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Using your Brain Effectively (Part 10)

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(…continued from last week)

5. Goals & A Positive Future View

Another factor in this Harvard study is that people who have goals and are positive about their future tend to feel better overall. They reported that people with stimulating goals live on average as much as seven and one-half years longer! You need to have goals. You need to have a reason to be alive. You need to have things you want to do. If your biggest goal in life is to retire so you can sit and do nothing you have a problem.

What’s going to keep you alive and keep you going is being engaged, being excited, being positive, making sure you are moving forward into an ever better tomorrow. Now that doesn’t mean that every moment of every day is going to be the most fun you’ve ever had, but you have to be doing things. You have to be challenging yourself and have a reason to be alive.

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6. Eat More Like a Vegetarian

You don’t have to be a vegetarian, just eat like one. Life expectancy increase can be linked to 3 factors that most vegetarians excel at. 1. they tend to eat fewer bad fats, 2. they get more antioxidants in the live foods they eat and often take nutritional supplements, and 3. they often times have lower weight.

You don’t have to be a vegetarian you just have to make sure you add lots of vegetables into your diet to enhance your life expectancy.

Here’s what we mean about being a vegetarian. Some vegetarians are “junk food” vegetarians. These vegetarians eat massive amounts of cheese pizzas, ice cream, sugars, etc., and that’s not really great for your health or your life expectancy.

What research supported was that the person who is eating lots of vegetables and consumed healthy fats such as olive oil, limited the animal protein intake, decreased the amount of cheeses and other fats and creams, are healthier overall. This type of vegetarian is more of a “whole food” vegetarian.

The leading cause of death and the number one shortener of life expectancy in the United States for both men and women is heart disease. As your heart ages there can be a build-up of plaque and fats in your arteries. This causes your arteries themselves to become harder, called arteriosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. This causes your blood pressure to rise, your heart to work harder leaving you at risk for heart disease. Vegetarians have some of the best arteries around because eating healthy can assist in keeping your arteries cleaner, which helps your heart not have to work so hard.

Eat lots of vegetables and take in antioxidants. Antioxidants help your body repair some of the damage caused by aging. The more types of plants you eat and the greater the variety, the more raw materials your body has to use to make repairs with. Plus putting vegetables in fills you up with less calories if they are prepared without lots of creams, butters and cheeses. That doesn’t mean don’t use those. Just don’t over-do it. A healthy vegetable filled diet is longevity promoting.

7. Reduce Stress & Practice Relaxation

Reducing your stress and practicing relaxation techniques is good health management. Life expectancy can be adversely affected by stress in two major ways.

The first way is through direct unhealthy effects of stress on your body in the long term. The second way is it may shorten your life expectancy through negative behaviors triggered by stress including: comfort eating, smoking, drinking too much, being disconnected and distant from the people around you that care about you, participating in foolish or risky behaviors, etc.

Stress has been linked to hundreds of health conditions, including some of the big ones like heart disease and cancers. Making sure that your stresses are not beyond what you can manage is crucial. You can de-stress through a wide range of things. Stimulating the relaxation response through processes like Jacobson’s Progressive Relaxation, which I will teach in in a moment, works well.. Used regularly this can benefit both your mind and your body.

8. Get Check Ups & Blood Work

The next category that Harvard found essential is to see your doctor regularly to get physicals and have screenings. You can improve your life expectancy through medical tests, through blood work, through having your physician watch your overall health. Because if you catch things earlier if something were to go wrong with your health, you can often deal with it more effectively.

There’s also something to be said for peace of mind. Knowing you’re healthy and proving to yourself that you’re okay (not just thinking you are or wishing it so, but proving you are from medical tests) is peace creating and healthful.

Medical tests and screenings can help prevent disease and can help treat diseases faster and earlier. It is for your benefit. Go see a doctor. Get a check-up. If you haven’t had one in the last year–GO GET ONE! Of course the challenge in all this is figuring out “when?” You need to take care of your health, and using a trained expert to analyze issues that might arise is good preventative maintenance. Do it………..

(to be continued…)

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