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5 Things You Can Do To Live As Long As The Japanese

5 Things You Can Do To Live As Long As The Japanese

When it comes to living a long life, nobody in the world does it quite like the Japanese. For years now, Japanese people have been the longest-living nationality. Women live to an average age of 87 years, while men live to a hearty age of 81.

The numbers from this small island nation are astounding and it’s even more impressive considering they’re among the heaviest smokers on the planet with 36 percent of the country indulging in tobacco. The U.S., by comparison, only has a 17 percent smoking rate.

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So how do the Japanese live so long? There are a number of factors contributing to their longevity. One of those factors is genetics, but there are several other ways to learn from the Japanese and improve your health and live longer.

Exercise Often

Japanese people might smoke a lot but they make up for it with lots of daily exercise. This exercise isn’t necessarily done by pumping iron at the gym or going to Zumba class regularly. Instead, this exercise is ingrained in the culture and an everyday part of life. It starts at a young age, where 98 percent of children walk or bicycle to school, according to the World Health Organization.

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Staying active is a habit that stays into adulthood, as obesity and its related health problems are uncommon in Japan. The national obesity rate is a mere 3.5 percent, compared to the U.S.’s 30 percent obesity rate.

Devour Fish

The staple of a Japanese diet is fish and studies have shown that there are a number of health benefits to regular consumption. Fish is eaten regularly, and the red meats popular in many other countries are far less common in Japan. Of course, there are problems with eating fish (like too much mercury), but the lack of cholesterol seems to have tremendous health benefits.

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Keep Calories Down

Even though fish is an important component of the Japanese healthy eating habits there are also  other significant parts of the diet. Dairy is rarely eaten. Instead, lots of vegetables, rice and herbal teas make up a large portion of the menu. Of course, there are decadently fried foods like tempura but those aren’t usually eaten as often as the healthier (and cheaper) alternatives.

Stay Active After Retirement

The Japanese defy typical life expectancy despite the incredible amounts of stress they experience in their professional lives. Studies differ, but it’s widely conceded that Japan is one of the most stressed workforces around.

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Despite that high stress, many retirement-age workers decide to keep working. It’s not because they need the money. In many cases, it’s simply because they find the work rewarding and stimulating. The retirement age is fairly low at 60, but government statistics show that 1 in 5 people older than 65 are employed. That sense of purpose seems to pay off in a person’s later years.

Enroll in Insurance

There’s lots of talk about how the Japanese manage to live so long, but one of the main reasons is obvious. The country has affordable universal healthcare that’s available to everyone. No system is perfect and without its problems but the Japanese style of healthcare is largely considered a net positive when it comes to keeping its people healthy.

The Japanese system goes to show how important it is to be covered under proper health insurance. Consider investing as much as you can afford to ensure you receive decent care.

Live Long Like the Japanese

There’s not only one reason why the Japanese have a longer life expectancy than any other nation. Instead, it’s a number of lifestyle choices that seem to pay off in the later years. Adopting some of these features into your own life could bring you similar benefits.

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Anum Yoon

Writer & Journalist

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Last Updated on December 2, 2019

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

6. Give for the Joy of Giving

When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

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Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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