Would you Like to Know the Key to a Long and Happy Life? Let’s Take a Look at the Lifestyle of Supercentenarians
Supercentenarians are enigmatic in our society. Cigar swilling grandmas chock-full of pasta, bacon, and alcohol represent the dream of living forever. They promise a life without worry about health or slowing down or an early death. We will try to emulate their diets or exercise habits as each zone divulges their own secret to health, but it’s all circumstantial, and changes with each new “blue-zone” community found. Olive oil in Italy, or fish and rice in Japan.
With the huge environmental and diet differences in the supercentenarian communities, we have to look at lifestyle commonalities, rather than what is said, for the key to a very long and happy life.
But Seriously, Diet and Environment?
Whether it’s practicing an eight parts full diet or shoveling down wine, cheese, and pasta like the Sardinians, diet rules are widely variant from culture to culture. The environmental differences that are claimed to make the air itself ‘a breath of life’ are never consistent between supercentenarian areas (half of the blue zone in Okinawa smoked at some point in their life). There is one major consistency; the places people live the longest are the places that are the happiest and filled with people who are self-actualized within their own life.
Pockets of ageless elderly are around the globe, but some of the best-studied examples are Italians in Sardinia and the Okinawans in the southernmost prefecture of Japan. While the Japanese living in Okinawa tend to believe that their long lives are due to their eighty percent (or 8 parts) full diet of traditional Japanese food, the amazing aging in Sardinia eats pasta, meats, and coffee on a regular basis (the staples of a good Italian diet). They even indulge in wine and pecorino, sometimes daily! The main commonality between the two groups is the proximity to the ocean and enjoyment of life. Living a happy life is the biggest factor that supercentenarians around the word have in common.
Happiness Is A Cure
As it turns out the secret to living the longest life, is the same secret as living the best life. Find bliss. Living a long and happy life is about finding joy, long-term contentment. Some important parts of happiness long-term include stress-management, living with purpose, and actively engaging in society.
Stress Management is a Social Activity
Managing stress, living with a purpose, and actively engaging with people might seem like a strange collection of goals, but there are creative ways to kill all three birds with one stone. For some people, it might be a hobby group that gets them outside: metal detecting, clamming, or joining a walking club are all great ways to relieve stress with a social group. Plus, engaging with social groups is one of the best ways to prevent degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer’s, or Dementia, which might explain the blue zone’s remarkable lack of degenerative brain diseases. A vital part of wanting to hit a hundred is staying alive, active, and well enough to want to do so. While managing leisure time is an important slice of strain supervision, so we should think about taking ourselves in all the other aspects of life (including work).
While we may not have the most control at work, it’s silly to not focus on how increasing happiness in what takes up almost a third of our lives. Taking on the grand attempt of making work (or other employees) happy is a tough feat to undertake, but a worthwhile one if it means another twenty years tacked on the end of our lives and more enjoyment while we are here. Team building activities, morale boosters, and recognizing other employees are all awesome ways to encourage happiness at work, and make work more purposeful and social. Some fun ideas include starting a work bowling league or just recognizing those who do super amazing and being vocal about it. Don’t stress about it, stress is useless, and will cause damage that will shorten your life. Enjoy life and work.
Don’t treat old age like a goal. It’s not aiming for a hundred, it’s aiming for the best life for the foreseeable future, that includes the rest of today. Focusing goals on making time to have the happiest life ever. If that means a daily midnight cookie or three Miller High Lifes a day like the supercentenarian Agnes Fenton, as long it really creates joy, keep on doing it. I like wandering through my mornings like I don’t have anywhere to go, but that means waking up at 3 a.m. and eating ice-cream for breakfast. I do it because I enjoy it, it makes my day great, and it’s part of what makes me happy.
A bitter hundred and ten means nothing compared to twenty years of stress-free revelry. Even if living to a hundred isn’t in the genetic deck, living life is being filled with happiness; happiness just to see the sun, just to wake up, and live on more day of greatness is the best way to live to a hundred. That’s the secret of having a long and happy life, being happy, do what it takes to be stress-free and fulfilled in the long term.
Author Bio: Mary Grace lives in the beautiful Boise, Idaho. She loves hiking, skiing, and everything natural. Comment down below if you have any questions or comments. OR tweet her @marmygrace.