Going the Distance: Be Happy, Live Longer

By Meta J. Mereday


The expression, “Laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and you cry alone,” takes on a new meaning with studies highlighting that people with a good sense of humor live longer lives.  

According to Dr. Amy Chaves in her article for NaturalNews.com entitled, “Happy People Live Healthier, Longer Lives,” there are advantages that happy people have over unhappy people that translates to longer lives.  

Chaves details the findings from studies that outline the relationship between positive moods such as happiness and joy and the connection to longer lives. Her review examined over 150 studies that featured extensive evidence that there is a direct connection between positive feelings and longevity and good health.

Negative behavior and emotional outbursts have often been associated with increased stress and poor health and the Center for Disease Control highlights studies that found pessimists have higher blood pressure levels.

According to the studies, emotions and moods are associated with biological markers such as blood pressure and inflammation and negative behaviors such as anger and hostility are related to the development of heart disease as well as the progression of the disease and inflammation.

Bottom-line, the study emphasizes the importance of incorporating joy, happiness and life satisfaction and hopefulness and its benefits including greater social connections, improved immunity against diseases and longer lives.

There are many ways that people incorporate activities into their day to promote longer lives. Increasing exercise regimens, avoiding smoking and improving eating habits are tops on the list for most people in search of longer lives.

Others have included their own personal strategies.

When we start changing our eating habits and start working out, that will contribute to living a healthier, longer life. You are what you eat,” stated Catrina D. “It is also based on our relationship with God too. A lot of people are living past the 100’s and that is truly a blessing from God.” 

Some consider the day to day activities that can positively impact longevity.

“I do believe that 50 is the new 40. With the access to great medical care and more leisure time, the 21st century does afford us with the ability to live better and smarter and to also get preventative beauty products that make us look good too,” added Elene P. “For me, seeing my mother walk 18 holes of golf on a regular basis and my father-in-law who still actively works as a plumber, reminds me that staying physically active increases the likelihood of a longer life.”

Remaining physically active and participating in a hobby that you enjoy are keys to longer lives, but also thinking outside the box also promotes longevity. 

For Mike W., “When it comes to living longer, everybody talks about the obvious stuff like, exercise more; don’t smoke; go easy on the alcoholic beverages; stay away from the fried and processed food. I believe all of that will help, but don’t forget to LIVE, LAUGH and LOVE!

“For me, feeling alive and feeling like I will be OK today, tomorrow and for a long time sometimes requires doing things that others might find a bit eccentric.” He added, “Laugh at yourself from time to time. Taste something you might not find all that appetizing and discover that it’s not that bad. Jump out of your comfort zone and jump start your heart rate.”

Being spiritually grounded, focusing on a hobby, exercising and eating right are among the many ideas that people use for longer lives.

From having a sense of humor to fulfilling a fantasy, it is up to you to find the best path to longevity.  Just enjoy the ride and smell the roses along the way.

Mereday is a contributing writer for Regal Magazine, a publication dedicated to the African American community.

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