Although we may not be able to live forever, people want to live as long as possible. The search for youth and long life has been a relentless, although generally fruitless, endeavor as no perfect solution seems to work for everyone.
More importantly, most people don’t just want to live; they want to live a long, good, healthy life. To that end, researchers explore the health and wellness factors that can influence not only longevity but the quality of life that makes it worth living. To that end, scientists research genetics, exercise and nutrition solutions that impact long-term mental, physical and emotional health. In addition, millions of research dollars, resources, energy and effort keep the most brilliant minds of our day seeking cures and preventative strategies researching cancer, heart disease and other life-threatening maladies to create the perfect life. There is even studies about the affects of psychosomatic disorders where the mind causes physical illness.
Then comes along someone like the French woman Jeane Calment. Jeane’s story runs contrary to all the research findings. She is the oldest documented person that ever lived, finally passing after 122 years, 164 days on this earth. She smoked cigarettes since age 21, drank port wine and ate a couple of pounds of chocolate sweets a week until she was 119 years old. According to French researcher Jean-Marie Robine, she never did anything special to stay in good health, (NOTE: It seems you need to quote your source here?) but the results were record-breaking.
Jeane credited her longevity to laughing a lot and avoiding over-stress. She is quoted as saying, “If you can’t do anything about it, don’t worry about it.” (1) It didn’t hurt that she was independently wealthy and led a life of relative ease and comfort.
But her success formula is supported by other research that validates the impact of thought and attitude on overall health and wellness. Studies linking thought and cardiac disease are abundant and well known and documented. Examples like my colleague are typical. He led a very healthy lifestyle — ate right, exercised, and led a meticulously healthy lifestyle. But he was overly intense in all he did whether work, home or play life. He died of a heart attack at age 61.
But does the same hold true for cancer and other diseases? According to the Journal of Psychosomatic Research, “Extreme suppression of anger was the most commonly identified characteristic of 160 breast cancer patients.” (2) In other research, “Extremely low anger scores have been noted in numerous studies of patients with cancer. Such low scores suggest suppression, repression or restraint of anger. There is evidence to show that suppressed anger can be a precursor to the development of cancer and also a factor in its progression after diagnosis.” (3)
So what is the secret to life? I say it’s about physical health, but also about mental health. Our thoughts, attitudes, coping mechanisms, and overall well-being leads not only to a long-life, but also to a life that is worth living. So have a good laugh today – to your health.