Research is beginning to uncover some key factors that contribute to a long and healthy life. We can make choices that influence our own health and wellness. Here are some key factors that affect the quality of our life:
1. ATTITUDE IS A STATE OF MIND
- Take charge of your attitude.
- Sense of hope, humor, and confidence will determine the quality of your life.
- Eliminate negative self-talk (eg., “I can” vs. “I can’t”.)
- Optimists live much healthier and happy lives.
2. NEED FOR RELATIONSHIPS
- Protecting your emotional well-being is even more important than even your physical health.
- Contact with others feeds your spirit and gives meaning to your life.
- Being involved also helps us to forget our woes and remind us that we still have a lot to give.
- Seniors who are active, engaged and confident about their abilities generally feel better and live longer (secret of Centurians.)
3. MEANINGFUL ACTIVITIES
- Take time for activities that are deeply enjoying and commit to doing them.
- Ask yourself what makes you happy and that gets you up in the morning.
- What are some goals or dreams you still want to do? Make a list and start doing them. This can be a time of greatest fulfillment.
- Eating well will make you feel better and look better, help your body run more smoothly, and help ward off illness.
- Good hydration, 6-8 glasses of water a day.
- Diets high in whole grains, fiber, fruits, veggies, and nuts decrease weight and reduce the risk for heart-related diseases.
- Consistent (3-5 times a week) , regular exercise is the cornerstone of healthy living as you age.
- Exercise needs to include stretching, weight resistance training, aerobics, and balance routines.
- Exercise helps combat anxiety and depression, keep joints working better, reduce possibility of getting cancer, etc.
6. HEALTHY HABITS
- Smoking and drinking are the two big habits that can effect how you feel.
- Look at your lifestyle and identify other harmful habits as it will help you to live longer (e.g. negative, angry often, gossiping, etc.)
- Sleep patterns often change as we age (many 50-85 year-olds sleep 4-6 hours a day.)
- If sleeping problems take over, it is vital to seek help.
8. MENTAL ACTIVITY
- Keeping mentally active helps you to improve memory and combat boredom.
- Keep trying something new or do a routine in a different way (e.g. games, puzzles, reading, taking classes, etc.)
“We will be in tune with our bodies if we truly love and honor them. We can’t be in good communication with the enemy.”
– Harriet Lerner, PhD
Shannon Gwash is the Director of Wellness Services for Jefferson Center and is also a Certified Mayo Clinic Wellness Coach. She earned her MS from the University of Denver in Strategic Health Communications/Behavior Change. She has nearly 10 years of experience in the communication world and nearly three in parenting … which clearly makes her an expert there. To stay sane, she runs around Sloan’s Lake, hikes with her daughter, enjoys outdoor concerts and reads nerdy books.