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Heather Hanks
Written by Heather Hanks

Reviewed by Dr Jessica Gunawan, Physician Sam Ng Teck Xian and Physician Brandon Yew on September 28, 2022

5 Self Care Tips to Help You Live Longer

What does self care have to do with longevity? Your daily habits have great influence over how long you will live as well as the quality of life you'll have along the way. These tips can help.

Long happy life min scaled

Self care is the secret to unlocking a long, healthy life. But does that mean you have to go to extreme measures to ensure that you live longer? Not exactly.

In fact, there are many things you can do that take hardly any effort at all, such as eating less, walking every day, and spending more time with loved ones.

In this guide, we’ll provide 5 easy self care tips to help you live a long, healthy and happy life.

Easy Self Care Tips For A Long Life

Doing these five things can help not only extend your life but also make it more fulfilling: 

1. Eat a healthy diet

An array of mediterranean diet ingredients on a table top
The Mediterranean diet is all about using fresh, wholesome ingredients from a variety of foods.

First and foremost, the most obvious way to live longer is to stay healthy, and the surest approach is to eat a balanced diet. 

A popular diet guideline, the Mediterranean diet is hailed as one of the healthiest and most balanced. It’s said that a lot of people use this diet because it can increase life expectancy.

The Mediterranean diet includes natural foods, flavorful produce, healthy fats, and whole grains. Altogether, this balanced combination can lower the risk of or manage cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes.

Switching to a Mediterranean diet may be challenging. But there’s a way to modify your current eating habits and make them healthier.

Add more fruits and vegetables to your meal plan and reduce hard-to-digest foods that may impact Spleen health.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the Spleen organ system can influence a person’s immunity.

Eu Yan Sang Physician Sam Ng Teck Xian explains, “The main function of the Spleen is to absorb nutrients from food eaten. This is converted into blood, qi (vital life force), and body fluids, which will be transported throughout the body. If the Spleen and stomach are weak, malnutrition will occur.” 

The former also serves as the foundation of a strong immune system. “If the immune system is the military, the Spleen is the training base. Hence, the strength of a regiment will depend on the base’s training,” Physician Sam quips. 

If you want to add a natural supplement to your diet, you can try consuming an herbal immunity bundle that supports longevity.

2. Consume fewer calories 

One reason the Mediterranean diet has become popular is that it can be enjoyable and isn’t restricting. But it doesn’t mean that you should let yourself go. You still need to control your food intake by chewing food carefully and stopping eating when you’re about three-quarters full. 

A 2020 study published in the journal, cell has found a scientific connection between eating less and living longer. Researchers discovered that calorie restriction can reduce inflammation.

The study concluded that in addition to decreased inflammation, eating less is associated with better immunity, lowered odds of aging-related diseases, and increased chances of living longer. 

TCM believes that overeating can impair Spleen function. It overburdens the organ system, triggering excessive production of body fluids. These fluids can cause Dampness onset and turn into Phlegm, resulting in symptoms of Phlegm-Dampness.

These symptoms are resulted from Phlegm:

  • Bloating
  • Snoring
  • Strong body odor
  • Excess sweat or mucus
  • Feeling as if your bowels aren’t fully emptied

3. Walk more

Brisk walking has been shown to help you live longer.

Walking is perhaps the easiest exercise, but many people tend to avoid it. For instance, we prefer to take the elevator instead of the stairs or choose to hop in a car instead of walking.

In fact, like other kinds of exercise, walking has various health benefits, such as boosting lung fitness, preventing heart diseases, strengthening bones, improving balance, and getting rid of body fat.

Moreover, in TCM, walking is deemed important to help digestion and encourages the smooth flow of qi and help to move Stagnated Qi in the body.

New research has further proved that walking can prolong life. Not just any kind of walking, but a brisk walk. A 2022 study showed that people who walk faster live longer.

Scientists found that the quicker a person’s walking pace, the longer their telomeres. Located at the ends of the chromosomes, telomeres protect genes from the effects of aging. It is recommended to walk fast for an hour instead of pacing slowly for one and a half hours. 

4. Find your purpose 

Believe it or not, finding what we’re meant to do in life can extend our lifespans. A 2019 study conducted on US adults over the age of 50 revealed that there is a significant association between life purpose and lower mortality.

By asking participants to fill out a questionnaire, the five-year study has provided evidence that a strong sense of purpose impacts longevity. 

It’s never too late to go back to school, take up a hobby, or open that business that you’ve always dreamed about. Doing so could extend your life.

5. Maintain healthy relationships

Surrounding yourself with positive people can help you live a long, happy life.

“From a TCM perspective, the Heart is responsible for the emotion of joy. Being happy therefore also reflects an optimally-functioning heart – in other words, having sufficient Heart qi,” stated TCM Physician Brandon Yew. Another organ system usually associated with the onset of depression is the Liver. The Liver qi is usually the first to be affected when there is emotional change.

There’s a reason why self-care tips often advise us to steer clear of toxic situations or people. Multiple studies over the years have proven that having supportive friends does indeed add years to our life.

One aspect of the studies explored the link between social support with the systems of the human body. Experts have examined that the autonomic nervous system, the neuroendocrine system, and the immune system are sensitive to environmental social cues.

As a result, being in a safe environment where humans lower their defenses can contribute to a reduction in the risk of diseases.

Self Care Does Not Have To Be Hard

Attaining a long life doesn’t have to be so complicated. It’s true though, that finding a life purpose may be difficult for some.

Searching for your life’s meaning may take a while, so in the meantime, remember to eat enough healthy foods and walk more with your friends. 

This is an adaptation of an article, “5 Ways to Longer Life” that first appeared on Eu Yan Sang website.

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