Nobel Prize winner Angus Deaton and his wife Dr. Ann Case, both of Princeton University, made the startling discovery that mortality rates for white middle class Americans are increasing, flying in the face of declining death rates in every other age, racial and ethnic group. Analyzing health and mortality data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other sources, Deaton and Case concluded that death rates are spiking due to substance abuse, alcoholic liver disease and suicide. It’s a sobering set of statistics. So while dying young may be “a thing,” it’s also an “aha moment” with real potential to help us shift the way we live our lives and give us new ways to live longer.
As Steve Jobs said in his now famous Stanford commencement speech, “death is life’s change agent,” and there is no greater motivation to choose to live healthy, full, interesting lives. Here are four powerful, strategies for a long life.
Find your life’s purpose. Scientifically validated research proves that people with purpose live longer by 7 years than people without. “That’s the same as people who quit smoking,” says Victor Strecher, professor of health and health education at the University of Michigan public school of health. Studies reveal that having a purpose relates to better treatment outcomes for cocaine abusers; it increases success in dealing with stress, coping and suicidal behavior; it reduces Alzheimer’s disease, PTSD, heart attack and stroke.
Get moving and get healthy. Even if the thought of going to the gym makes you tired, you can still move toward healthy living and a healthier body by taking the first step, which is literally a step. Medical science has shown that critical processes in the body begin to go dormant when we sit for more than an hour. Getting up and moving every sixty minutes, even if it’s just a brisk walk to the mailbox, keeps important body processes from shutting down.