The answer to ‘why are we here’ has been asked so many times that it is simply becoming a mute point among most of us and from health, wealth and happiness surely, in the main, we can answer pretty much along the same lines.
Of course, once we can come up with some kind of rationale with regards to our life on earth then it’s up to us to get on with it and if you want to know the secret to living a long and happy life then you won’t be surprised to learn that money probably ain’t it.
Once we can move on from material goods and learn to accept other people for all their faults as well as understanding our own little idiosyncrasies then all that’s left to do is live our life and the ten points below certainly won’t do you any harm.License: Creative Commons image source
Having acquired an allotment at the grand old age of 40 I can now safely testify to the longer we spend outdoors with nature the better it will affect our health and well-being. Planting, weeding, cultivating and just enjoying the sounds of the garden are exactly what the doctor ordered especially if you can eat all that seasonal produce with none of those nasty added chemicals.
Far too many of us rely on cars, buses and trains to get to work or even get to the shops and the sooner you ditch tin can transport for two legs the better. A good walk a day is ideal for keeping the heart pumping and the mind active and although it may take a little longer to go about your day, patience is just part of enjoying the end of the journey.
Talking of life’s journey has to include actual travel at some point or another and no matter whether you’re considering embarking on your grand American adventures or simply contemplating a trip to the next county, travel broadens the mind and more than enliven the soul. Seeing new places, meeting new people and learning about new cultures – is there really much more to understanding ourselves and our place in the world?
You don’t have to have a partner to love life however, sometimes, it can certainly help. Just being in love with something is often all you need to keep your interest levels burning to full capacity and your mind and body focused and active. Model train sets, cherry pie or Renaissance art, whatever you’ve fallen in love with – carry on and throw caution to the breeze.
Where would the human race be if we couldn’t talk to each other? Staying happy and healthy means that we have to take at least a modicum of pleasure from communicating with other people and even if this means writing a letter, calling on the phone or cold calling a next door neighbour – we need to talk to enliven our senses and help us expand our own thoughts.
Never stopping learning is often cited as one of the greatest reasons to live longer and if you can imagine how many books, songs and films in existence then this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to our quest for knowledge. Visit art galleries, watch documentaries or join a new study class or group – the more we learn the less we know but then that’s life isn’t it.
If you’ve watched the Great British Bake Off or Nigella Lawson’s latest TV show then you’ll know that there’s a lot of passion involved with baking and cooking your own food. Buying a cook book from a charity shop couldn’t be easier or more affordable and once you’ve ticked off every one of the recipes then invite friends round for food and repeat until you’re supping soup through a straw together.
In the book The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying it’s often mentioned that Buddhism revolves around meditation and by stilling our mind and focusing our thoughts ready for death we can start to approach life with a modicum of confidence and certainly less fear. Meditating every day may seem like a lot of time and effort but, once you start, the benefits will stay with you forever and ever.
For many, physical longevity is the key to a happy and healthy life which basically means exercising for pleasure will help you live longer. This doesn’t require a daily trip to the gym or a couple of marathons a year but the adage: ‘a little and often’ will certainly have you living to a ripe old age, especially when combined with a healthy diet.
When we laugh, for whatever reason, we release endorphins that tell the brain that we’re happy. Also, the deep inhalation of oxygen kicks our vital organs and muscles into life and in so doing helps us relieve stress and help us to relax. Basically, if you haven’t had a laugh today then why not go and rent a funny film or go and visit a friend with a baby? If the key to a long life is happiness then surely laughter has to be the sound of the doorbell.
Chris has just turned 40, got himself an allotment and found himself with a wife and 2 kids – a long life is exactly what he’s hoping for to reap the rewards.