You may not be able to live forever, but you can live forever young.
Age is just a number - it's ok to defy it.
Researchers have found populations around the world with a larger percentage of healthy seniors, including a large number of centenarians (though some recent points that age in this area is self-reported and not easily verifiable due to lack of record keeping) who are happy, vital and relative healthy.
Whether or not everyone of these well-preserved seniors is truly as old as they say they are is not really the takeaway - at least not for LBVJ's.
Rather it's the attributes of their lifestyles which may be the most important part of a happier, healthier aging process.
And because so many of them reminded me of that Sunday feeling (you know the happy one, in the morning, not the later one, at the end of the day, when all you can think about is Monday), I thought a quick run-down would of these "pillars of longevity" would be a great way to start the day.
The Pillars of Longevity
A high rate of moderate physical activity - this means walking!
Make taking a walk (doesn't have to be a hike) a staple of Sunday morning. Maybe you can just head out your door, or maybe you need to seek out some local parks, or walking trails. If it's too cold to walk outside, maybe the local mall allows walkers in before it opens.
It goes without saying we're a very stressed out bunch of people. In some cases, you can reduce stress in your life (stay off social media, don't listen to the news constantly, get rid of toxic relationships) and sometimes we can't (like switching your job).
In cases where you can reduce stress, do it. In cases, where you can't, you can work on ways to mitigate it. Physical exercise, breathing exercises, mediation, even a short bout of yoga can help.
Eating real food
Say no to food - never. Say goodbye to junk food. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Eat simple proteins. The less processed the better. Cook more, order in less. Check out our great recipe for Delicious Harvest Soup.
Strong Connection to Family and Friends
Maybe it's time to bring back the concept of the Sunday dinner. Invite neighbors or friends for a simple potluck. Take time to have a coffee or tea with a friend - no networking allowed. Join or start a monthly club - book club, movie club or games club - and let that be the excuse for spending time together.
Take Joy in the daily things
Take a moment to enjoy the way the sun shines on the misty road, the color of the leaves, the stillness of mid-afternoon. Enjoy your afternoon coffee break. Just breathe. Here's more on how to practice mindfulness each and every day.
Optimistic Mind Set
Choose Happy. You can't be happy all of the time, but a lot of the time we can "choose happy." It might be a conscious effort to reframe a situation and find the positive.
Have a Purpose in Life
Yup, that's a big one and one of our favorites here at La Belle Vie Journal. Knowing why you're getting up and going everyday makes all the little annoyance in life just that - trivial. When you know that your job is a vehicle to provide financial security to your family then it's a lot easier to handle it's ups and downs. It doesn't define you, but it it has larger purpose in your life.
Healthy Habits - Including Sleep
Walking more, eating more whole foods, brushing your teeth, but don't forget sleep. Most people are getting way too little sleep. Too much on the to do list, another episode on Netflix, strolling through the socials, all take its toll.
While we can rarely change the time we get up each morning, we can control when we go to sleep. Try getting to bed earlier each night - even if it's just five minutes at a time.
Here are some things to do to help slip into sleep earlier:
Put the phone aside. Turn it on do not disturb and put it across the room. Or better yet, put it outside the bedroom.
Get an old fashioned alarm clock, or go for a fancier one that plays soothing music, to help you slip into sleep. As you lie in bed, run through a simple mediation/relaxation technique of breathing and focus on relaxing your body piece by piece.
Keep a pad of paper by your bed and scribble down any random thoughts or items for your to do list - and do them tomorrow.
Keep a book (yes, a paper one) by your bed. Read a a bit each night, then shut off the light and go to bed.
All these things add up - but don't stress about doing them all! That would be counterproductive. Take a moment and assess your life. Are you stressed out? Then focus on what is stressing you out and take action on it.
Missing a connection to family or friends? You don't have to start by hosting a big party. Maybe start by finding a local group at the library or community center you can join in.
Not sure where you're going in life - work on finding out more about yourself and discovering your true purpose(s).
That's it - go ahead and enjoy Sunday morning!