On one of my many online voracious reading sprees, order I came across this fantastic statement that captured my attention. ‘What do winning an Oscar, ed having a cat, and gardening have in common?’ This mind-boggling riddle had an essence of hidden truth as I read and reflected on the next line ‘all three things make you live longer’ (the moment of revelation). Why would Earthly beings like us want to say a premature “Hello” to St. Peter at the Pearly Gates of Heaven at a time that we are supposed to carve our destinies right here on Earth? Caught up in a maddening rat race, people think only about earning those extra wads of cash, kickbacks, harassing others, being rude, angry, downing feni or smoking Marlboro or gulping all those fizzy drinks….. Dr. Charlane Pereira e Rebello, a psychologist has prepared a ‘must-not-do’ list if you want to live longer. So here goes.
Eating fatty, oily and sweet edibles
French fries? Chips? Canned food? Chocolate Mousse? Doughnuts? Sugary soft drinks? Your body needs to be healthy. You wouldn’t want to have a heart attack in your thirties or forties. Or end up being a young diabetic patient. Grab a diet rich in fibre and antioxidants. Veggies and fresh fruits make a great choice. Cut down on your regular trips to the fast food outlets and pastelarias. Drink lots of water as it washes all the toxins from the body. Can’t do without your regular ‘chai?’ Opt for green tea.
Daily stresses of life such as ailing parents, rebellious kids, and harassing colleagues can take a huge toll on your health. Adopt a zen attitude, take deep breaths and don’t let the frustrations of the world get you down. Learn to de-stress! Try meditation exercises or yoga or engage in relaxing leisure pursuits. Find out the triggers to your stress – specific situations or certain people? No one to be your confidant? Give diary writing a shot. It is a safe catharsis to your negative emotions and your secret is safe with you.
Being a couch potato
Give the idiot box in your living room a break! A big NO-NO to that sedentary lifestyle of yours. Be active! Run though the driving monsoon rains, boogie board on the Goan waves, jump, hop, skip and frolic! And here’s something for all you maid-dependent folks to consider: How bout doing some of your own household chores? Sweeping, mopping, climbing stairs, washing, etc all burn calories. You don’t need to join a gym to be active or to tone those biceps and triceps. Even a regular brisk walk will up your longevity by 3 or more years.
Taking life for granted
Live each day as if it is your last day. Enjoy each and every moment of your life. Not only the joyous moments or celebrations, but challenges and setbacks ought to be embraced willfully. Watch the birds in the air! See the tiny bluish-black butterfly fleeting by! Watch the tiny blades of grass coming to life! Go stargazing when the skies are not cloudy! We are so caught up in our busy work lives that we forget to appreciate simple beauties of life. Even a rough day at work teaches important life lessons. Live life without regrets! Don’t forget to mutter the golden words ‘Please’ ‘Thank you’ and ‘Sorry’ when needed.
Being a loner
Introverted? No close friends? Feeling lonely? Be social and stay social. Social relationships act as a stress buffer helping you to cope with day-to-day life’s hassles. Increase your social connectivity (not only online networking). Your friends will be supportive in times of crisis. For instance, emotional support when you are mourning the loss of your close relation or even timely financial help can ease your burden of clearing debts.
Kick the cigarette butt! Get rid of the cigarette packs at your home! Keep the ashtray out of sight! Smoking is injurious to health and robs the smoker of a decade of his/her life, at least. Whether you quit or reduce your cigarette smoking, your body recovers. Reduce the risk of being a cancer victim. Stay tobacco free! Don’t be a passive smoker, either (meaning get out of the line of others’ smoke, too)!
Vodkas? Whisky? Rum? Go easy! Chronic alcohol abuse can cause a variety of mental and physical health complications. Give those liquor bottles a break! Spend quality time with your family. No risk of cirrhosis or early death! No road mishaps! No chance of being given the boot by your boss for tardiness or inability to meet project deadlines. Your quality of life will improve. Moderate drinking is not an issue, of course. It’s when you lose control that things get out of hand.
Skipping a good night’s sleep
Unfortunate victim of insomnia? Those 4 hours of sleep that you manage to snatch every night decrease your longevity, because they’re not enough. A good night’s sleep keeps diseases at bay and leads to better mental health as well. Adopt corrective measures if your sleep patterns have taken a toss. Darken your room with blinds or thick curtains. Shift the bedroom television to some other room. No distractions! Let the room be soothing and relaxing. If none of these tips work, it is time that you book an appointment with a health professional.
Thinking about making money 24/7
Whether you’ve inherited a fortune or can’t pay your bills, financial struggles and obsessions are never a recipe for longevity. Your materialistic cravings and constant obsession with money can spell marital trouble, family disputes, chronic health issues and cause unnecessary anxieties. Remember, we are just mortal beings who don’t lug huge suitcases of cash or jewels to our graves.
Holding a grudge against anyone
From abusive youngsters and aggressive men to gossip mongers and conniving people, the world is not always fair or just. Don’t harbor negative emotions like anger or hatred. Negative emotions release cortisol, the stress hormone. High levels of cortisol have a deleterious effect on our bodies. Don’t hold a grudge against anyone. Forgive and march ahead! You will be more healthy and happy!