by Mark Underwood
With each generation, medical breakthroughs have helped people live longer. But quality of life is one of the most important issues most people face today.
That’s partially due to unhealthy lifestyles that many people don’t know how to change. Americans work more hours and sleep less than most other countries in the world. We lead busy lives, packed with stress, take limited spans of vacation time, and we don’t spend enough time focusing energy on improving the quality of our lives.
If you want to live a healthier, longer life that is packed with quality, there are several things—easy things, you can do—starting today.
Do You Need An “Oil Change?”
Have you ever noticed that we often do a better job taking care of the machines around us than we do taking care of ourselves.
Just as our car requires attention, we need to keep a positive outlook and continually renew our subscription to happiness.
One way to improve well-being is by alleviating stress. Bottling up your emotions when dealing with stress is like allowing it to ferment and turn into a potent problem.
You can also improve your physical and mental health by stimulating key areas of the brain used for memory and concentration by staying active.
We now understand how important sleep is to our overall mental and physical health. Many variables contribute to poor quality of sleep but we do know that in older adults, sleep may help repair some of the damage from aging brain cells. This damage may contribute to memory problems, concentration and other important mental tasks.
Simple Steps to a Happier Lifestyle
What can you do to keep your healthy and happy lifestyle on track? Use these tips to get started.
- Go wild. Take a break in nature and go for a walk in a park or a public green space. Being out and about can do wonders for your state of mind.
- Book yourself. That’s right…put YOU on your schedule to do things that make you happy. Many people find that if they put their name on the daily calendar—like Susan- break time—2-3 p.m., crossword puzzles, walk around the block—-will accomplish tasks more often than not.
- Let in natural light. Research reported in a Lancet study (2009) said that older people who lived near natural beauty might be able to reduce stress and their blood pressure. The study showed that this group had longer telemones, that’s the part of the DNA string that shortens as someone ages. In other words many people who were able to enjoy pleasant scenery every day not only felt younger, their DNA reflected this.
- Sign up for Tai Chi. Research has shown that this age old exercise that embraces the mind, body and spirit, can help physical ailments like arthritis in creaky knees.
- Ramp up your social life. In a recent study The British Medical Journal found that people over 75 who have a moderately active social network could expect to add 5.4 years to their life.
Keep Up Your Happiness Subscription
Remember, your quality of life goes hand in hand with feeling rested and happy. Incorporate these ideas and you’ll be well on your way to improving your life.
- Take time out for you.
- Maintain a positive attitude. Stay focused on the good things going on in your life. Reflect on your successes instead of things that are out of your control.
- Write down your worries. Journaling what worries you may help pinpoint the real core of some problem so you can work on them more objectively.
- Take one day at a time. Focus on making the most of the present moment.
George Bernard Shaw wrote in his play Misalliance: “The secret of being miserable is to have leisure to bother about whether you are happy or not. The cure for it is occupation, because occupation means pre-occupation; and the pre-occupied person is neither happy nor unhappy, but simply alive and active. That is why it is necessary to happiness that one should be tired.”
Mark Underwood is a neuroscience researcher, president and co-founder of Quincy Bioscience, a biotech company located in Madison, Wisconsin focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of novel technologies to support cognitive function and other age-related health challenges such as memory. Mark is also creator of popular brain health supplement Prevagen. Mark has been taped as an expert in the field of neuroscience for The Wall Street Journal Morning Radio, CBS and CNN Radio among others. Mark is also a contributor to the “Brain Health Guide” which highlights the research at Quincy Bioscience and offers practical tips to help keep healthy brain function in aging. More information can be found at: www.quincybioscience.com.
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