Qualified hypnotherapist Karen Martin, who is based at Salomons Estate, looks at the issue of how to live well for longer…
If Santa gave you the gift of eternal life, would you want it? Since the dawn of time, humans have been fascinated and sometimes obsessed with defying the natural order of things and cheating death. From ancient myths and legends to modern-day scientific breakthroughs, the quest for eternal life has captivated our imaginations.
With more centenarians alive than ever in human history, we’re gathering more information about the secrets of a long and happy life but immortality remains as elusive as ever.
From studying the telomeres at the ends of our chromosomes, which shorten our life expectancy when they shorten as we age, to experimenting with gene therapy, the field of anti-ageing research is booming. Stem cells hold incredible potential for repairing and rejuvenating our ageing bodies. Scientists are researching ways to grow new organs and regenerate damaged tissue.
Who wants to live forever?
Our bodies are not designed to last forever. We are born, we grow old, and we die. It’s a natural progression, a beautifully tragic dance in the circle of life. But one day we may be able to upload our consciousness into a computer or create robotic bodies to house our minds. Living forever as a sentient AI or exploring distant galaxies in a cybernetic form could become science fact rather than fiction as technology takes over from Mother Nature.
According to the Office of National Statistics, the number of centenarians in England and Wales has risen from 110 to more than 15,000 in the last century. During that time, healthcare and living conditions have improved dramatically. There are nearly five times more women than men reaching 100 years of age, though the gap is closing. Studies have shown that the oldest people in the UK generally have a high level of physical and cognitive function. They often attribute their longevity to staying active, maintaining social connections and having a positive outlook on life.
Live life to the full
So, if you want to outsmart Mother Nature, savour every experience and cherish every relationship. Because in the end, it’s not about how long we live but how fully we live. Living a long and miserable life or being unhappy for eternity holds little appeal.
Just supposing we could live forever. Can you imagine the overpopulation crisis? The Earth is already struggling to sustain its current population. Adding immortals into the mix would be a logistical nightmare. Not to mention the ethical dilemmas. Who gets to live forever and who doesn’t? Would immortality be a luxury reserved for the wealthy elite?
And let’s not forget about the psychological implications. How would immortality affect our sense of purpose and meaning in life? Would we lose our drive to achieve and grow if we had an infinite amount of time at our disposal? The knowledge that our time on this planet is limited gives us the motivation to make the most of every moment. Living longer does not necessarily mean living better. Quality of life is just as important as longevity, if not more so.
Care enough to take care
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is key to increasing life expectancy. This includes regular exercise, a balanced diet and avoiding unhealthy habits such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. Exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes while a balanced diet can help maintain a healthy weight and provide the necessary nutrients for good health.
Regular health check-ups are important in detecting and treating health problems early on. Routine screenings for cancer, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure can be life savers. Early detection and treatment prevent health problems from worsening and potentially lead to a longer life.
Good social connections also improve both longevity and quality of life. Social isolation has been linked to a higher risk of depression, cognitive decline and even premature death. Participating in social activities and maintaining relationships with family and friends provides emotional support and a sense of purpose.
Managing stress is crucial in maintaining good health. The biochemistry of stress and anxiety is inflammatory and has been linked to various health problems such as heart disease. Finding ways to manage stress such as meditation, yoga, or therapy can improve both physical and mental health.
Staying mentally active can also improve cognitive function and potentially delay the onset of dementia. This can include reading, puzzles, or learning a new skill. Keeping the mind active also provides a sense of purpose and fulfilment.
So, if you want to live for 100 happy Christmases or more, have regular health check-ups, nurture close friendships, minimise stress and stay mentally active.