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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 January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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