Find Joy in Your Life – Live Longer and Feel Better
To find joy in your life, to live longer and feel better, you need only to stop chasing the impossible. The quest for longer life has fascinated mankind for centuries. From the search to find the fountain of youth to creating Frankensteins to cryogenics, we’ve looked. On any given day, you can see advertisements to for products to extend life. From special diets to supplements, from medical procedures to exercise regimens, you can see it all. Yet somewhere in the fray, perhaps the most effective formula for life extension has been pushed to the back-burner.
In fact, its simplicity as a concept may have been too difficult for many people to accept as a possibility. And yet, it remains a strongly correlated habit resulting in longer life. This magical secret to longer life is (drumroll please).…. finding joy or gratitude in life.
The Advantages of Finding Joy in Your Life
A strong example is a section from Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers. It is about a small town in Pennsylvania in the 1950’s. The residents had almost every classical health marker for short lifespans. Most had a poor diet, smoked, drank etc., and yet life expectancy was remarkably high.
After years of research and analysis, the only conclusion researchers reached? The people in the town were simply happy, and this factor extended life.
While this is purely anecdotal in many ways, the study of joy and gratitude and its effects on mankind is growing. One such theory has been studied by B.L. Frederickson (1998, 2001), called the “Broaden and Build” theory. The theory states, “…. people’s daily experiences of positive emotions compound over time to build a variety of consequential personal resources.”
You Can Take These to the Bank – And You Should
In other words, the more positive emotions that you feel over time go into a “bank”. Positive emotions such as happiness, joy, gratitude etc. compound and build a bank of feel good nostalgia. So, think of joy, gratitude and happiness as an investment you can make and draw upon in the future. Your memories or nostalgia of those feelings can become an account to be drawn from as needed. I’m sure you’ve experienced times when remembering good things has lifted you out of a pit.
This brings to mind the classic book by Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning. It is a practical example in the most horrifying of scenarios. It is an example of what the power of focusing on positivity and nostalgia can produce. He talks in the book about the “ultimate personal freedom,” and infers that it is the secret to longevity. This nostalgia will always be more productive and effective for us over time… more than any diet, more than any supplement, more than any medical procedure.
Do These Things to Live Longer and Feel Better
Finding joy in your life to live longer and feel better may seem like a vague or abstract concept. However, if you wrap your brain around it, there are little things you can do on a daily basis to increase joy in your life.
In a research article in the American Journal of Epidemiology, Strawbridge et al. noted this: “Cross-sectional comparisons at follow-up revealed significantly higher community involvement, physical activity, and mental health for those aging successfully.” You can do simple activities like exercise (especially within a group), meditation, and spending time in nature. Making the decision to participate can be very effective at helping you to find joy in your life. These practices may also help you to live longer and feel better.
The old impasse of “age is just a number” ultimately does have merit. Our lifestyle and ability to maintain a joyful and positive mindset is crucial to a quality of life that precludes long life and well-being. Other ways proven to help you find joy in your life are getting enough sleep, developing your spiritual practice and deepening relationships.
Ultimately, our ability to create a lifestyle and mindset that can find joy and gratitude in any situation is an endeavor worth pursuing. So, find joy in your life ladies! Fill your banks with all the goodness you can. Live longer and feel better! and…..