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With Angelina Jolie’s recent disclosure to the New York Times that she decided to undergo a preventative double mastectomy due to her discovery of the uncommon defective version of a gene called BRCA1, it’s an astounding and impressive example of someone taking control of their ability to live as long and as healthy as possible based on their singular circumstances.
Last week the Why Not . . . Live a Long, Healthy Life? series began with inspiration from David Plasker’s book The 100 Year Lifestyle, and it continues this week with additional information and ideas on how to make choices today that will allow you to live an even more fulfilling and rewarding life, beginning with #6 which Angelina Jolie’s decision beautifully exemplifies. Let’s get going.
6. Become proactive with your health
Jolie’s decision may seem drastic to those who haven’t witnessed an immediate family member be stolen far too soon due to the grips of cancer similar to Angelina (her mother died from breast cancer at age 56), but when we become aware of our past, we can look fear in the face a little bit easier because we can grab hold of the tools that can best help us navigate what may lie ahead.
Instead of having to make an appointment with the doctor due to ill health or being rushed to the emergency room, why not schedule preventative annual check-ups so that any abnormality can be caught early and more easily dealt with (click here to view a list of scheduled appointments every woman should make throughout her life).
7. Schedule Play-Time, but not all of the time
As schedules and responsibilities begin to grow, the simple fact that there will only always be 24 hours in a day oddly eludes us until we realize we have yet to enjoy a weekend with nothing to do in months. Scheduling time to enjoy yourself is a must when it comes to living a healthy life. This is not to say hard work and dedication isn’t necessary, but if you’re like me, I can become so focused on something that I forget how much time has passed and how exhausted my body and mind have become.
One of the greatest benefits of play-time is the break it gives the mind and the restorative opportunity it gives the body. Respect your body, value quality productivity more than simply being busy and I can guarantee, based on my own experience, that life will be more fulfilling and enjoyable.
8. Spend time in nature
Some are fortunate to have a running creek, a scenic mountain or acres of pasture right out their back door, but most are not. It’s hard to explain to someone the power and therapeutic ability of nature until they themselves have had the opportunity to walk down a grassy lane listening to the morning birds chirp their simple tunes or watch pets frolic free from leashes in wide open meadows first-hand.
Even if you live in the city or are miles from open space, making time to visit a local park or take a tour through the magnificent Japanese or Chinese gardens in your area can take you out of your head for awhile and help to appreciate the amazing gift of Mother Nature. By simply gaining a bit of time to breath slowly and deeply, we are often reminded of what it is we most value in our lives and let go of unnecessary worries.
9. Exercise Regularly, but not excessively
As I’ve mentioned a couple of times on the blog (here and here), my experience with intense exercising has helped me to realize that it can be enjoyable, so long as it is consistent. Whether you enjoy walking or running, hiking or dancing, choose to incorporate a regular routine of exercise into your life. Make it as mandatory as eating and breathing, and your body will thank you as it will be better able to care for you for years to come.
10. Create Ideal Home & Work Environments
What surrounds us affects us, and to not understand this simple truth is to let go mindlessly of something we have absolute control over. Much like the people we spend our waking hours with, so too is our work and home environment a determining factor of our moods, creativity and energy levels. Whether it’s reducing the clutter throughout our home or choosing to find a way to allow more light into your work space, these choices can help reduce unnecessary stress, save time and brighten our day. Click here for tips on how to simplify and reduce clutter, click here to discover simple ways to turn a hum-drum workday into a luxurious occasion and click here for simple, easy tips on how to clean your home.