To live a long life full of happiness is a choice each person has to make. But is there a guarantee that a fulfilling life can be achieved? There are many things you can do to have a long, happy life, but some factors are outside your control. Your genes and the type of environment you live in also contribute to the overall quality of your life.
People living in urban areas are obsessed with keeping a healthy lifestyle and staying youthful. Despite the innovations of modern science to improve their lives, it is still the people living in remote areas of the world that seem to have the real secret to living longer. It seems that they have found the path to happiness and longevity.
In the book The Blue Zones, Dan Buettner writes about the 5 regions in the world that are occupied by the happiest people. These 5 regions are called “blue zones,“ which are mostly inhabited by centenarians.
Living to a hundred or more years in this world is not impossible. The centenarians of the blue zones are proof that attaining happiness and a good life is achievable. Here are their secrets:
Centenarians have mastered modest living. Modest living is reflected in healthy eating. The Japanese practice modest eating by taking in food until they are 80% full.
Don’t skip breakfast. It is considered the most important meal of the day. Eat your heaviest meal in the morning, a moderate one during lunch, and a light dinner in the evening.
Centenarians consume plenty of plant-based food, such as legumes, whole grains, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. Those who drink wine before going to bed are a step closer to living their happy lives. One glass of wine a day has been seen to relieve stress and is beneficial for the heart.
Staying active is as important as eating healthy. Being active doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend more time in the gym.
There are low-intensity activities that you can do to stay active. You can go on early morning walks every day with your dog, or tend your garden. Doing chores is also a form of moderate exercise.
Walking is a good form of exercise that can stabilize your blood pressure. Walking lowers your risk of developing heart problems and mental health-related problems.
If you are a smoker, seek help and quit as soon as you can. Smoking will never guarantee you a healthy and long life.
Eating healthy and exercising are not worthwhile activities if you don’t know why you want to live long in the first place. You should have an inspiration to get up every morning. Ask yourself why you wake up every morning and make this your life mission. Having a strong sense of purpose makes a big difference in improving your well-being and happiness.
Aside from knowing your purpose in life, you should also continue learning new things. Having a childlike curiosity is another secret to having a long and healthy life.
If you are reading this because you have access to the internet, you are most probably living in an industrialized city. Living in a city where all the buzz is happening can be very stressful. You could be living in a cramped apartment with no extra room to run around.
What can you do to lessen the stress you are feeling? Here are some tips:
- Do yoga or meditation at home.
- Practice deep breathing techniques.
- Drink plenty of clean water.
- Get enough sleep and rest.
- Be happy and laugh with your family and good friends.
- Do some stress-relieving hobbies like reading a good book, painting, and knitting.
- Life is not a race. Learn to take things slow while being productive.
Aside from engaging in stress-relieving activities, you could also take naps during the day. Taking naps will give your body and brain the chance to slow down and recover to function better.
Don’t be a workaholic. You need emotional connections from family and friends. Learn how to have a work-life balance and spend quality time with the people who matter most.
You need emotional stability. Surround yourself with individuals who will help you reach your life goals. Having a social life is a great stress reliever and could lessen your risk of acquiring any mental illness.
Faith and spirituality are the elixirs of longevity. Having a strong faith builds inner peace and allows you to accept life as it comes. You feel more joy despite the hardships because you know that these are fleeting. Your faith gives you hope and strength to face the challenges that life brings.
Can you have a happy and fulfilled life by being busy? Yes, you can!
Among all the countries with blue zones, the Okinawans of Japan have the highest life expectancy. The Japanese believe that staying active is the sure way to live a happier life for a long time. They believe that doing absolutely nothing doesn’t contribute to living a long life.
In Japan, they believe that everyone has an ikigai, which means a reason for living. This Japanese secret will give you a long, happy life. They believe that this is their reason, motivation, and inspiration for getting up every morning.
In America and other countries, the concept of retirement is common. Everyone in the workforce is hustling to reach their retirement by sacrificing family time and their personal health. They think that it is only during retirement that they can enjoy their lives.
Unfortunately, they develop a lot of medical illnesses upon reaching their retirement. Most of their pension money ends up being spent on health care and not on traveling the world or buying a vacation home.
In contrast, there is no Japanese word for retirement. Everyone in Japan regardless of age is eligible to apply for work.
The Japanese’s concept of ikigai allows them to enjoy life every day. They don’t have to wait until they grow old to enjoy life. Thus, having this mindset allowed them to have a long happy life.
To live a long life full of happiness is a choice that each person has to make. Is there a guarantee that a fulfilling life can be achieved? Having a long and happy life is not merely a personal responsibility.
Happiness isn’t always present in your life. There will be sad times, however, happiness is something we all long for and picture as a long term goal. The type of environment you belong to, as well as good genes can contribute to the overall state of your life.
How to Find Your Inner Ikigai
Finding your life’s purpose is not easy. For some, it could take years before they find their reason for living. In a positive light, if you desire to find your ikigai, you need to apply the following principles in your life:
- Japanese people put importance on the small details. They make sure they do their best in any task they are given. They devote time and effort to making quality output. They believe that the foundation should be built on solid ground and attention to the smallest detail is essential.
- You have to free yourself from worldly desires. You have to let go of your obsessions and practice self-acceptance. You should be happy for who you are and what you have achieved in life.
- You should build a strong harmonious relationship with the people around you. Try to avoid creating conflicts at home or in the workplace. You need them as part of your strong support system during difficult times.
- Find happiness in simple things. You should learn to be happy with simple things to be able to appreciate life. Practice finding happiness in a beautiful sunrise, the cool breeze, the chirping birds, or any ordinary thing that life offers.
- Live in the present. Positive changes happen when you focus on the present. Don’t look back or don’t look forward that you lose your balance. As a popular saying goes, “Today is a gift, that’s why it is called present.”
You can learn from those living in the blue zones. The secret is simple: live simply, find purpose, surround yourself with good people, eat in moderation, stay active, and have faith.
Don’t wait for your retirement to enjoy life. You have to enjoy it every single day.
You may have all the money from your retirement fund, but this won’t matter if you don’t have the energy to explore and travel. So where’s the fun in that?
Remember, you only live once. Don’t stress yourself and enjoy every waking moment of your life.
The secret is now out and it is time for you to take action. You need unbiased support to give you an honest perspective about your life’s purpose. Kentucky Counseling Center’s (KCC) counselors will aid you in finding out what is holding you back from achieving a healthy and happy life. Book an appointment now!