You know the basics: don’t smoke, drink in moderation, and go easy on the cheeseburgers. But there’s a lot more to longevity than that, and in a group of recent studies, scientists have found surprising trends among the centenarians they’ve talked to. Here are some of the secrets to living longer and how laughter can help:
1. Make Friends
Researchers at Brigham Young University and the University of North Carolina found that people with poor social networks (aka few friends) are 50 percent more likely to die sooner than those with “robust social ties.” Having a large social circle, says the study, can make as much difference to your life expectancy as a life without smoking cigarettes.
─ Regularly attending a Laughter Club will give you that much needed social network in a way that you may not expect: the people there will accept and love you as you are (laughing as a form of exercise teaches you to live in and appreciate the “now”.)
2. Win a Nobel prize
Researchers found that Nobel prize winners lived 1.4 years longer than nominees who didn’t win. “Walking across that platform in Stockholm apparently adds about two years to a scientist’s life-span,” economist Andrew Oswald tells New Scientist.
─ What this study really suggests is that it’s how you feel about yourself that affects your life-span, not the medals you win. Modalities such as Laughter Wellness can massively help with this one. Laughing makes you feel good. Everybody knows it. Laugh with others on a regular basis for sustained periods of time and it will soon boost your self-image and levels of self-confidence.
3. Learn A Foreign Language
Dr. Andrew Weil, author of Healthy Aging, says that keeping the brain active by learning a foreign tongue can stave off age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s. “You don’t have to master it,” he tells ABC News. But just the act of learning something new is like “running different software through the brain.”
─ A common and much enjoyed activity in Laughter Clubs is to speak Gibberish. It’s of course not the same as learning a new language and by allowing you to vocalize your tensions and inhibitions without having to verbalize them you may find that your thought processes becomes freer, richer.
4. Move to a Greek island
Specifically, the Greek island of Icaria, where almost one in three people lives into their 90s. Researchers studying the islanders concluded that the Icarians’ active lifestyle and healthy Mediterranean diets (lots of fruits, vegetables, and olive oil) helped the island maintain the highest percentage of nonagenarians on the planet.
─ We’ll argue that what’s important here is not to move to a Greek island but to have a healthier lifestyle and be surrounded by friends who share your values. Laughing with others makes you feel better about yourself and significantly boosts your levels of self-worth. Valuing your own body and health is the first step to having a healthier lifestyle.
5. Survive a recession
It may give scant relief to those struggling to find work during the current downturn, but a University of Washington study suggests that recessions in the 20th century led to declines in mortality. Unemployed people were more likely to give up expensive vices like smoking and drinking, says the study, and less likely to die from work-related injuries or car accidents.
─ Well, we are in a recession so that’s that. How are you coping? Laughter is a powerful way to diffuse stress. A playful approach to everyday things is a key factor in keeping healthy. Daily chores are less burdensome when we laugh while doing them. We aren’t always having fun, but we do have a lot more fun with laughter than without.
6. Work near ornamental plants
Plants can soak up pollutants and keep you safe. Waxy-leaved plants like English ivy and ferns soak up harmful indoor air pollutants, reducing stress levels and increasing overall health.
─ So what’s the link between green plants and laughter? It’s all about oxygen. Being surrounded by green plants as suggested above is a good thing (every little bit helps) and do not loose focus of your priorities: if you don’t breathe properly in the first place green plants will do little to nothing for you. Laughing can help you breathe better, a lot better, because it’s a very simple yet very powerful and happy form of breathwork that’s all about the exhale. The more you can exhale, the more you can inhale. Try it out and see for yourself!