We’d all like to know “the secret” for how to live longer. Turns out, it’s not much of a secret after all. Do these 10 things and you will live a healthier, happier, and more fulfilling life.

Eat healthy foods.

It’s no surprise that people who live longer tend to eat healthier. Yes, junk food tastes good, but the simple truth is this: the easiest way to live a longer life is to eat the right foods. Here’s a good rule of thumb: make sure 80 percent of the foods you eat (or more) come straight from nature. This means “real food” like vegetables, fruits, lean meat and dairy, nuts, beans, and whole grains. Skip the processed crap and fast food. It’s taking years off your life (and life off your years).

Get enough sleep.

If you want to be successful in life, don’t dismiss the importance of a good night’s sleep. Sleeping 5 hours or less per night may decrease your life expectancy by as much as 15 percent. So get a full 7 or 8 hours of shut-eye per night.

Quit smoking now.

If you’re a smoker, you can expect to die 7 years sooner than the average person. And the sooner you stop, the more likely you’ll be to add years to your life.

Stay physically active.

Fact: exercise can help you live longer and stay happier. Even if it’s just 15-20 minutes each day, a little goes a long way. And here’s another reason to stay motivated: a study published in the June 2012 issue of the Journal of Labor Research found that people who exercise on a regular basis make 9 percent more in salary than their sedentary counterparts. Show me the money!

Be social.

Socializing is an important part of living a long and healthy life, even for you introverts out there. So plan a lunch date with a friend you haven’t seen in a while. Call an aunt, uncle, or cousin you’ve lost touch with. Force yourself to go to the work happy hour and have a drink. Get out there and interact with others and you’re bound to meet some fascinating folks who will bring joy into your life.

Have a couple of drinks, but not too many.

Here’s the best advice you’ll ever get on how to live longer. People who don’t smoke, exercise, eat five servings of fruits and veggies per day, and drink a moderate amount of alcohol live an average of 14 years longer than those who don’t. So what does “moderation” mean? According to most health experts, up to 2 drinks per day. Drinking moderately can even protect against cardiovascular disease, so break out the bubbly (just put the bottle down after you’ve had a couple).

Dream big.

Happy people are dreamers. They set their sights high and aren’t afraid to fail. In fact, they embrace failure because they know it’s an essential part of growing and improving. Don’t be afraid to reach for the stars.

Stay thirsty for knowledge.

People who live long, fulfilling lives share this in common: they learn as much as they can about as much as they can. Your education doesn’t end with school. Make it a point to learn something new each day. Read new types of books. Research different topics that interest you online. Have lunch with a friend who knows a lot about something you don’t know anything about.

Make time for friends and family.

Ask 100 people what’s the most important thing in their life and “family and friends” will be the number one answer for most. The problem is, it’s easy to get caught up in the trivial moments of day-to-day life and lose track of what’s important to us. Even if you’re crazy busy, block out time on your schedule to spend with family and friends. Spending time with them is what makes life worth living. Don’t lose track of your priorities in life and yours will be a longer and happier one.

Be thankful for what you have.

Too many of us focus on what we don’t have instead of looking at all the great things going on right in front of us. One study found that people who consciously focus on gratitude were happier, more optimistic, and even slept better than those who didn’t. So be grateful. Practice kindness. And say “thanks” to the people who have had a positive influence on you. Those are the real secrets to a living a longer, more fulfilling life.

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Featured photo credit: Senior Man and woman exercising with bicycles outdoors, they are a couple via Shutterstock

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