When we watch videos of centenarians, we notice something similar about them: they seem content. This may be surprising to those of us under 100, especially to anyone who fears old age.
Yet old age is something to look forward to, and in each recent decade we see the average life expectancy of people growing higher. Life insurance companies are now calculating that children born today will have an average life expectancy of 120 years, due to increases in science and medical availability. Healthcare will eventually be a right for all people, and this will cause medical breakthroughs to skyrocket, thereby increasing the ages our wonderful children will get to grow to.
In an interview of several centenarians (people over 100 years old), Dr. Mercola of the Mercola Video Library found some wonderful and useful advice for anyone looking to also live to be over 100 years old.
Here Are The Top 7 Life Lessons From 100 Year Olds:
1. Emotional Resilience and Optimism Help You Stay Young at Heart
The centenarians themselves look much younger than their age, and they don’t “act their age” either. They tend to act youthful and maintain positive attitudes about life, and this helps them stay young at heart.
Research has shown that positive messages can improve the health of seniors; in a study of 100 people with an average age of 81, those who were exposed to implicit positive messages experienced increased physical strength.
There are countless studies proving the power of the mind and how it affects the health of the body, and while usually named ‘The Placebo Effect,’ the reality is that what the mind believes, it also manifests within the body. If someone believes that their mind and body will fail as they age, it’s highly likely their way of thinking will contribute in creating the physical experience.
Yet it’s possible to use this in a positive and healthy way by believing the best about ourselves and our health. When combined with a healthy diet, regular exercise and enough sleep, positive thinking can keep you young and healthy for years to come! Most centenarians reported that they feel 20 or more years younger than they actually are, and this comes from their mindset and self-perception.
One of the jolly centenarians, 102 year old Denerley, said that he feels like he’s 69 or 79, and his body believes what he is thinking.
2. Centenarians Eat Healthy And Whole Foods
While none of the centenarians would be described as “health nuts,” they all did express the value in eating real food; home-grown, home-cooked, organic meals that are free from processing and chemicals.
This was the norm for them growing up before major food plants and companies existed, as their families grew their own food in gardens and ate fresh fruits and vegetables each day that were free of pesticides and chemicals and grease.
One of the key points from centenarians was eating well and eating health by consuming real food. They also mentioned the use of periodic fasting every so often; making sure to not overeat, eating only once or twice a day sometimes, or choosing on some days to just eat a light dinner.
In Okinawa, Japan, there exist a very high amount of people who live to over 100+ years of age, and a few of their secrets they have shared are only eating until you’re 80% full, being physically active and the consumption of miso soup which contains the healthy seaweed known as wakame that is loaded with vitamins.
3. Strong Relationships, Fond Memories and Living in the Moment
Having strong positive relationships was also highly recommended for a long life by centenarians. Research has shown that positive relationships can affect health just as much if not more than exercise and diet.
Each of them spoke lovingly and fondly of their marriages, and even though they had outlived their spouses by decades, they only look back on their memories with love, appreciation and gratitude.
One of the centenarians named Harper shared that she was able to live happily because she had a lifetime of wonderful memories to constantly remind her of the joys of life, and she said that experiences tend to make us happier than possessions.
The positive attitudes of those who live to over 100 years old is one to learn from and to mirror, as this is necessary to reach old age.
4. Helping Others Will Come Back To You A Hundred Times Over
Centenarians explained the importance of being kind and helping everyone you can. Helping others not only does something beautiful for them, but it’s proven to boost your own mood as well, helping you to stay positive and live longer.
Volunteering for a charity has been shown by research to both lower the chances for anxiety and depression, and it also improves your health. Sounds like a win-win situation right? If you are looking to live to be over 100 years old, consider volunteering for your favorite local charity and let your compassion give you a healthy and happy long life.
Volunteering and showing compassion also can give a sense of purpose and a possible “helper’s high” which is the release of feel-good chemicals in the brain and body and reducing stress hormones like cortisol.
In a study done by Stanford researchers, The Longevity Project reviewed 80 years worth of data to find what contributes to one living a long life. They found that having a sense of purpose, staying productive, and conscientiousness; purposeful action, self-discipline, and a drive to achieve were markers for longevity.
Staying active into your senior years by volunteering is a natural way to live longer, and also to benefit the world and those around you, making the world better for your children and for future generations. If you’re wanting to help but not sure where to start, just go to Google and type in “(Your city name) charities” and pick one that resonates with your heart. Sometimes a simple email or a simple phone call is all it takes to meet some wonderful people who share the same passion of bettering the world as you.
5. Being A LifeLong Learner Is Linked To Longevity
One of the only regrets mentioned by a centenarian was that he wished he had taken his studies more seriously earlier in life. He believed that getting a solid education early in life is so important and contributes to living a long and healthy life. A desire to keep learning throughout life has been shown to be connected to longevity, and there is a lot of interesting research connecting education levels and length of life:
Data provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that people with a college bachelor’s degree or above live for 9 years longer on average than people who do not complete high school.
This is likely due to numerous factors; that highly educated individuals get better jobs with higher incomes, are able to afford healthier food, are elevated out of poverty and do not have the daily stress of how to pay their bills that can negatively affect health. All factors included, having a higher education means a longer life on average, another wonderful reason to support the compassionate cause of providing free college to all hardworking students across the world.
6. There Is No Exact Pattern For How To Live To 100 And Beyond
While there is no guaranteed path of action to live past 100 years old, there are many useful and supportive tips. Genetics play a large role, and while not smoking, not drinking alcohol, eating healthy and exercising regularly are sure ways to remain healthy, they aren’t guarantees of longevity. Health professionals continue to recommend practicing healthy habits as they can greatly increase your chances for a long and happy life.
7. ‘Keep Right On To The End Of The Road’
Centenarians offered these pieces of advice for all of us on our way to 100 and beyond:
“Time spent on reconnaissance is seldom wasted.”
“Be as independent as you can but don’t be reluctant to ask for help when you think you need it.”
“A good idea is to behave well to other people, show them respect and help them as much as you possibly can, and it will be repaid hundred-folds.”
“Keep right on to the end of the road.”
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Have a wonderful rest of your day. You are loved.