Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Want to live to be 100? A 2002 study published in the journal Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences about people living in Japan reveals important secrets about living longer.
1. GET TO SLEEP EARLIER
This study reveals that Okinawan elders suffer very few sleep problems compared with Japanese living in urban areas. Okinawans tended to go to bed earlier, leading researchers to conclude that staying up late and then waking too early could be hazardous to physical and mental health.
2. CULTIVATE A SENSE OF CONTROL
Okinawan elders often refer to themselves as being gujah, or having a strong-willed character. “Centenarians tend to be very dominant, to want to have their way,” explains Leonard W. Poon, director of the Institute of Gerontology at the University of Georgia in Athens. Having a strong will means doing everything in your power to achieve what you want. To do that, you must hold yourself accountable for your own success and failure. In other words, whatever your goal, whether it’s to lose weight or love you job or raise productive, accomplished, sensitive children, go after that goal with the full knowledge that you (and no one else) are responsible for reaching it. Such determination will help you succeed.
3. NUTURE A SENSE OF COMMUNITY
Healthy centenarians the world over are usually very socially involved, say Poon. “They go to church and senior centers more often. Although they sometimes live independently, it’s within a strong community.”
4. LEARN TO WORRY LESS
Despite being gujah, older Okinawans are also highly adaptable, which gives them resilience when things don’t happen to go their way. “Challenges and setbacks can keep you cognitively aware and mentally strong.” says Poon. “They exercise your mind. But when you encounter a setback, resilience is your most important friend.” If you do suffer a defeat, focus less on what caused you to stumble and ask yourself what you can learn from the experience. Then use that knowledge to try again.
5. EMBRACE SPIRITUALITY
Spirituality also plays a major role in Okinawa, and may explain why centenarians are better than most at letting go of daily problems. Religion and faith in general are often what keeps many centenarians feeling balanced and protected from life’s troubles. If you don’t subscribe to a particular faith, seek out other group activities with like-minded people – a membership in a local theater club or lecture series, for instance.
I saw this article in Fitness Magazine.
I definitely agree with #1 - the need to get to sleep earlier. I tend to be in bed by 9:30 pm and up at 5:00 am. Works for me!
I love #2 about control - I do have a strong-willed character.
#3 is not something I am too good about, but I try to participate in community activities at the library.
#4 is a biggie for me - I am a total worrywart and need to learn to control that.
$5 is also one I need to work on - I do feel like SparkPeople is a step in the right direction for me.