The 10 Keys to living a long and happy life

You can add years to y ur life – happier, healthier and more rewarding years – by following 10 simple steps, say longevity experts.

Starting today you can begin to unlock the potential that lies within you to stretch your life span far beyond the average life expectancy of 75.

Here are the easy-to-follow recommendations:

1. Adopt a positive attitude. “A positive attitude reduces your susceptibility toward accident-proneness and certain stress-related diseases such as heart attacks and strokes,” declared aging expert Dr. John O’Brien. “Genetically, we are programmed to live to 120 or 125 years old. But our life expectancy is about 75 – the actual, average age of death,”

2. Be affectionate with those you love. They’ll return your affection and their hugs and kisses will help you live longer. “Touching – and by that I mean more than a peck on the cheek – is very important” says noted anthropologist Ashicy Montagu, author of the book Touching : The Human Significance of the Skin. “It can mean the difference between long life or an early death.”

3. Laugh loudly and often. “Humor can have a very powerfull impact on your health and life,” says psychiatrist Dr. Raymond Moody Jr. Laughter not only relieves stress and tension, but studies indicate it can also lengthen life, Dr. Moody said.

4. Get a good night’s sleep. Restful sleep allows the nervous system and the circuits in the brain to “cool dool down” and this helps prevent stress-related disease, said Dr. John Maddox.

5. Deal with unhealthy stress symptoms – such as fatigue, overeating, lingering colds, frequent headaches, backaches, sleeplessness and forgetfulness – by changing your lifestyle.

6. Frequently set new goals. But make sure they are realistic. For example, you could decide to learn how to draw or paint, or grow vegetables. “We all need a reason to get up in the morning,” says Dr. Leon Pastalan, a researcher of gerontology. “If you don’t have a reason to get up in the morning, it won’t be long before you won’t.”

7. Don’t dwell on minor ailments. Look upon sickness as something to be conquered, not a tool to manipulate people or a crutch to gain sympathy, advises Dr. Sanford Matthews.

8. Think and believe you really can live to a ripe old age. “We have to get rid of the notion that we will live to be only ‘three score and 10’ (or 70 years),” says Dr. Maddox. “We have to substitute the idea that the upper limit is 100plus.” If a person believes he’s meant to die at a certain age, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, the experts say.

9. Use relaxation techniques to recharge your mind and body. Tighten muscles in various parts of the body, then relax them. Breathe deeply. Close your eyes and try to clear your mind of worry and irritations.

10. Don’t live alone if you can help it. “Living alone is unhealthy,” says Dr. O’Brien. “There’s no one to share with, or to help you figure out problems.”



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