How to Live Longer and Feel Better — Life-Changing Tips
The quest for eternal youth and immortality spans thousands of years. From the fountain of youth and the philosopher’s stone to our modern age-defying lotions, potions and surgeries — as a species, we seem to be hell-bent on living longer and feeling better.
There are no magical elixirs or surgeries that can truly deliver what we seek. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some life-changing tips that can help you to live longer and feel better. We believe in a holistic approach — one that doesn’t focus on individual wrinkles but the wellbeing of the mind, body, soul.
In this post, we’ll show you how to create your own life-enhancing methods.
Mind: A Clear Head and Happy Life
Rudyard Kipling once wrote, “If you can keep your head when all about you / Are losing theirs / … / Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it” — and he sure was right. To live our longest, fullest and happiest life, we have to take time to focus on our mental health and clarity. We live in a mad world full of stresses and strains, competing priorities and overwhelming possibilities — and we’re suffering all the more of it.
People have never been more stressed. Whether it’s worrying over money, family and work or just general feelings of anxiety and insecurity, it seems that we’re living during a time of heightened anxiety and mental distress. The worst part? Stress not only seriously limits our enjoyment of life, but it also leads to a whole host of nasty health implications, including heart disease, stroke, obesity, high blood pressure, cancer and a range of emotional disturbances.
But did you know that stress can also speed up the ageing process? In a recent study, scientists discovered that women who suffered high levels of stress had lower levels of a hormone called klotho, which regulates how quickly our bodies age.
Stress is impossible to avoid, and it’s not always possible to “keep your head” when things get tough at work or home. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t ways to ease its effects and make day-to-day life easier to manage.
Meditation is an ancient practice that has been scientifically proven to help you to live a longer, happier life. By reducing stress, promoting relaxation and boosting focus, concentration and memory, meditation has a broad range of benefits. Ever noticed how glowing, calm and restored you feel after a meditation session? Well, that feeling of tranquillity is something that can be sustained throughout your life. Regular meditation practice can help to reduce cortisol levels so you feel less stressed, anxious and depressed. It can also help to keep you youthful. A recent study from the University of California discovered that a three-month stay at a meditation retreat increased the number of anti-ageing enzymes in the body of participants by an incredible 30%.
Meditation also teaches you to stay present and grounded. It provides techniques and tools for taking stock of how you’re feeling in the present moment, focusing your mind, and experiencing everything that the world has to offer so that you can embrace everything that's wonderful about the incredible world around us.
Incorporate a little meditation into your daily life. Start small, perhaps with just three to five minutes of calm reflection where you sit quietly and tap into the rhythm of your breath. It may seem tricky at first, but over time, you will become more comfortable with the process. And even this small daily practice will give you greater clarity, less stress and may even extend your life!
Browse our range of meditation and mindfulness practitioners near you and learn the ancient art of letting go!
Body: A Strong and Supple Temple
We’ve all heard the cliche “your body is a temple.” Sure, it’s a little overstated by gym bros pumping iron and eating raw eggs, but it’s also true. We only have one body and one life. Think of your body not only as the structure that protects your soul but also as a material, living organism that plays a key role in your health and happiness. To live longer and feel better, it’s integral to look after your body.
We’re not going to go into tons of detail about how to eat well or exercise effectively — there’s already plenty of material out there and we’ve spoken in the past about the power of food. But we do want to make a case for one exercise form that has the power and potential to boost your health, enhance your happiness and extend your life — yoga.
Yoga is an ancient practice that first emerged in India. Comprising a series of poses, stretches and flows, yoga has only increased in popularity over time, and for good reason. Our bodies rely on a series of systems and structures that keep our bodies alive and kicking — and yoga just so happens to work wonders for them all!
Bones and Joints
Yoga keeps our bones and joints strong and prevents cartilage wear and tear, so you can keep moving and grooving well into the later years of your life. Yoga is also thought to improve bone density.
Yoga gets your blood pumping and flowing around your body, in turn bringing more oxygen to your cells and organs, while inversion poses help to reverse the blood flow from your lower body to your brain and heart. Further research also suggests that yoga can increase haemoglobin levels in the red blood cells to keep heart attacks and strokes at bay.
Digestive System and Immunity
The twisting and turning, inversions and flows seen in a typical yoga session help to drain the lymph system, which helps rid the body of toxic waste, infections and diseased cells. The soothing mind-body connection induced through yoga also helps to boost immunity, and that's not to mention the benefit it has on your digestion system — lowering your risk of colon cancer and digestive diseases.
Yoga is a holistic exercise system that focuses on mindful breathing to match movement to breath. This style of yogic breathing has been scientifically proven to improve lung function and increase the volume of breath and efficiency of exhalation. Regularly prescribed to those suffering from asthma, COPD and other such respiratory problems, a daily yoga practice can help anyone looking to breathe a little easier. After all, without breath, we cannot live.
Yoga has earned an unfair reputation over the past few years as a form of exercise reserved for the inhumanly flexible or the impossibly fit, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Yoga is suitable for everyone — regardless of your age, fitness level of experience.
<call to action> We have hundreds of yoga practitioners on our site offering a range of classes — we have something for everyone. We recommend attending a couple of classes to get a thorough understanding of the basics before incorporating some of the positions and poses you learn into your daily life. Not only will it keep your body supple and strong, but it will also develop your mind-body connection and help you to embrace the wonderful creation that is your body!
Soul: An Open and Loving Heart
Living your longest and happiest life isn’t just about taking personal steps to ensure your health and wellbeing. We’re a social species, and a need for the company of others and nurturing, supportive friendships are inscribed in our DNA. Friends help you to deal with the difficulties and strains in your life and offer a shoulder to cry on, a spot of light relief when the world seems dark and a reason to live and love.
When we think about sustaining our health and extending our lives, we often forget about how nourishing friendships can be for our souls. But research increasingly suggests that loneliness might be a silent killer and that living a lonely, solitary life can have a drastic effect on both how long we live and how well we live. Cultivate friendships with people who bring the best out of you, who make you feel lucky to be alive and, most of all, who make you laugh.
We always like to think of the power of laughter by referring to one of our favourite Mary Poppins songs — “I love to laugh”. In the film, Uncle Albert floats around on the ceiling, chuckling and guffawing while the children and Mary look up in disbelief. One by one, the laughter catches on until everyone is floating around in hysterics. It may be a silly scene from a kid’s movie, but it perfectly captures the incredible effect that laughing has on the soul. Laughter releases powerful chemicals in the brain that lift our mood and make us feel instantly happier and brighter — indeed, even weightless like poor old Uncle Albert. It’s the easiest, cheapest and most sociable way to unwind and relax and helps to forge strong bonds with the people we hold most dear to us.
Another key thing that we often forget or downplay when thinking about living a long life is the why. What drives us to live? Why do we want to stay on this earth? Finding a purpose is essential for getting the most out of our lives, and it can even help extend it. A study from researchers at University College London revealed that among over 9,000 people over the age of 65, those who had a clear and profound sense of purpose were 30% less likely to die prematurely. Purpose brings both clarity and happiness to our lives and keeps the fire for living burning well into our twilight years.
The key to living longer and feeling better is not about using lotions and potions that keep your skin looking unnaturally youthful or concoctions that promise to keep you the same over the years. It's about embracing everything that you are, and growing old both gracefully and gratefully and understanding what a privilege every day on the earth truly is. Take some time every day to take stock of all the things that make you happy, grateful or proud and take each day as it comes.