- Have a Fantastic Attitude
- Eat Healthy
- Limit Alcohol
- Avoid Tobacco
- Exercise Regularly
- Exercise Your Brain
- Get Enough Sleep / Rest
- Take Care Of Your Skin
- Take Care Of Your Hair
- Pick Clothes That Flatter You
- Take Time Every Day To Become Quiet And Pray
- Love A Pet
- Spend Time With Your Loved Ones
- Visit Your Friends
- Laugh Often
Aging is as unavoidable as breathing. We’re all doing it every single day.
If we want to get a little technical and utterly morbid we can say we start aging the day we’re born. Let’s not be morbid. Let’s be those ‘glass half full’ type people and give this aging thing a run for its ‘money’.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve never played the victim game well. So Aging is going to have a heck of a time with me. He’s got his work cut out for him.
You too can make Aging’s life a little miserable and here’s how:
1. Have a Fantastic Attitude
Everything in life is just a little easier if you’re positive and enthusiastic. But what if you’re just not a happy person right now? Here are some things that you can do to help improve your attitude towards life.
- Realize that life or the universe doesn’t have it in for you. Good things happen to both good and bad people. In the same way, sometimes bad things happen to both good and bad people. We don’t always have control over what happens to us, but we can control how we react to what happens to us and we can create goals and work towards bettering our life circumstances. So go out there and kick some a$$.
- Take time every day to list all the things you have to be grateful for. Creating a mental gratitude list every morning is a great way to start your day.
- Say thank you every opportunity you get.
- According to several studies, facial expressions not only show what emotion you’re feeling, but you can actually change your emotional state by changing the expression on your face. Smiling, even a forced one, can make you feel better and it makes the people around you feel better too. You can literally change the environment around you one smile at a time. Try it out. Start smiling at random people at work or in the supermarket and wait for the reaction. Most people can’t help but smile back. Then take stock of how that makes you feel.
- Add some bounce to your step. Try listening to happy upbeat music while you’re walking and just see what a difference it makes to your stride and your mood. For extra credit, sing along to your fav happy song.
2. Eat Healthy
One of the biggest things you can do for your health is to choose a diet made up of fresh healthy foods. Include plants based foods, avoid foods laden with chemicals and sugar, and stick to moderate portions.
Does sugar make you age faster?
Simple carbs like those found in soda, white bread, and refined sugars causes your insulin levels to spike. Your body sees an insulin spike as something that needs to be fixed and in turn starts producing enzymes. These enzymes break down collagen and elastin, the very things responsible for keeping your skin firm and elastic. The short answer is: high sugar diets = premature aging and wrinkles.
Avoid processed foods.
Processed foods are low in nutrition, stripped of fiber and contain added chemicals and artificial ingredients that improve shelf life, but are harmful to your body. They often contain nitrates and trans fats which contribute to heart disease.
If you are going to eat meat, have more lean white meat (chicken and fish) and try and limit red meat to a few moderate portions a week. Avoid processed meats altogether if possible (bacon, ham, cold cuts like pepperoni, prosciutto, salami, and even beef jerkey).
Eating the occasional bacon and egg breakfast is not likely going to give you cancer, but regularly consuming foods that are classified as carcinogens might.
The Cancer Council recommends consuming no more than 65-100g of red meat 3-4 times a week.
What foods should you eat to keep you younger and healthier?
Choose a wide array of plant based foods that cover the whole color spectrum. Include foods and beverages that are natural antibiotics, natural anti-inflammatories and antioxidants like garlic, onions, raw local honey, ginger, echinacea, oregano and clove, leafy green vegetables, chai and flaxseeds, turmeric, berries, pineapple and extra virgin olive oil.
3. Limit Alcohol
Does Alcohol cause aging? According to the National Institute on Aging (NIH) an excessive amount of alcohol over a long period of time can lead to liver damage, brain damage, a weak immune system and even some forms of cancer. It can also worsen conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, ulcers and stroke as well as osteoporosis.
According to the NIH it also causes changes in the heart and blood vessels that can make it hard for doctors to identify other health problems.
The chemical compound Ethanol, more commonly known as Alcohol, can also cause premature facial lines, wrinkles and aging.
The liver is responsible for breaking down consumed alcohol, and that process creates highly toxic chemical by-products which cause inflammation throughout the body. The inflammation causes damage to the liver and kidneys, but it also affects skin on a cellular level.
Alcohol also contains high amounts of sugar which produces even more inflammation and that damages collagen and elastin, creating wrinkles and sagging skin.
Long term heavy drinking causes coronary heart disease, which affects circulation. Any loss of circulation to skin cells leads to deprivation of nutrients, oxygen and vitamins, which causes wrinkles and aging.
Some research suggests that small amounts of alcohol consumption may be beneficial, especially from drinking red wine. However, the beneficial compounds in red wine, like resveratrol, flavonoids, and antioxidants, can just as easily be consumed in non-alcoholic products such as grapes or red grape juice.
The lifespan of people with alcohol dependency problems is shortened by an average of 12 years. According to the Mayo clinic, it is best to drink alcohol in moderation, or not at all.
4. Avoid Tobacco
According to the Surgeon General more than 20 million Americans have died prematurely over the last 50 years because of smoking.
Smoke from tobacco contains over 4000 chemicals, and at least 70 of those are carcinogenic. Don’t assume you are safe just because you aren’t the one lighting up, as second hand smoke contains all the same dangerous chemicals, including hydrogen cyanide and benzene. If you are in the same room or area as smokers, you are at risk.
Smoking causes numerous diseases; cancer, copd, emphysema, cardiovascular disease, bone loss, gum disease, blindness, and more. On average, smokers die between 13 and 15 years earlier than their non-smoking counterparts.
Smoking is also terrible for your skin, as it drastically accelerates aging.
Smoker’s face is that weathered and wrinkly appearance characteristic of people who smoke tobacco products. Smoking causes the narrowing of blood vessels, which in turn causes wrinkles. With less blood flow, your skin is deprived of vitamins, nutrients, and oxygen, leading to premature aging. Not only that, but the chemicals found in tobacco damage the collagen and elastin in your skin, causing it to lose its elasticity.
Smoking also dries out your skin. A normal healthy skin cell is full and plump. Dried out, shriveled skin cells lead to lines and wrinkles. Think of a full balloon versus an old half deflated one.
What happens to your skin when you quit smoking?
Your circulation improves as soon as you stop smoking. Within a day of quitting, the carbon monoxide from tobacco will no longer be in your body and your oxygen levels will start returning to normal levels. Your starved skin cells will finally start getting more oxygen, vitamins, and nutrients, especially if you start eating a lot more fruits and vegetables and exercising. Previously dried out skin cells will become full and more plump again. Over time, your body will rid itself of the built up toxic chemicals and your skin will have a much healthier hue and complexion.
Most people who stop smoking wonder if they will see any skin improvement after quitting smoking. While you may not be able to reverse all the damage that’s been done, you can stop the smoking related aging process from progressing any further.
By removing tobacco and making healthy lifestyle and nutrition choices, you will optimize your skin health so that it looks as absolutely vibrant and healthy as possible.
5. Exercise Regularly
How does exercise help you age well?
- Regular exercise strengthens your muscles
As you repeatedly train muscles they become stronger and build up an endurance level. After you’ve been exercising for a few months you’ll realize that the things you found hard in the beginning has become easier. You can go longer before getting fatigued.
- Exercise Makes Your Heart Stronger and Improve Your Blood Pressure
The heart is also a muscle and as you train, your heart becomes stronger and more efficient. As your fitness levels increase your heart is able to pump more blood with every stroke, thus lowering your heartrate as well as your blood pressure.
- Regular Exercise Develops Increased Lung Capacity
Aerobic exercise keeps the lung muscles strong and teaches muscles to function more economically so that they need less oxygen to perform the same movement.
- Exercise improves mobility.
Balance is an essential part of mobility. By keeping your muscles and tendons strong and flexible you will not only improve you balance but also greatly reduce your risk of injuries. Plyometric exercise like bounding and jumping as well as stretching like Pilates and yoga is extremely important for maintaining your flexibility. In addition you might find that doing plyometric exercises may literally put the bounce back in your step by improving elasticity in tendons and ligaments.
- Exercise makes you happy.
Exercise releases hormones called endorphins that make you feel fantastic. Yes it might take a little while to get over the initial fatigue but as you get into better shape, you’ll find that a good workout leaves you with a glow that lasts for hours.
- It helps control weight.
Exercise burns calories and if combined with a healthy meal plan can help you reach and maintain a healthy bodyweight.
- It can help to prevent certain forms of cancers.
Exercise lowers the levels of estrogen in a woman’s blood and in this way reduce the risk of breast-cancer. Cancer patients are even advised by doctors to exercise as the increased blood flow appears to reduce the growth as well as the spread of tumors.
According to a study at the Yale School of Public Health women who regularly performs moderate to vigorous exercise for 2.5 hours a week or more, has 34% less chance of developing endometrial cancer. They also state that women with a BMI (body mass index) of 25 (this is considered overweight) who are sedentary has a 73% higher risk than active women with a healthy bodyweight.
The reduction in body fat percentage is a major biological factor in reducing risk.
High-intensity, strenuous exercise also reportedly reduces a women’s risk of developing colorectal, lung and ovarian as well as gastric cancer.
- It can lower blood sugar levels.
Exercise uses the glycogen in your blood and can so reduce the blood sugar levels. Blood sugar levels can stay low for as long as 8 hours after exercise.
You have to take care and monitor blood sugar levels if you have diabetes and are taking medication as exercise can let you blood sugar drop too low. In some cases strenuous exercise can also produce stress hormones that can cause sugar levels to rise.
- Improved fitness levels increase your energy levels.
Increased heart health, stronger muscles, better posture and better circulation means your body is turning into an efficient vessel. Combine this with those feel good hormones endorphins and your energy levels will drastically improve.
- Increased blood flow is good for your skin and gives you a nice healthy glow.
When you’re sweating during a vigorous workout pores get flushed. Make sure to wash you face right after your workout so your pores don’t just get clogged up again.
Vigorous exercise also causes increased blood flow in the small arteries in the skin which helps with cell regeneration and of course that beautiful natural glow.
- It can improve brain function and memory.
According to Dr. Scott McGinnis, a neurologist and instructor in neurology at Harvard Medical School studies suggest that people who exercise have bigger brains than those who don’t. It’s also important to note that it is specifically the regions that control thinking and memory that are bigger.
- Exercise helps improve sleep quality and helps you cope with stress.
Exercise tires you out while relieving stress and as a result you end up spending more time in the deep sleep phase which in turn helps reduce stress even more. The deep sleep phase is also where healing happens as it boosts your immune function.
- It can help relieve pain.
Exercise can relieve back, neck and sciatic pain caused by sitting behind a desk the whole day. Hormones (endorphins) released can also temporarily mask pain by raising your pain threshold.
- It can help improve your sex life.
Since endorphins from exercise helps your body manage stress it is also good for your libido. Stress can be a major libido inhibitor. Now combine endorphins with the other hormones your body produce as a result of exercise, testosterone and adrenaline and you have a good recipe for sexual arousal.
The older we get the more important it becomes to look at our fitness in a holistic way. When all you do is cycle or run for instance, you end up with a weak upper body. If you only lift weights your cardio health won’t be good. So it’s important to have a program that targets your entire body – lungs, heart, muscles (upper and lower body) and tendons (for flexibility).
Start with a light exercise program if you are not active right now, something like walking or yoga or calisthenics for beginners. If you’re already reasonably active, you can consider a moderate program.
6. Exercise Your Brain
Research shows that by exercising your brain you encourage new connections between the nerve cells and the formation of new cells. Incidentally all the factors that help to delay aging are also vital for brain health – physical exercise, a healthy diet, emotional well being, avoiding tobacco and alcohol etc.
According to Japanese neuroscientist Dr. Ryuta Kawashima, we can fend off the negative effects of aging on our mental capabilities by performing daily brain exercises. Dr. Kawashima’s research found that simple mathematical calculations (without a calculator), memory and counting tests, and reading out loud stimulated and improved mental clarity and cognitive ability.
The Dr. wrote a book and later created a game called Train Your Brain: 60 Days to a Better Brain to help people improve cognitive function. He used the proceeds of the book and game sales to fund further research and build research laboratories.
The Dr’s research has proven what we suspected all along; our brains need exercise as much as our muscles do.
So get your game on and try some mind puzzles, Sudoku, Chess and Scrabble. These are all fantastic games to keep your brain active and healthy.
Read books, not just stuff on the net. Read out loud to your kids or grandkids, or to the elderly. You could even join a speech club like Toastmasters. Learn a new skill or language. Try activities that engage the creative part of the brain as well like writing, drawing or painting.
An active brain is a healthy one.
7. Get Enough Sleep/Rest
How Does Screen Time Before Bed Influence Your Sleep?
- As we get older our bodies sometimes needs less sleep but they still need enough; so avoid things that could make it hard or impossible to sleep well.
- One of the biggest sleep thieves are screens – cell phone screens, tablet screens, computer or laptop screens and TV screens. Who doesn’t check their email or social media, maybe even the news before they go to bed these days?
- Screens emit a blue light that inhibits the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Melatonin controls your circadian rhythm or your sleep cycle, when you fall asleep and when you wake up. If your melatonin levels are low it means that you will have a harder time falling and staying asleep.
- Some cell phones now have an ‘eye comfort’ mode which you can automatically switch to at a certain time of the evening. This changes the screen from a blue tone to a warm tone so that melatonin levels are not inhibited.
- The best solution if at all possible is to switch all screens off at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
What Food Should You Avoid Before Bedtime?
- Avoid fatty and high sugar foods like pizza, cake, ice cream, chocolate and sugary cereals with can cause indigestion and acid reflux.
- If you find yourself waking up to use the bathroom at night, try to avoid diuretics like coffee, black and green tea, citrus fruit, cucumber, ginger, cranberries and cinnamon. Diuretics help to expel excess water from your body so if you’re going to have anything with diuretic properties it is best to have it earlier in the day.
- It may be more a case of what not to eat for most people than what to eat. Food allergies as well as nutrient deficiencies determine how you respond to food. Start making a note when you had a bad night, bothered with indigestion. What did you actually eat before bedtime and try and avoid those things.
- Ideally you don’t want to have any food 2-3 hours before bedtime.
What Should You Have To Eat or Drink Before Bedtime?
- If you’re going to have something try herbal teas like chamomile, lemon balm or lavender. Bananas, almonds, honey, oats and turkey are things you might want to consider as a bedtime snack.
- Some people find having a glass of warm milk before bedtime soothing. It was once thought that the tryptophan in milk made us sleepy. Turns out that there isn’t enough tryptophan in a glass of milk to do the job, but according to Drew Dawson, a sleep expert at Appleton Institute at Central Queensland University, drinking warm milk may help you fall asleep because it brings comforting memories of our childhood which helps us relax.
Create a bedtime routine.
- Nothing tells your body that it’s time to sleep like a bedtime routine. Pick 4 or 5 things to do every night before you go to bed. It could be as simple as drinking your favorite herbal tea, brush your teeth, spend 5 minutes planning the next day, read a 10-15 minute devotion and pray. If you do this every night your body will soon know exactly when it’s time to fall asleep.
Of course regular exercise will promote deep restful sleep. And there are other methods to help induce sleep. Many people use full body relaxation exercises and white noise to help them relax.
8. Take Care Of Your Skin
The sun is your friend and foe. While you need vitamin D, you also need to protect yourself against premature aging and skin cancer.
Should You Use Sunscreen Every Day To Prevent Aging?
- If you spend any amount of time outside during sunlight hours, whether it’s travelling, exercising or just walking in the garden, get that sunscreen out. To be most effective, sunscreen should be applied 20-30 minutes before you go into the sun.
- Pick a moisturizer that already contains sunscreen but make sure that if you’re training outside you use a sport specific sunscreen that can handle the sweat without easily coming off.
- Wear a hat when you’re outside and protect your face. Lines and wrinkles on your face. Premature aging. Need I say more?
- Sunglasses aren’t just a fashion accessory. It’s critical to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays. Sunglasses or tinted prescription glasses with proper UV protection are an absolute must when you’re out in the sun.
- Moisturise every day. Nothing makes your skin look dull and old like being dry.
- When Should You Avoid the Sun? Try to avoid direct exposure to the sun between 10am and 2pm when it’s at its hottest and UV index is at its highest. If you’re outside during these hours, ideally you’ll want to cover up with a long sleeved shirt and pants made with a comfortable light fabric. At the very least, sunscreen!
- As we grow older, less is often more when it comes to make-up, as thick makeup just make fine lines and wrinkles stand out even more.
- Watch a make-up tutorial. Check this one out here!
9. Take Care Of Your Hair
Think of your best hair day. That time you had the perfect color and a cut that matched your face and accentuated your style. Your hair was healthy, shiny, with just the right amount of volume. Have you had a great hair day recently? Awesome! Your hair game is on point so you can skip this next piece. But, if your last great hair day was…. a while ago, then read on. Maybe some of these tips can help.
As we get older, our life tends to get so busy that self-care time takes a back seat. Our hormones can go out of whack causing all kinds of problems, our hair gets thinner and easily frazzled, and then one day you look in the mirror and realize you haven’t had a good hair day for a long, long time. Your once lustrous youthful locks are dull, frayed, thin, graying, and frankly…. old looking.
So let’s spark some youth back into our hair game. Let’s start with length.
Long hair. As we age it can become more difficult to manage a long mane, as hair becomes thinner, more brittle and begins to gray. Many women say goodbye forever to their long locks once they reach their 40’s, but it doesn’t have to be so.
Choosing quality hair products becomes even more important as we get older, and there are numerous options that can keep your hair voluminous and shiny. If you are going to keep it long, make sure it is as healthy as possible. That may mean keeping the ends trimmed more frequently.
If you are like many women, and decide that it’s time to shorten things up, there are many options. Choosing a mid-length cut is still a flattering youthful look. Getting your stylist to include some soft layers will add volume, texture, and shape to match your facial structure. Color highlights and layers usually work great together for a more youthful look.
For those who want to go shorter yet, but can’t commit to a bob, we have the long bob, or the lob. It’s still long enough to put up or in a ponytail, but much less work than longer hair.
Even shorter is the bob. There are so many versions of the bob, that it’s hard to keep track, but that’s a good thing. If you have a rounder face, choose a bob style that’s has a more angular cut and keep it just a bit longer to frame your face with some length.
Next is the pixie cut, which is such a fun, playful look. It’s one of the easiest to maintain on a day to day basis, but your trips to the stylist will need to be a little more frequent, as it’s the cut that’s easiest to notice when it’s growing out.
Some of you have been blessed with natural waves and curls, while the rest of us need to spend hours to get our hair to look the same. But just as extra-long hair requires extra attention with hair products, so to do waves and curls. Some like to straighten out their wavy curly coifs, but I say, if you’ve got em’, rock ‘em!
Use caution when cutting your bangs. Bangs that are too short or straight across the forehead will create a sharp, rigid look. Generally, a softer look produces a younger appearance and bangs that are long enough to be swept to the side create a gentle feel. Longer bangs also have the advantage of covering forehead lines. If you prefer short bangs, keep them eyebrow length, and if you want a longer look they can hang to your lips.
Rock your silver locks
Why is it that some women look great with gray hair while others look old and frazzled?
The key to rocking your silver locks is to maintain extremely healthy hair and choose a cut that fits your face. Keep your hair-health nutrition on point, use hair products that keep it as healthy as possible, and trim it regularly to keep the ends looking sharp and neat.
If you’re starting to gray and are comfortable with the idea of transitioning to a silver coif there are great options. You can color your hair with semi-permanent highlights which blend well with the gray as well as your natural tones. A quality semi-permanent color also fades as your hair grows out so you maintain a more natural look between colors.
If you choose to keep the gray away, make sure to choose colors that match your natural skin tones. As we age, lighter shades give a more youthful appearance while shades that are too dark have the opposite effect.
10. Pick Clothes That Flatter You
Knowing what body shape you are and what clothes work better for you is a huge part of feeling and looking confident. Which areas of your body are your biggest assets? These are the areas that you want to accentuate. If you have a slender waist, that’s where you want to draw the eye and if you have really nice legs then you lead the eye there.
If you are self-conscious about your hips or waist or even the width of your shoulders you want to avoid horizontal lines and choose diagonals or verticals instead.
Here are a few simple rules that can make styling fun and easy.
- If you have lots of neutral colors in your closet, dress them up with something bold and colorful like a bright yellow handbag.
- Never show too much skin. Less is more here too. If you’re showing legs, keep your shoulders covered. If your shoulders are open, cover up those legs.
- Don’t be too stuck on what you think will and won’t work. Challenge yourself and always take one of those “that will probably look amazing on someone else” items with you into the fitting room. You never know, you might find a winner.
- Change your buttons. Jackets often come with cheaper buttons that give away the fact that you didn’t spend a fortune on it. Often all you need to do is put some better buttons on it and no one will be any wiser.
11. Take Time Every Day To Become Quiet And Pray
Pray for your family, your friends, your country but more than anything give thanks. According to Neuroscientist Dr. Andrew Newberg and therapist Mark Robert Waldman, 12 minutes of meditation a day might be enough to decelerate aging, while also reducing anxiety and stress.
People who regularly practice meditation and prayer have lower blood pressure, less anxiety, depression, and lower heart rates. Meditating on a loving God reduces depression and increases a sense of security, love, compassion and well being.
Regular prayer and meditation can permanently alter the way your brain functions and your perception of the world.
A study done by the National Institute of Health found that feelings of gratitude, grace, and acts of kindness stimulates our hypothalamus, releasing the feel good chemical dopamine. Healthy levels of dopamine lead to lowered pain levels, better sleep, reduced depression and anxiety, and an overall feeling of well being.
12. Love A Pet
Of all the health benefits of owning a pet, one of the biggest is the joy they bring to our lives.
Having another living being with its own unique personality that loves and accepts us unconditionally will warm your heart. They depend on us, and gleefully look forward to the moment we walk in the house. The excitement they have when you feed them, the trusting bond you develop with them when they fall asleep with their head on your lap, the sheer joy of play time. They become part of your family.
Several studies have shown that pet owners have better fitness levels. Pet owners have lower stress levels, lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure and are overall happier. Dog owners walk more. Children that grow up with furry friends are less likely to have asthma as adults. People with pets suffer less depression.
Of course, not everyone is in a position to own a pet. But you probably know someone who has a pet that loves it when company comes over. They love it even more when visitors pay attention to them and play.
And if that’s not possible, go onto Instagram and start looking up photos and videos of other peoples pets in all their cute glorious antics. I guarantee it will bring a smile to your face.
13. Spend Time with Your Loved Ones
Not everyone is blessed with a family, and not all families look the same. Some are fortunate to have a large extended family with healthy happy relationships. Some of us may only have one special person in our lives, and regardless of whether or not they are a blood relative, they are family.
Nurture those family relationships. Enjoy every second of your children’s lives. They grow up so fast and in a blink you will wonder where all the years went.
When your teenagers are driving you crazy, step back and notice how amazing it is that they are spreading their wings. They are on their way to becoming an incredible independent individual. One that you helped nurture, shape and form.
You are standing on the shoulders of giants! Your parents and grandparents paved the way for you. Take every opportunity to enjoy your time with them. Let them know how much they mean to you and that you have such gratitude for all they sacrificed for your life.
When your adult children are exhausted from life’s trials and they need to come ‘home’ for a weekend to recharge and reconnect, know that you’ve done it right. Pamper them like they are still the children who depend on you.
Your grandkids are an awesome blessing, so make sure you connect with them. They will bring tears of joy to your eyes.
Make sure your spouse knows that you love them. They need to know that you respect them and all they do. Don’t let life get in the way of your most important relationship. Treat your spouse with kindness and courtesy, regardless of what kind of day you’ve had. Don’t let a day go by without holding them and taking a few moments to look deep in their eyes.
Be supportive but don’t meddle. Because we are so close to our family members, it can be very easy to slip into the habit of telling other family members what they should or shouldn’t be doing with their lives. Don’t do that. Accept that we all have our own rituals and ways of doing things. It’s okay and healthy if we are different. Respect their boundaries and be firm about your own boundaries too.
There’s a bond within a healthy family that goes beyond any other relationship you will ever have. It’s precious, so precious.
14. Visit Your Friends
Spending time with good friends is important for your physical and mental health. Research shows friendships and socialization plays a very important role in overall health as we age. In fact, the positive health impact of having a strong social network is the equivalent of quitting smoking or exercising. Conversely, social isolation is associated with higher cortisol levels, poor health and early mortality.
Spend time doing fun, light-hearted activities with friends. Discover new places together. Volunteer if you can spare the time because few things feel as good as making a difference and really helping someone else in need. Doing things you enjoy with people close to you yields numerous health benefits, like lower blood pressure, less stress and anxiety, and a feeling of security.
Human physical contact is also important for our health. A hug from a friend can release the hormone oxytocin, which reduces anxiety, boosts the immune system, and just feels good.
A wide social network is great, but you don’t need a ton of friends to see the health benefits. One or two quality relationships are all that’s necessary. Good friends can help you cope with work stress, hear you out when you’re making important life decisions, having relationship problems, and assist you when you are sick. And being a shoulder for your friend to lean on will also give your own life more meaning and depth.
With today’s technology, it’s so much easier to stay connected with your friends.
15. Laugh Often
Think of some of the emotions attached to laughter. Joy, happiness, amusement, relief. Laughter can be an involuntary response to positive stimuli, and laughter can be contagious. Wow! Of all the reactions we have to life’s circumstances, is there anything as positive and enjoyable as a good eye squinting, inducing belly laugh?
The very act of smiling can bring a positive change to our mood and well being. Laughter ramps those positive emotions up exponentially.
Laughter boosts your immune system and improves your resistance to disease. It triggers the release of those feel-good hormones endorphins, which gives you a sense of well-being.
Watch comedies. Sit down with a teenager for half an hour and let them show you all the funniest memes on Instagram. You’re cheeks hurt from smiling so much. Read a funny book. Learn and share some hilarious jokes. Spend time around kids, their laughter can be infectious.
In the end we will all become older and hopefully wiser, but make the most of every moment you get and be a good steward of your health. We should all strive to have smile lines etched onto our faces by the time we reach our golden years. Fill your heart with so much joy that it overflows to every person you meet.