8 Habits You Should Adopt If You Want To Live Longer
Orandum est ut sit mens sana in corpore sano.
A man should pray for a healthy mind in a healthy body.
Best known as “mens sana in corpore sano,” this phrase was originally a line from Latin satirist and poet Juvenal’s collection of satirical poems. Later on, it became the motto of ancient games and continues to be popular among sports devotees all over the world. It stands for what being healthy really means–being well-rounded both intellectually and physically.
The word “healthy” is often associated with physical well-being. We often think of a healthy person as someone who is physically fit and is free from disease, but that’s not all there is to being healthy. A look back at the history of our evolution will reveal a link between our physical health and psychological well-being. Even people in the ancient times who had a career that involved intellectual skills required physical activity to be more resilient. The reason for this being, according to Psychology Today, physical activity clears the cobwebs from the mind and makes a person more creative.
A study by Yale University psychologist Becca Levy also revealed another connection between a person’s attitude, personality, and perspectives in life with their health and lifespan. She found that our personality, attitude toward aging, and other psychosocial variables might either lengthen or shorten our life and that our personality and attitude may affect our physical and mental abilities as we age. The result showed that people with more positive views of their own aging lived 7.6 years longer than people with more negative views. On another study, it was found that people who are extremely cheerful as children may die slightly younger than their less happy-go-lucky peers.
Being healthy is more than just being physically fit. It’s all about maintaining a positive attitude and mindset as well. Here are eight habits you can adopt for a healthy mind in a healthy body.
Engage in physical activities daily
Physical activities have many benefits, the most common being the development of strong resistance to life-threatening diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. But did you know that physical activity affects the brain positively as well? Heidi Godman, executive editor of Harvard Health Letter writes that exercise changes the brain in ways that protect memory and thinking skills.
Studies have found that aerobic exercise–the kind that makes you sweat and gets your heart pumping–is the most effective in helping memory and thinking. It works by boosting the size of the hippocampus, the brain area involved in verbal memory and learning. It also works indirectly by improving mood and sleep, therefore reducing stress and anxiety–two factors that contribute to cognitive impairment.
Experts say half an hour of moderate physical activity most days of the week or 150 minutes a week is required to improve memory. Walking is usually the most common and easiest form of exercise available, but other aerobic and moderate-intensity exercises such as swimming, tennis, dancing, and anything else that will make you sweat and get your heart pumping will do wonders for your mind too.
Work your brain regularly
Curiosity is an essential part of our development as human beings. Without questioning the things around us, how else are we supposed to grow morally, intellectually, and socially? We don’t stop learning things the moment we get out of school. It shouldn’t be limited to the things we already know either. Our quest for more knowledge should continue as long as we live. A curious mind can relate and connect ideas better. Philip Dow wrote in his book, Virtuous Minds, that we can develop this trait by committing to take 10 minutes a day to investigate a topic we’re interested in but we haven’t taken the time yet to explore.
Introduce new information to your brain on a regular basis. Don’t just stick to what you already know and believe. It helps to keep an open mind about things. Challenge your mind with activities that will get you thinking, such as crossword puzzles, or trying activities you’re bad at. An effective method that encourages deep thinking and will help you organize your thoughts is blogging. It will help you connect ideas and communicate better.
Get your creative juices flowing
Creativity is also another important trait that improves our mental and emotion well-being. When we immerse ourselves in creative activities such as drawing or knitting, we experience being “in the zone,” which has similar effects with meditation. It allows us to let go of the stress and anxiety fogging our brain, allowing us to have mental clarity and reducing our risk for numerous chronic diseases that are associated with high stress levels such as depression and heart disease.
The repeated practices involved in making art also increases activity in the brain, which increases dendrites and synaptic activity, thickening brain gray matter and resulting in heavier brains. Heavier brains are believed to be less vulnerable to neurogenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and can compensate for brain injury. Engaging in creative activities also come with opportunities to bond with people of the same interest, and social interactions like that contribute to well-being and quality of life.
Create and take care of close relationships
Various studies have found a strong link between healthy relationships and people’s health and well-being. Medical studies have found that people who have a strong social network tend to live longer, have a heart and blood pressure that respond better to stress, and have enhanced immune systems. When we surround ourselves with positive and supportive people, we are generally happier and we are more inclined to develop healthy habits.
Surround yourself with people who will keep you positive, motivate you to be healthier, and will be there to help you deal with stress. You are as healthy as the people you surround yourself with. Simply having these people in your life is not enough. Relationships require effort. You can’t expect to stay friends with someone you don’t make an effort to communicate with. Keep the lines open. If you suffer from mental issues such as depression, anxiety, or low self-esteem, go to a professional rightaway. These mental issues tend to change a person, and if you don’t do something about it, it can affect your relationships negatively.
Find someone to look up to
The people we look up to tend to have the most influence over our lives. When we grew up naïve and innocent about the world around us, most of us have looked up to our parents and adopted their qualities and beliefs as our own. Now, we’re able to make our own decisions and we’re in the right mind to choose our own role models in life, and it’s a crucial decision because whoever we choose will influence our beliefs and values the most.
What happens in your life is still up to you, but having someone to look up to will help motivate you in whatever you do. Don’t pick someone just because they’re attractive, but because they uphold the morals and values that you want to adopt and apply in your life–someone that will make you want to stick to your healthy habits and keep you going when you want to give up. Pick someone that makes you want to be a better person.
Maintain positive energy balance
Energy balance, according to precissionnutrition.com, is the relationship between “energy in” or the food calories taken into the body through food and drink and “energy out” or calories being used in the body for our daily energy requirements. Maintaining a positive energy balance is important because it affects everything from our metabolism to our hormonal balance and mood. A negative energy balance can lead to a decline in metabolism and inability to concentrate and can eventually result in our bodies being prone to sickness and diseases.
It’s important to always watch what we eat, how much we eat, and make sure to perform enough physical activities to make up for all that goes into our body. Make sure to eat at regular intervals throughout the day, get enough exercise throughout the week, sleep 7-9 hours every night and stay consistent you’re your healthy habits.
We human beings tend to always want more, despite already acquiring what we originally wanted to have. We can have all the money in the world, the dream job, the dream house, and the perfect family, but we will always find ourselves wanting something more or something different. Although we’re basically hardwired to be this way and constantly craving for things will always be in our nature, it can be harmful when it comes to a point where it affects our well-being. When you constantly compare what you have with what others have or worry about not having what you want, you will only end up getting stressed and become a generally unhappy person.
It’s not wrong to want things, but sometimes our inability to be satisfied is what keeps us from being happy. For us to achieve true happiness, we have to learn be contented with what we have. Imagine how liberating it would be to free yourself from the clutches of worldly things that are keeping you from achieving true happiness.
Believe in yourself
Sometimes, the only person getting in the way of your success is yourself. You can’t make a change if you doubt yourself in the first place. For you to actually start doing something that would work for the long-term, learn to appreciate and accept yourself and your body. You know yourself better than anyone else. Identify your triggers–what makes you break out from your habits? Accept them, but consider methods you could implement to avoid them.
Review your daily habits and make an effort to improve on them or change them. Stop talking yourself down and just start doing it. Start by taking small steps and then develop a powerful mindset to make sure you stick to your habits for the long haul. Most importantly, make the change for yourself, not for anyone else. You’ll be more motivated when you’re doing it for your own happiness.
Our time here on earth is limited, and we can never tell for sure how long we’ll be staying. There are things beyond our control, but there are also things that we can take into our own hands. How you treat your mind and your body is totally under your control. If you want to enjoy a long, healthy life, start adopting these habits that will do you good in the long run.