Sunday, May 23, 2010

7 Ways to Live Longer

1. Smile

Smiling is a great way to change your attitude, connect with people and give benefit to your body. Like relaxation, smiling can work to counteract the effects of stress. By forcing ourselves to smile, we "trick" our body into believing that everything is good, thereby reducing stress. Like a switch, smiling can actually change your mood. So put a smile on, even if you don't feel like it, and pretty soon you'll be smiling for real.

2. Relax
Relaxation is the opposite of stress. While stress brings harmful health effects, relaxation helps our bodies to rest, heal and function better. By practicing daily relaxation techniques, you can train yourself to turn off your stress and replace it with calm energy. This will improve your blood pressure, heart rate and ability to cope with life's challenges.

3. Make Exercise Play

Physical games and sports are a great way to keep both your body and mind healthy. Simple exercise routines are great for maintaining balance, flexibility, endurance and strength. Group games and sports can give your mind a workout as well, as you anticipate other people's actions and how to work together. Find a game and activity that suits your level of physical ability and play often.

4. Sleep

Sleep is an essential body function. Most Americans do not get enough sleep. Medications, stress, illness and poor sleep habits all can prevent you from getting between 7 and 9 hours a night. The health benefits of sleep include more energy, better immune function, and more.

5. Spend Time With Loved Ones

Relationships are an important part of health. Not only do strong bonds with other people mean you will have help when you need it, being connected also means protection from loneliness, depression, and mental illness. Spend time cultivating your relationships with friends and family to improve your health and your life.

6. Solve Puzzles and Play Brain Games

Mind games are a great way to stay involved and engaged in the world. Games can exercise different parts of your mind and entice your curiosity. If possible, choose social games like chess or bridge that exercise your brain while keeping you connected with others.

7. Be Positive

Having a positive attitude about aging can add more than seven years to your life, according to researchers. Avoid the cultural push to glorify youth and regret each passing year. Find ways to to pleasure in your increasing age and enjoy greater learning, experience, and control in your life.

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