the words ‘slow’ may seem a bit out of place. Doing only one thing at a time to consciously avoid multitasking lowers stress levels and reduces the risk of other lifestyle ailments. Getting out of pace when everybody has pressed the accelerator may seem inappropriate, yet that may be the best way to enjoy life and live long.
Manage your blood pressure
Hypertension is a very common problem in our society. High blood pressure can do real damage to your body and place you at increased risk for stroke and vascular disease. Think of your blood and its circulation through your body as plumbing in your house. If the water pressure gets too high it can burst a pipe — the equivalent of a stroke in your body. If it remains high all the time, it will place undue wear and tear on the pipes shortening their life — the equivalent of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) in your body.
The good news is that high blood pressure is controllable if recognized and managed properly. It is important to check your blood pressure regularly and keep it under good control. Diet, exercise and a healthy, low-salt diet can all help.
Smile more for an ‘out of the world’ experience
The ‘A’ appeal goes up several notches, if only we care to smile. Not only does smiling increase your attractiveness, it improves health by reducing stress. Smiling is contagious, making you more approachable. A simple smile can do wonders for our immune system. When you smile more, the benefits are innumerable.
Smiling enhances mood
Lowers blood pressure
Enhances release of ‘feel good’ hormones, endorphins
Reduces stress
Stimulates the release of serotonin to offset depression
Above all, it sets you in a positive frame of mind. 
Don’t smoke
This is pretty much a no-brainer. Almost all of us understand that smoking causes significant heart and lung disease. But did you know that it also accelerates aging, especially of the skin?
There is absolutely no doubt it will shorten your life and probably the lives of those around you who breathe in the second-hand smoke. If you do smoke and have been unsuccessful in quitting, don’t beat yourself up. Quitting smoking is one of the hardest things to do. So don’t give up. Most people who have been successful have required several attempts. Mark Twain once said, “Quitting smoking is one of the easiest things to do….and I should know, I’ve done it a thousand times.”
Learn to relax
We might feel like as if we carry the burden of the whole world on our shoulders. Instead of getting bogged down by our daily pressures, simply unwind by devoting 20 minutes each day to relax. Deep breathing exercises for 20 minutes brings about calm, lowers blood pressure and helps maintain a positive outlook throughout the day. It ensures we are in a better position to handle stress in the day.
Exercise your body
Move. Just move. If you want to keep your muscles and bones young, it means using them. Find an activity you enjoy. If you don’t enjoy the activity, you will not stay with it. If you hate running on a treadmill, don’t do it. If you love tennis, play tennis. It can even be just walking, but commit to doing it regularly. Move.
Exercise your brain
Your brain is amazing; your brain is you. It defines who you are. Your brain holds every memory and emotion of your life; it gives you the ability to laugh, cry, create, to appreciate art/music and even the capacity to love. Every effort should be made to keep your brain young and healthy. Aside from the other recommendations listed here, the best way to keep you brain healthy is to use it. Keep your brain challenged, especially with new things. Replace routine with new learning. Seek out new experiences. Your brain thrives on challenges and learning. So be a student for life.
Beauty sleep – Never sleep over this 
Those who consistently sleep less than 6 or 7 hours increase their risk of lifestyle diseases. Getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night keeps the heart healthy. Inadequate sleep increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Lack of sleep impacts the levels of certain chemicals in the brain, for instance serotonin. Deficiency of serotonin can increase the risk of depression.
Sleep well to –
Keep brain alert 
Reduce stress
Strengthen memory 
Be happy
Ward off depression 
Live long
Improve performance 
A power nap after lunch is highly recommended to lower stress levels and decrease the risk of heart disease.
Maintain close relationships
The hurt of loneliness and isolation goes beyond emotional pain — it is terrible for our health. It is so important to have others around us. Things, of course, change as we age — children move away, we sometimes lose friends. But we can go out and meet new people. Stay involved with others. Take classes. Volunteer. Take someone out to dinner at a new restaurant. Even get a pet. Studies have shown that people live longer and healthier with companionship. Many years ago I shared with my dad the fact that married people generally live longer than single people. He suggested humorously to me that when you’re married you don’t live longer — it just seems longer.
Develop a positive attitude
Positive attitude enhances a person’s desire to seek the joys of life. The positive attitude equips the body to fight diseases, by strengthening the immune system. Stress eves are lowered and along with this the risks of severe ailments come crashing. Life seems to be on a platter with a positive attitude.
Maintain good nutrition
Most of us know which foods are good and bad for us. The best advice about nutrition is not to make your self miserable eating foods you don’t like just to lose weight or stay healthy. Food is one of the basics joys of life. So eat the foods you love but be smart about portions. Most importantly, eat a varied diet that includes lots of vegetables and fruits. Most of us eat the same food over and over again. Be honest, when you go grocery shopping, aren’t you putting the same things in you cart each visit? Be adventurous. Try something new now and then. A varied diet is a healthy diet.
Work-life balance
Work is undoubtedly a significant part of our life, we work to earn our bread and butter, and enjoy a decent quality of life. Work boosts our self-esteem, giving us the invaluable sense of purpose.
Though work is a positive factor in our life, without which we can feel depressed and ill, yet overwork can upset the apple cart. Overwork increases stress and causes burn out. Stress can bring on a host of diseases- diabetes, heart disease, stroke and even depression.
Be spiritual
The 17th century philosopher, Pascal, once said, “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” Our body, mind and spirit need moments of quiet reflective peace — probably more so today than at any time. It can be prayer, meditation or just peaceful silence. The power of such moments should not be underestimated. They help to calm and comfort and clarify our busy lives.
“It is the silence between the notes that makes the music.” (Zen prophet)
So it looks like we can all expect to live a lot longer. Why not make that time count with the goal of quality and good health. Living long and living well is a choice — and it’s yours.
Develop hobbies
What is life without hobbies? Hobbies add a new dimension to mundane life. It brings to the fore hitherto undiscovered aspects of ones personality. It brings in a breath of fresh air by banishing monotony and boredom. Hobbies help elevate mood and create happiness.
“In the best of times, our days are numbered anyway. So it would be a crime against nature for any generation to take the world crisis so solemnly, that it put off enjoying those things for which we were designed in the 1st place: the opportunity to do good work, to enjoy friends, to fall in love, to hit a ball, and to bounce a baby.”- Alistair Cooke 
You live only once- live jolly to live well!