“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you tap into this source, you will truly have defeated age.” ~ Sophia Loren
Interesting fact: The Anti-Aging Market topped $250 billion in the year 2016. It’s estimated that the market will continue to grow at a rate of six percent year-over-year.
Another interesting fact: Most people are wasting their money.
Aging is a natural biochemical process of the body. Until we can “hack” into those little things called cells, we’re going to get old.
Until that time, people will likely continue to spend $50,000 on a facelift, inject themselves with toxins, and gladly turn their face into a birthday cake.
We’re a far cry from a legitimate Fountain of Youth.
It seems that many of these folks have never heard the phrase “Prevention is the best medicine.”
While we’ll (probably) never be able to completely and successfully reverse the aging process, there are things we can do to help counteract the effects of aging.
There are also things we can stop doing – this requires understanding the things that expedite the effects of aging.
With this knowledge, we can proactively improve our health, experience more happiness, and live a more positive, satisfying life!
So without further ado …
8 Things That Make You Age Faster
1. High Blood Pressure
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 75 million Americans – or one of every three adults – have high blood pressure.
Statistically, blood pressure tends to spike between the ages of 55 to 64 and slowly increases from then onward. This is problematic, as high blood pressure is linked with an increased risk of coronary disease, heart attacks, and heart failure.
– Lose those extra few pounds.
– Aim for 30 minutes of light to moderate exercise daily.
– Eat a well-balanced, healthy diet.
– Reduce salt intake.
– Limit alcohol.
2. Being Overweight
Scientists at the University of Edinburg analyzed the genetic information of more than 600,000 people from 25 different studies across Australia, Europe, and North America.
The researchers discovered that every kilogram (2.2 pounds) of extra weight carried reduced life expectancy by roughly two months. Simple math time: 12 months/2.2 = 5.45 pounds.
Translation: Being overweight by just 5 pounds may take a year off of your life.
– Schedule a physical examination to rule out any underlying conditions (e.g., thyroid disorders).
– Create a meal plan that consists of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein.
– Find a workout regimen that works for you. Engaging in physical activity that interests you (biking, basketball, tennis, etc.) is the best way to stick with a workout routine!
Per the same study by the University of Edinburg, “cigarette smoking and traits associated with lung cancer had the greatest impact on shortening lifespan.”
Smoking the equivalent of a pack of cigarettes a day reduces life expectancy by an average of 7 years.
– Research smoking cessation programs if you need help.
– If you can’t quit cold-turkey, try cutting back slowly.
– Exercise and meditation are two activities that may help reduce cravings.
4. A Highly Stressful Job
Listen, most of us aren’t doing what we love. According to various surveys, job dissatisfaction hovers around 70 percent in the U.S.
But there’s a gaping difference between an irksome sense of job discontent and ceaselessly hating your job.
According to researchers from Indiana University, “people who have little decision-making ability in demanding jobs have a 15.4% increase in mortality compared to those in less demanding jobs.”
– Evaluate your current level of job-related stress.
– Start looking for a new job, if necessary.
– Learn basic mindfulness and deep breathing techniques (This will help!)
5. High cholesterol levels
Your DNA influences your blood cholesterol levels; but while you can’t alter your genetic makeup, you can be proactive about keeping these markers within an acceptable range.
– Increase dietary fiber intake.
– Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
– Eliminate trans fats.
– Increase protein intake.
6. Willful Ignorance
While the sixth item on our list may seem irrelevant, there’s something to be said about the adverse effects of enabling an idle mind.
According to a 2015 study published in the journal PLOS One, “Mortality (due) to low education is comparable (to) individuals being current rather than former smokers.”
Having less than a high school diploma was found to be the most significant risk factor.
– Keep your mind active through reading.
– Consider a brain training program.
– Take a free online course on something of interest to you.
– Advance your formal education, if desired.
Ecological momentary assessment (EMA) “assesses a person’s current experiences, behaviors, and moods as they occur in real time and in their natural environment.” Many behavioral scientists state that EMA is among the most precise measurements of a person’s well-being.
Relatedly, in a study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), scientists used the EMA to evaluate 3,853 individuals aged 52 to 79 years.
Those whose scored the quantitative equivalent of “not happy” had a “death rate” of 7.3% – nearly double of those reported a more positive mindset.
– Sit down, with yourself or someone else, and think about/discuss the sources of your happiness – or lack thereof.
– Keep a simple gratitude journal, where you write three things that you’re grateful for every day.
– Seek out support – in whatever form (medical, spiritual, otherwise) that’s right for you.
8. Lack of Self-Care
The last item on our list is intentionally broad in scope.
The truth is that none of us know what’s best for someone else. Well-being is a highly subjective thing – just look at the self-help section at your local bookstore!
But deep down, all of us – whether or not we admit it to ourselves – have a pretty good answer to the question “How am I doing?”
Trying to prescribe a one-size-fits-all solution to the neverending list that is “life’s problems” is a futile (not to mention, depressing) endeavor.
So, in closing, please take care of yourself. If you don’t feel right, swallow your pride and seek out some help. Sit down, close your eyes and meditate. Get good at deep breathing.
Most importantly, cultivate and grow your positive natural energy! Believe us; it’s there!