Friday, July 19, 2024

Habits for a Healthier, Happier Life

HomeHealthHabits for a Healthier, Happier Life

Instead of focusing on an outcome like “lose twenty pounds” or “exercise every day,” focus on acquiring life-enhancing new habits. “Living longer and feeling better is the sum of a few small easy choices you can incorporate into everyday life,” says Dan Buettner founder of Blue Zones.

He recommends being mindful of how we think, act and eat and including the actions noted below can add years to our lives. Don’t try all of the things below at one time. Choose a few, make them habits, and revisit when they’re part of your daily routine.

If your morning joe is filled with cream and sugar, then slowly weaning off the sugar and switching to a non-dairy milk is a new habit to take up.

Get a Dog

Furry friends like cats and dogs help with loneliness and companionship and happiness, but getting a dog also encourages people to walk often and regularly.

To avoid meal stuffing, use ten-inch plates.

To avoid meal stuffing, use ten-inch plates.

Eat More Beans and Pulses

Beans are the number one longevity food and a staple in all five blue zones regions.

Know and Nurture Your Purpose

Having a purpose in life is a proven link to living longer. “Embrace your ikigai,” as they say in Japan. “Ikigai” is your reason to get up every morning.

Create Downshifting, Stress-Relieving Habits

Chronic stress leads to inflammation and is the foundation for every age-related disease, including Alzheimer’s and dementia. As an alternative to downshifting at happy hour, try meditating.

Enjoy Wine at 5

Studies show moderate drinkers have a lower chance of mortality and an increased chance of maintaining cognitive abilities into old age.

Find a New Hobby or Join a Group

Get a new hobby or nurture one you already have by joining a meet-up or community group. It can be a book club, starting a garden, or a walking club.

Sit Down to Eat Meals with Family and Friends

The happiest kids in the world, Dutch children, sit down to eat breakfast with their family more regularly than any other kids in the world.

Get Enough Sleep

Do your best to always sleep 7.5 hours a night, which helps keep your immune system functioning at its best.

Move More

Moving naturally throughout the day — walking, gardening, doing housework.

Get Out, Every Day

Even if you work from home or are caring for young children or family members at home, make a point to get out as much as you can.

Eat More Veggies

Eating seven or more portions of fruit and veggies a day can lower your risk of premature death by a whopping 42 percent.

Eat Less Meat and Dairy

Study authors found that substituting 3 percent of daily calories from animal protein with plant protein was associated with a lower risk for death from all causes.

Nurture Your Religion or Spirituality

“People who pay attention to their spiritual side have lower rates of cardiovascular disease, depression, stress, and suicide, and their immune systems seem to work better .

Get Involved in Your Community

Join a local group or volunteer in your community.

Volunteer More

People who volunteer tend to lose weight, have lower rates of heart disease, and report higher levels of happiness. People who find meaningful ways to give back are also happier.

Make New Friends

Make a new happy friend — that’s one of the best things you can do to boost your happiness levels.

Enjoy Your Meals, But Stop Eating Before You’re Stuffed

Seniors in the blue zones region of Okinawa, Japan eat until they’re 80 percent full, a practice and phrase called hara hachi bu. This healthy practice of calorie restriction and mindful eating promotes health and longevity.

Make Sunday a Meal-Plan, Meal-Prep, & Meal-Making Day

Cook a big batch of something healthy that you can use for several lunches and dinners.

Sign up to be an Organ Donor

There isn’t a more powerful few minutes than signing to be an organ donor.

To learn more about the Blue Zones project, an international community movement focused on living longer and better, visit bluezones.org.

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