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Home Lifestyle 30 Things That Make People Live a Longer, Happier Life
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30 Things That Make People Live a Longer, Happier Life

ShannonMarch 21, 2019

The average lifespan for someone living in the United States is 78 years old. For a few lucky people with good genes and healthy habits, they can live to be over 100. Of course, there is so much more to life than the number of years you spend alive. It is perhaps even more important to have a high quality of life, instead of a long one, because none of us know how many years we have on this Earth. The secrets to longevity are not just about how you eat and exercise. It is also extremely important to make sure you are in a good mental state, and that you have the support you need. Here are a 30 tips and tricks that will help you live a longer happier life.

Laughing is amazing for your health. Credit: Shutterstock

30. Have A Good Sense of Humor

There’s a phrase that “happiness is the best medicine”, and it’s actually true. Laughter releases  endorphins and decreases the stress hormones in our bodies. These endorphins don’t just help to improve our mood. They also help to speed along the process of healing our bodies. So the next time you get sick, be sure to laugh, instead of focusing on the pain. And if you are down in the dumps, do not wallow in your stress and pain. Put on a funny movie, a video on YouTube, a Netflix comedy special, or anything else that you know is going to make you giggle.

You are never too old to learn something new. Credit: Shutterstock

29. Become a Lifelong Learner

No matter how old you are, you truly can learn something new everyday.  Studies have shown that people with a natural curiosity about the world around them will have higher quality of life, and it may also help you live longer. The good news is that you don’t have to pursue an expensive degree to accomplish this. Your local community center, library, and county college will most likely have plenty of free and affordable adult learning classes for you to choose from. Check out educational videos on YouTube like TodayIFoundOut or Biographics, where you can learn just about any subject that you would be interested in.

People with happy childhoods live longer as adults. Credit: Shutterstock

28. Have A Happy Childhood

None of us have control over the family we were born into, and we can’t exactly jump in a time machine to fix the past. However, Harvard University found that people who grew up in a stable, happy homes end up living longer lives. This may be due to better nutrition, but it also has a lot to do with mental health. While we cannot control who our parents are, this is valuable information worth mentioning.  If you grew up with a difficult childhood, it is important for you to find people in your life who love and care about you. Try your best to repair unresolved conflict about something that happened to you and your childhood. If some memories are especially difficult, you may want to consider going to therapy. Or, try to focus on happy memories from your past instead of dwelling on the negative ones.

Smoking is bad for your health, and it can also hurt the people around you. Credit: Shutterstock

27. Quit Smoking

No duh, right? If you smoke, your life expectancy is going to decrease by 10 years on average. Of course, some people will argue that a lot of it has to do with genetics, and they will point to examples of 100-year old men and women who still smoke a pack a day. But if you want to increase the likelihood that you will add more years to your life, it’s best to kick that smoking habit to the curb. It is also important to make sure you never smoke around children or babies, if you want to be sure that they do not grow up to have health issues. If quitting has been an issue for you in the past, consider vaping to help transition away from cigarettes.

Drinking too much beer is just as bad as smoking cigarettes. Credit: Shutterstock

26. Drink Less Alcohol

They say that drinking one glass of red wine a day is actually very good for your heart, and it decreases the risk of heart attacks and cardiovascular disease. However, most of us do not know when to stop at just one glass. According to The Guardian, drinking two glasses of wine will decrease your life expectancy by 30 minutes. Worth it? Probably. But, apparently, drinking a pint of beer is just as bad for your life expectancy as smoking one cigarette. If you know that drinking had become a daily or weekly habit in your life, try to find some healthier alternatives. Start drink sparkling water and grape juice, or find non-alcoholic beer.

People with college degrees are more likely to live longer. Credit: Shutterstock

25. Get A College Degree

I know what you’re thinking. How can a college degree make you live longer if student loans create so much stress? While it’s true that debt can add a lot of unhappiness to your life, it’s not all that different from the burden people feel from a mortgage or other forms of debt. In general, people who push themselves to get college degrees take care of themselves better than people who don’t. According to Harvard University, people who graduate from their school were equally as health at 80 years old compared to an underprivileged people who are 10 years younger than they are. This is most likely because people with college degrees are more likely to find a career that provides health care and a higher quality of life in general.

Enjoying the arts can increase your quality of life. Credit: Shutterstock

24. Enjoy the Arts

Part of living your life to the fullest is learning to enjoy the little things. If you have never been to an orchestra or a chamber choir performance, you are truly missing out on some of the most beautiful music that you will ever hear in your life. Whether it’s dancing, painting, or theater, all of these things can give you a lot of joy to witness all of the beauty of humanity. Watching artistic performances will truly help you appreciate life more and all that it offers. Once you become excited to see more, you are more likely to want to stick around longer.

Work can be a trigger for stress, but you should learn to cope. Credit: Shutterstock

23. Find Healthy Coping Mechanisms

Sometimes, when things go wrong, it is all too easy to point the fingers at others. However, as full grown adults, we really need to learn how to take responsibility for your own actions. This may sound like a lecture, but there are some people out there who need to hear it! Having healthy coping mechanisms really can increase your quality of life.  When we blame others for our problems, it causes a lot of anger and resentment to linger. This can raise our blood pressure, and generally ruin your whole day. However, if we learn how to cope with problems and take some amount of responsibility, we are able to grow from our mistakes and learn to deal with issues better next time.

Resiliency helps you get over serious problems in your life. Credit: Shutterstock

22. Learn To Have Resiliency

Some people have the natural ability to bounce back from their problems. Others have one tragedy happened to them, and they do not know how to deal with it. Sometimes we have to work on increasing our resiliency and become stronger people. If you can learn to be resilient, you will feel less stress in difficult situations. Managing stress is key to keeping your blood pressure low, and being able to stay calm during crisis. It will also reduce your risk of having a heart attack.

Even small gestures like making someone a meal is a huge act of generocity. Credit: Shutterstock

21. Practice Generosity

No man is an island. As human beings, we have always thrived when we are working together. So for someone who is selfish and only thinking of themselves, they are not going to survive as long as someone who is generous and thoughtful towards others. By getting in the habit of giving, we are building a network of people who will be grateful for our help. More often than not, these people will really appreciate your kind gesture, and want to return the favor.

You need 6 to 7 hours of sleep every night. Credit: Shutterstock

20. Sleep More

According to the Center of Disease Control, adults need to sleep for at least 7 hours a night. Other studies say 6 hours should be enough, but you should aim for somewhere in-between. They say that people who get less sleep are more likely to have high blood pressure or suffer from a heart attack. It also contributes to obesity and other serious health conditions. Sleeping more contributes to your happiness, too. Everyone knows how we feel upset and cranky when we haven’t gotten enough sleep. If you are having issues with insomnia, try to make some changes in your life. Make sure your room is at a comfortable temperature, and consider wearing a face mask or earplugs if lights and sounds are inhibiting your sleep.

Having great friends will help you live longer. Credit: Shutterstock

19. Maintain Good Personal Relationships

According to AARP, people who maintain friendships are 50% more likely to live longer than people who isolate themselves from society. Having people that are close to you and make you happy does a lot for your self-esteem and the quality of life. This is also true for relationship with your family. Most experts strongly suggest repairing broken relationships with your family. Facebook should never be a replacement for real-life interactions but, the same study also found that people who keep in touch with their friends online also see health benefits. (So long as you actually see them face-to-face, too.)

People who have sex on a regular basis actually live longer. Credit: Shutterstock

18. Have A Healthy Sex Life

Having a healthy intimate relationship obviously makes us happy. However, there are real physical benefits to having a good sex life. Your body will have a boost of endorphines, and orgasms boost your immune system to help fight off and prevent illnesses. Stress levels decrease, and blood pressure lowers, giving you an immediate sense of relief. It even decreases the chance that you will develop cancer or heart disease in the future. In terms of your mental state, having sex gives you a boost of self-esteem and will make you a more cheerful person over all. Last but not least, if you are making love with someone you deeply care about, you will have more reason to stick around longer and grow old together.

Married men live longer than bachelors. Credit: Shutterstock

17. Get Married (If You’re a Man).

There is a commonly held belief that you will live longer if you get married. This makes sense, because a life partner is there to help you “in sickness and in health”. There is a sense of both financial and emotional security. However, this can be a double-edged sword for several reasons. Statistically speaking, only married men live longer. Women, on the other hand live much longer if they remain single. And the real kicker? People who get divorced have a lower life span no matter what your gender is. But of course, all divorces begin with marriages. If you are already married, remember that maintaining a healthy relationship with your partner is key to your quality of life. 

Having babies can add at least a couple years to your lifespan. Credit: Shutterstock

16. Having Children

It is commonly said that having children will make you live longer, because they can make you feel young again. They remind us of all the wonderful things in the world that we enjoyed as kids, and it also gives us a reason to stick around to make sure we can be there for them as they grow. Plus, we can visit Disney World and amusement parks without being judged. Most studies recommend that grandparents should babysit their grandchildren as often as possible, because they will feel motivated to live longer to be there for the kids. However, according to Harvard University, the benefits of children may not be as drastic as you might imagine. For people age 60 and up, having children made them more likely to live 2 years longer than those who did not have kids. However, among the elderly who reach 80 years old, there is a much bigger gap, suggesting that they live 9 years longer.

If you are happy to get up in the morning and get your day started, you will have a higher quality of life. Credit: Shutterstock

15. Stay Motivated

There is an old phrase that says if you find a job you love, you will never work a day in your life. Studies show that people who are highly motivated and career-oriented tend to live longer compared to people who are not really enjoying their career.  If you enjoy your career and you’re looking forward to waking up every day it only makes sense that your life will have higher quality of life. There was a study that showed that many people die just a few years after retirement. This is only because these people have lost a sense of purpose or motivation. As long as you keep finding reasons to be productive, you will live a longer, happier life.

Drinking water can help you live longer. Credit: Shutterstock

14. Drink More Water

Your body is made up of mostly, water so it only makes sense that you should be drinking as much of it as possible. The daily recommended dose is 8 glasses a day, but most people have a very hard time achieving that goal, especially if your boss would frown upon taking frequent bathroom breaks during work hours! But if you get anywhere near 8 glasses, or if you make a simple effort to drink one or two glasses more of water per day, then you are already  making progress towards that goal. Drinking water is important for healthy kidneys and managing weight loss. It also helps to hydrate the skin and make you look younger.

A delicious fruit salad. Credit: Shutterstock

13. Eat Your Fruits and Vegetables

Everyone knows that fruits and vegetables are part of a healthy diet. So learning that you need to eat more produce in order to live longer is not rocket science. However, a surprising number of busy people forget to do this, or they make excuses. Vitamin C helps your body’s immune system fight off disease, so it is important to eat fruits like oranges and apples to keep the doctor away. According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who refuse to eat fruits and vegetables on a daily basis are 53% more likely to die sooner than they would have otherwise. If you are finding it difficult to afford produce every week, try to look for local farmer’s markets, where local people are selling their fruit and vegetables for half the price of what you find in a grocery store.

Maintaining a healhy weight will help increase your lifespan. Credit: Shutterstock

12. Shed Those Extra Pounds

We all know that it is important to maintain a healthy weight, but it is not just a way to boost your self-confidence. According to the National Institute of Health, extreme obesity can decrease life expectancy up to 14 years.  The definition of “extremely obese” is someone who needs to lose 100 pounds or more. That is like losing more than a year of your life for every 10 pounds that you are overweight. If it is difficult to lose weight, those extra years just may be enough motivation to get started on your next diet plan.

Being cautious and aware of your surroundings just might save your life. Credit: Shutterstock

11. Become More Cautious

You would think that happy-go-lucky people live longer. But the truth is a little more complicated than that. According to Dr. Howard Friedman from the Longevity Project, children who are very happy and naive are more likely to have an accident compared to kids who are a bit more shy, observant, and cautious. They do not always see potential dangers that may be coming around the corner. By having a healthy amount of cynicism or pessimism, we protect ourselves from potential things that may hurt us. However, once you are a full-grown adult, studies have shown that having a happy, positive outlook on life can increase your life expectancy by 35%.

Taking a walk is great for your health. Credit: Shutterstock

10. Take More Walks

Studies have shown that people who incorporate moderate exercises into their daily routine will result in a healthier lifestyle compared to someone who goes hard at the gym only one or two days a week. There are plenty of simple ways to incorporate more movement into your day, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Take more walks in the park, ride your bike, or go for a swim. But it is not enough just to slowly slosh your way down the sidewalk at a snail’s speed. If you are not injured, you should try to “power walk” as much as possible. Evidence suggests that someone who walks with a faster, brisk pace is more likely to live 10 years longer than someone who is dragging their feet.

Antibiotics treat infections, but it also changes your body negatively in other ways. Credit: Shutterstock

9. Take Fewer Antibiotics

There is a saying, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, and when it comes to building a healthy immune system, it is very true. Modern medicine is amazing, and we are not suggesting that you should skip going to the hospital or doctor. And sometimes, taking antibiotics is completely necessary to help your body fight off a life-threatening infection. However, there are some doctors over-prescribe antibiotics for infections that your body has the ability to fight on its own. It also messed with your gut biome, which is why most doctors recommend eating yogurt during your treatment. According to Medical News Today, women who are prescribed too many antibiotics throughout their lifetime are 27% more likely to die at a younger age. Antibiotics prevent your body from naturally learning how to fight off infection on its own. Therefore, the next time an illness comes around, your body may not be prepared to fight it off.  

Having a dog or cat has been linked to a healthier lifestyle. Credit: Shutterstock

8. Adopt a Pet

Having a dog or cat decreases anxiety, depression, and stress levels. If you have a dog, you will also take more walks, because your furry friend will want to get outside. There have also been plenty of stories of dogs and cats running to find help when their owner has fallen or is having a heart attack. If you live alone, it is especially important to have a pet with you so that you do not feel as lonely. Pets provide love and companionship, even in the worst of times. 

Meditating or praying has been known to improve your quality of life. Credit: Shutterstock

7. Get In Touch With Your Spiritual Side

According to AARP, people who go to church add 4 to 14 years to their overall life expectancy.  This may have more to do with the fact that if you are apart of a religion, it also ties you to a supportive Community. So, if you are agnostic or atheist, it may be possible to get the same benefits from joining a local club. But no matter what your belief system may be, it’s good to check in on your inner self. It may give you more hope for your life and the future. Consider meditating or taking the time to get in touch with your inner soul.

Reading helps to keep your mind sharp. Credit: Shutterstock

6. Read More Books

Reading for at least a half an hour a day has been shown to help you to think clearly as you age. Books make our minds more empathetic, rational, creative, and it can also help you think more clearly. Studies have shown that it can even prevent mental illnesses like Dementia. Taking time to read is also a form of “self care”, because you are forgetting about your personal problems in order to sit or lay down and focus your mind on something else. Reading books and magazines may not help you live longer but it will give you a higher quality of life.

If you want to live longer, visit your doctor. Credit: Shutterstock

5. Go to the Doctor for Regular Checkups

Going to the doctor can be scary sometimes, and a lot of people avoid going unless there is something truly wrong. However, it’s totally find to go just for a wellness visit, especially after the age of 30. Many times, a serious health condition like cancer can be caught early before it becomes life threatening. Your doctor will also be able to make personal recommendations for what you can do to improve your lifespan. 

A reliable vehicle will help you drive safely. Credit: Shutterstock

4. Get A Reliable Car

It’s no secret that people die in car accidents every single day. We cannot avoid running into bad luck, and we cannot stop the actions of other drivers. But there are some accidents that could have been prevented if both cars had regular maintenance, especially with good brakes or visibility.  You also want to make sure the car has automatic locks and an airbag system. We are not trying to suggest that you should go blow your life savings on a brand new luxury vehicle, but holding on to the same car for  years for the sake of saving money just maybe a contributor to an early death.

Check your home to make sure it is as safe was possible. Credit: Shutterstock

3. Do a Home Safety Check

A surprising number of people become injured in their own homes, especially as they get older. Most of these accidents could have been prevented. The Center of Disease Control has a guide for a home safety check. This is especially important for an older person living alone. You would be shocked to know how many accidents happen from simple things like slipping on a throw rug, or missing a step in a dark stairwell. Go through the checklist with your loved ones in order to make sure everyone stays safe.

Be careful to avoid foods that you are allergic to. Credit: Shutterstock

2. Be Careful of Food Allergies

According to the Center of Disease Control, 3,000 people die every year because of a food allergy. If you are allergic to peanuts or shellfish, you probably already know that it is an issue, because you are likely to have had a violent reaction at some point in your life. However, allergies change as we age. So you may be allergic to foods that you have never tried before or have avoided eating for years, and would therefore have no idea that it would cause an issue. Consider going to the doctor to get an allergy test just to be safe. If you truly are deathly allergic to something, you will be prescribed an EpiPen to carry with you in case of emergencies. 

You should keep essentials in your house just in case of an emergency. Credit: Shutterstock

1. Be Prepared For An Emergency

There are some people out there who have not participated in a fire drill since they were in elementary school, and they are lucky to have never gone through a natural disaster. Even if you live in a relatively safe area, you truly never know when disaster may strike. It is actually very important to have a plan of what to do in case of an emergency. Make sure you have fire detectors and extinguishers in your kitchen. Keep around some extra blankets, candles, and bottled water in case of a power outage. Buy non-perishable foods, and come up with a potential meal plan. If you are not sure how to prepare for a natural disaster, check out Ready.gov for a detailed guide.

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