Nine Tips for Living Longer and Better

About a decade ago, this video by Dan Buettner sent me on a path to living better.  At the time I initially watched this video, I was not focused on any of these tips.  Today, I actively practice or am improving my practice for each of the areas listed below.

  • Move naturally: Get more physically active by walking in the community, do manual labor around the house and yard, and grow gardens.
  • Know your purpose: People who know why they get up in the morning live up to seven years longer than those who don’t.
  • Down shift: To reverse inflammation related to every major age-related disease, find time each day to meditate, nap, pray or commune with friends.
  • 80 percent rule: It takes the stomach 20 minutes to tell the brain it is full, causing most people to accidentally overeat. Stop eating when 80 percent full.
  • Plant slant: Eat a mostly plant-based diet heavy on beans, nuts and green plants. This is consistent with U.S. Department of Agriculture recommendations.
  • Wine at 5: For those who have a healthy relationship with alcohol (not me), enjoy a daily glass of wine.
  • Family first: Living in a thriving family is worth six extra years of life expectancy.
  • Belong: Recommit, reconnect or explore a faith-based community. No matter which faith, studies show that people who show up to their faith community four times a month live an extra four to 14 years.
  • Right tribe: Friends have a long-term impact on well-being. Expand a social circle to include healthy-minded, supportive people. This could be the most powerful way to add years to a life.

Self Care Tip: Breathing

Breathing exercise

Breathing exercise

Diaphragmatic breathing is the most effective way to breathe. But many of the muscles that can produce pain referrals in the upper body are attached to the ribs. For this reason it is better to practice breathing using the belly and the chest to exercise all the muscles responsible for breathing.

To practice the deeper form of breathing, start by lying on your back with your knees bent. You can relax your legs by spreading your feet wide and letting your knee fall inward and lean against each other or you can place a pillow under the knees. Place one hand on your belly and the other hand on your chest. Begin by inhaling into your belly using the diaphragm. The hand on your belly should rise up first. Then let your breath expand into your chest. Both hands should rise up equally but not necessarily at the same time. Try to breathe in for a count of three seconds if not longer. During the exhale allow both your chest and belly collapse expressing all the air. Let your exhale be as long out as the breath in. Toward the end of your breath pull your belly button into the spine pushing any remaining air out of your lungs.