5 Habits That Help You Live Longer & Happier, According To Experts
As far as I know, there's no real fountain of youth out there in this wild, wide universe, and there's not exactly a way to live forever, either (at least in the particular body you're in right now — reincarnation could be real, you guys). But there are some habits that can help you live longer, and perhaps more importantly, help you live a happier, more fulfilling life. The good news is, it's actually pretty easy to work these habits into your daily routine.
Now, there aren't really any guaranteed happiness cure-alls that work for every single person, and when it comes to the length and quality of a life, nothing is certain, right? But listen: Making it past your 100th birthday — or actually, past your 105th birthday — might not be all that unrealistic. A new study published in the journal Science suggests that once you reach 105 years old, your chances of survival each day are 50/50. I know that probably sounds really dark at first blush, but hear me out: According to the research, "human death rates increase exponentially up to about age 80," then the rates start to decline, and once you reach 105 years old, those rates hit a plateau. So basically, if you can make it into your 100s, that's obviously already a huge accomplishment. But according to ScienceDaily, this study actually "challenges previous research that claims the human lifespan has a final cut-off point." Isn't that wild?
So listen, if you want to live until you're 105 — or even if you just want to live as happily as you can for however long you are here on this weird little planet — take some tips from the pros on how to take care of your mind, body, and spirit.
Never Say No To Mindful Movement
Even if that means getting up from your desk literally right this second and doing 10 jumping jacks or walking around the block, moving is just plain good for the body, and being sedentary most of the time is, well, not that good for the body. In fact, according to Carrie Schmitz, a senior manager at Ergotron who specializes in ergonomics research and office wellness, research has found strong links over the years between a sedentary lifestyle and an increased risk of death. "It is critical to find ways to move throughout the day to lower your risk of early mortality and the health risks that can lead to it," Schmitz tells Elite Daily. "Replacing one hour of sitting with low-level activity, like walking, can help reduce mortality."
Schmitz also cites a 2011 study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, which found, for every hour you sit, you might be slashing your overall life expectancy by nearly 22 minutes. So yeah, I think taking the stairs instead of the elevator next time is probably worth the effort, don't you?
Remember What You're Grateful For
According to happiness coach Susan Rose, a great way to "not only enjoy every day more, but to do it longer," she tells Elite Daily, is to cultivate a gratitude practice. "There are many ways to do this, but one that is good for framing the day is, first thing in the morning, to write a list of everything you’re grateful for."
Easier said than done? Perhaps, but if you can get yourself to jot down even one thing you're thankful for when you wake up in the morning (your dog, your closet full of cute clothes, the delicious mug of coffee waiting for you), imagine how much more positive your day will be from that point on and how much happier you'll feel. Plus, a 2011 study published by the National Academy of Sciences found that people who are happy usually live longer, so clearly, a little gratitude can go a long, long way.
Laugh Until It Hurts
That's right: Losing your sh*t over all of those inside jokes and cat memes might actually lengthen your time here on earth. According to Mark Occhipinti, Ph.D., ND., co-founder and CEO of American Fitness Professionals & Associates, this is because laughter helps lower both your blood pressure and your heart rate, and in the long run, this can technically help you live a longer, happier life. "Being happy circulates endorphins in the body, which not only make you feel better, but also act better," Occhipinti tells Elite Daily.
What's more, a 15-year Norwegian study published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine found that people with a sense of humor have a better chance of living a long, healthy life than those who don't laugh quite as much. In other words, don't you ever second-guess yourself again for sending "too many memes" to your BFF; you're actually doing her (and yourself) a huge favor.
Slather On The Sunscreen
According to Dr. Joshua Zuckerman, MD, FACS, a board-certified plastic surgeon in New York City, one simple, but often overlooked habit that could definitely help you live longer, is sunscreen application. "Even a handful of severe sunburns can increase your lifetime risk of skin cancer, which can be aggressive and require significant excision of tissue or cause death," Zuckerman tells Elite Daily. "Much of our cumulative exposure to UV radiation occurs during daily activities, including running errands or walking to work."
So yes, even if you spend the majority of your time inside, you're better safe than sorry when it comes to this one. Keep your SPF somewhere you'll always see it, like next to your toothbrush, so you'll never forget to lather up before you head out for the day.
Spend Time With The Ones You Love
"Make those weekly family get-togethers a priority — and try not to fight with your sister," Sheina Schochet, a mental health counselor based in New York, tells Elite Daily. In other words, don't forget to make time for the people you love and for those who love you. Because, believe it or not, that quality time might just extend your life: According to Harvard Health, a lack of strong, close relationships can increase your premature risk of death by as much as 50 percent.
When it comes down to it, these habits aren't necessarily about clocking in as many years on this planet as you can possibly get. It's about making the most of the time you do have, and creating as many amazing memories as possible while you have the chance to do so.