Do you want to live longer? Do you want a longer, healthier and happier life? If you are like me, the answer is yes and the question is how?

In doing some on line research, I have come up with a few ideas to make our lives longer, healthier and with a little effort, happier. It is really up to us, the way we look at life and our attitude toward life in general.

Granted heredity and genetics play an important part in our general makeup, along with our biological factors, but our lifestyle has a significant role, too.
What is it you want out of life and what are you willing to do to get it?

One of the most important things is attitude. Do you spend most of your time being optimistic or are you a doom in gloom person, the kind that always thinks the “glass is half empty” instead of half full?

Did you know according to a Yale University study, an optimistic attitude could increase your lift span by seven and one half years – even after taking into consideration your gender, socionomic status and physical health? Having a ”glass half full” attitude boosts your immune system and helps it battle the destructive effects of stress.

Along with attitude comes socialization, socializing with other people and having at least two good friends will help you live a longer and happier life. In this world of electronic communication, we tend to forget the importance of face to face contact.

We were designed to socialize, our creator deemed it a necessary part of our biological development. The knowledge that we are not alone in this world and the connection we feel with other people helps reduce our stress.

Having friends give us a reason to get up in the morning and a reason to leave the house. Having a friend to chat with, share a drink and just to have the feeling of a connection with another person, not only does wonders for your mental well being, but also improves your health.

Next to having a human as a good friend, people who have pets, also tend to live longer. Pets have been known to reduce our blood pressure and reduce our stress-hormone levels.
Dogs in particular are a great health-aide, as they need to be walked daily and walking is good for the dog and for you. Dogs also improve your social world. Going to the Dog Park brings you in contact with other dog owners giving you a chance to interact. Walking your dog often brings a chance to chat with someone that is walking his or her dog or is admiring yours,

A recent study shows that dog owners who have heart attacks are eight times more likely to survive the attack than people who do not have a dog. Why? For some reason their hearts handle stress better and that may be due to the fact, having a pet increases your mood-boosting hormones and reduces stress.

Did you know that if you quit smoking by the age of 35 years, you will add at least 8 more years to your life? Giving up smoking lowers your risk of heart attacks, lung cancer, chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

Exercise – which can be any activity that gets you off the couch for at least 30 minutes a day – walking, running, lifting weights, a trampoline or just going out and working in the garden will pay off.

Weight training a few times a week will do wonders for your bone structure and help you avoid osteoporosis. Our bones and muscles weaken with age and a little weight lifting can reverse the process, keeping you strong and well.

Losing the flab – you can add years to your life just by losing a few of those extra pounds. Those extra five pounds can raise your risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and other life-shortening ailments. Eating fewer carbohydrates and eating more protein, fruit and veggies, with exercise will help you lose those extra pounds and you will feel much more energetic. If you need to lose more, consult your physician or nutritionist for a diet plan.

Studies have shown that people who eat nuts (almond/walnuts) five or more times a week have half the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) caused by high levels of cholesterol, than those who eat them once a week or less.

It is said that those who eat nuts regularly will live longer, no matter what condition their body is in. The reason is, nuts have a high content of unsaturated fatty acids (the good fatty acid) and eating nuts regularly can reduce the levels of LDL cholesterol from five to fifteen percent. Eating nuts is also good for your skin, hair, blood pressure control, your immune system and helps with blood clotting.

Learn to relax, take a nap in the afternoon – of course most bosses will frown upon this idea, so the best bet is to take a “present nap” at lunch time. What is a present nap? It is time spent relaxing and changing the focus of your mind. It is a time to change the activity of your mind. You can use yoga, meditation, prayer, focus on your breathing, practice a mantra or listen to calming music with your eyes closed, you just need to do something to relax your body and your mind.

It has been proven that relaxing can alter the expression of the genes involved with such processes as inflammation, cell death and how the body handles free radicals. A little time spent thinking of “nothing” is full of many health benefits and relieves stress from the body and will increase your productivity during the rest of the day.

Moderate drinking of beer or wine is considered one to fourteen glasses per week. Red wine keeps turning up as the “drink of the day.” Why? Red wine contains a compound called “resveratrol,” which may limit tumor growth and potentially prevent cancer. It is also said to improve overall health and prevents age-related deterioration, but it does not prolong life.

Red wine is also high in flavonoids, a type of polyphenol and a vital antioxidant. The alcohol in the wine is also beneficial, because it may lower cholesterol absorption, so when paired with a burger and fries, it may make a significant dent in the calorie rich cholesterol.

These are just a few thoughts on how you can expand your life, stay healthier and with some effort on your part, find time to enjoy every minute you have been given.

Since we cannot find the fountain of youth that Ponce de Leon said was in the New World, we have to take charge of our own lives. This means we have in our control the means to lead a healthy, happy, longer life, if we pay attention to what the word “moderation” means.

Being healthy and happy does not mean denying ourselves anything, it means having the right to taste and try what we want, whenever we want, but not in an excessive way.

Life is here to be enjoyed, we need to take time to smell the roses, to feel and be loved, to expand our horizons and to live each day to the fullest.

You are in charge, you have the right of choice, and you have the ability, so go for it.

Author's Bio: 

Audrey is a 76 year young individual who lives and loves life to its fullest. Having raised six children and an unlimited number of pets, she is very involved in health, living and animals. She is currently the owner of and co-owner and writer for Audrey has written hundreds of articles on pets and health issues and has been published world wide. She currently has a new book on the market called So! You want to Get a Cat, this book is filled with great information not only for a new cat owner, but full of helpful ideas for people who have had cats for a long time.