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.

What Are the Key Secrets to a Healthy and Happy Life?

In Buettner’s book The Blue Zones, there are 5 regions in the world that are occupied by the happiest people. These 5 regions are called Blue Zones. The Blue Zones are mostly inhabited by centenarians or one who has lived for over a hundred years old and they’re living proof that attaining happiness and a good life is achievable. Here are their secrets:

Eat In Moderation

For someone who has gone through so much and has lived for a hundred years, they have mastered the skill of modest living. Modest living is reflected in healthy eating. The Japanese practice modest eating by taking in food until they are 80% full.

They also don’t skip breakfast. It is considered the most important meal of the day. Eating more during breakfast, moderating meals during lunch, and light meals for dinner should be part of your daily habits.

Centenarians prefer plant-based food preferably 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 is proven to relieve stress and is beneficial for the heart.

Exercise and Staying Active

Staying active is as important as eating healthy. Being active doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to spend more time in the gym. There are other 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. These are what we call non-exercise activity thermogenesis or NEAT. Some errands we do in a day can be our form of exercise.

Maybe after reading this article, you would want to grab the mop and clean your house despite hating household chores. Doing chores is 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 helps lessen the risk of acquiring mental health-related problems.

Discover the Purpose of Your Existence

Eating healthy and exercising are not worthwhile activities if you don’t know why you want to live 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’s mission. Having a strong sense of purpose makes a big difference in improving your well-being and happiness. 

Reduce Stress

If you are reading this because you have access to the internet, most probably you are 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. You might be having FOMO or fear of missing out when you want to rest.

So 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 water
  • Get enough sleep and rest
  • Be happy and laugh with the company of family and good friends
  • Do some stress reliving 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.

Have a Social Life

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.

Pray and Believe (to those who practice spirituality)

The elixirs of your life are your faith and spirituality. 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 just the tests of life. Your faith gives you hope and strength to face the challenges that life brings.

How Can You Have a Long And  Healthy Life?

Can you have a happy and fulfilled life by being busy? Yes, you can! Among all the countries in the Blue Zones, the Okinawans of Japan have the highest percentage of 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 who is in the workforce is hustling to reach their retirement by sacrificing their family and 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 goes to their healthcare and not to their enjoyment.

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.

happy black woman smiling at the beach

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 pillars in your life:

  • Japanese people put importance on the small details. They make sure that 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 small 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. You should 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. You should be happy for 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. Just like what Master Oogway (Kung Fu Panda animated movie) said: “Today is a gift, that’s why it is called present”.

What’s the Secret to a Long and Happy Life?

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. You have to enjoy your life every single day. You may have all the money from your retirement fund, but 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. They can help and guide you on how to live a healthy and good life. Set an appointment now!

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