15 Things You Should Never Do If You Want to Live a Longer Life
Whether you are in your 20’s or 70’s, there are a lot of things you can start doing today to increase your life span dramatically. There are also some things that you may be doing or are planning to start doing that can get in the way of these efforts.
Here is a list of 15 things you should never do if you want to live a long life.
1. Being defined by your genetics
Recent studies have shown that while genes are a factor in longevity, their influence is not as powerful as previously thought. A long life span in your family history does not guarantee that you will live long and vice versa. This is both good and bad news depending on your ancestry. Varying factors like environment and lifestyle play the most prominent role in determining how long you will live. Focus on these and make changes instead of focusing on genetics which you cannot control.
2. If you want to live a longer life, quit smoking
Everybody knows that smoking tobacco is bad for your health but what about cannabis, opium and other smokable drugs? It is a proven scientific fact that inhaling any type of smoke into your lungs is harmful to your longevity. It doesn’t matter if you “use a filter,” “bubble it through a bong,” “roll your own” or “only smoke natural.” Smoking increases your chances of contracting cancer, having a heart attack and of course dying prematurely.
3. Worrying about death constantly
Everybody dies eventually but being neurotic about it will get you there sooner. There is a world of difference between being diligent about your health and obsessing about it constantly. Phobia of disease and death is linked to anxiety, depression, anger and a tirade of other negative emotions that are bad for you. The reality of death should not terrify you but instead, make you more conscientious about your lifestyle choices.
4. Isolating yourself from family and friends
Isolation breeds loneliness and depression. If this doesn’t drive you to suicide, your broken heart will undoubtedly give in sooner than you’d expect. Prioritize time for one-on-one human connections. Connecting positively with people goes beyond social media. Quality-time with your family and friends keep you strong and happy which according to doctors is beneficial to your overall health. Always endeavor to re-engage with old friends and meet new people with shared interests.
5. Drinking less water than you should
“Water is life” is not just an idle phrase. Without enough of it, chemical and biological functions in the body are compromised. Health experts recommend drinking at least eight glasses or two liters of water a day to compensate for the water that the body loses. Of course, if your body is dehydrating faster than average for example due to physical exertion or drinking of alcohol, you should up your intake. Foods and other drinks contain water, but this should only supplement your recommended daily dose.
6. Believing that small changes don’t matter
Life is a journey, and every step of it matters. Radical changes can be scary or inspiring depending on whether they are positive or negative, but they are rare and do not last long. It is the small adjustments to your lifestyle whether positive or negative, that have more far-reaching consequences. Make small positive changes in your life and believe that they matter.
7. Eating a lot of processed foods
The added sugar present in processed foods is the leading cause of lifestyle diseases such as obesity, cancer, dementia and diabetes which eventually cause premature death. You can significantly improve your quality of life by cutting down on your sugar intake. Slowly substitute the processed foods in your diet with fresh fruit and vegetables.
8. Holding grudges
Holding on to anger and grudges has been likened to taking poison and hoping that the object of your resentment will die instead. In reality, it only hastens your mortality. Regardless of how justified your outrage is, find a way to let go and move on. You will be healthier for it.
9. Avoiding the doctor
A healthy lifestyle does not immunize you from disease, and neither does avoiding the doctor for fear of a negative diagnosis. Make and keep regular appointments with your doctor. When caught early, most maladies are treatable or manageable.
10. Indulging irrational negativity
Life is tough, and amid all the negative things going on around us, we can forget to be happy. You have to remember that every moment presents you the opportunity to either be positive or to allow negative thoughts to overpower you. If you indulge negative thoughts, you run the risk of developing insomnia, anorexia and other health conditions related to the dark emotions that these thoughts breed.
11. Surrounding yourself with people who make you unhappy
Toxic people will lead you to an early grave so avoid them at all cost or ignore them. Seeking out people who make you feel alive will keep you alive longer. Even if you are the toxic one, you can benefit immensely from surrounding yourself with people who raise your spirits rather than dampen them.
12. Spreading yourself too thin and not resting
“I’ll sleep when I’m dead” is a common workaholic phrase. This approach rarely has favorable outcomes the ultimate one being premature death. You should push your body to its limits but also give it time to rest and heal by taking breaks, vacations and sleeping for 6-8 hours a day. Otherwise, you might cause irreparable damage to your body causing it to expire faster than usual.
13. Living in the past and worrying about growing old
So often we look regretfully upon the closed door. Past pains and glories can be so haunting that they become chains that hold us back from true fulfillment. Other times we look to the future not with positive expectation but rather with fear of the unknown. Treasure your memories but stay grounded in the present as you cheerfully plan for a long, healthy and happy life.
14. Giving up on what matters to you
We all have life goals that keep us going whether it is finding love, landing a dream job or traveling to space. Sometimes, however, reality checks in and we realize that our dreams are too crazy or that they will take too long to achieve. It is at this moment that our will to live starts to dwindle. Stress and hopelessness begin to creep in effectively reducing our life expectancy.
15. Being a “couch potato”
Physical activity is directly linked to longevity. Fit people are healthier and tend to live longer. Exercise slows the loss of muscle mass and bone density as you age, improves all the systems in your body from cardio to nervous and lowers your stress levels. Lack of it increases your chances of dying young regardless of your weight.