HealthPosts

A Simple Secret for a Long, Happy Life

Kindness, love, gratitude and beauty can affect us not just on emotional and spiritual levels, but on cellular levels as well.

A while back I was sitting in the peaceful waiting area at my gym, waiting for a massage appointment. Another woman sat down to my left just as two ladies entered arm in arm, one helping the other into a chair. When I saw their faces, I knew right away they were mother and daughter. The striking resemblance between mothers and daughters (or fathers and sons), physically and in terms of mannerisms, is one of those beautiful wonders in life. What was uniquely special about this pair was that the daughter looked to be in her mid-70s.

The woman sitting next to me asked them if they were mother and daughter, and the younger woman answered, “Yes, this is my mom. She just turned 94.”

I smiled, listening to these sweet ladies converse. The 94-year-old old mom said energetically, “Are we all relaxed today, ladies?” She was full of light and joy.

The woman next to me asked her, “You look amazing and full of life! What's your secret?”

Without hesitation, the mom replied, “I've always surrounded myself with nice people. That's the secret.”

I was touched by both the power and the simplicity of her answer. I've often thought about, and even written about, how allowing unkind, negative people into our lives can affect our emotional and physical well-being. I'm a big believer in being very mindful about what we tolerate. But I hadn't really thought too much about how it could affect our physical health in the long term, and specifically our longevity, until now.


Could it be that after healthy conscious eating and regular physical activity, the next most powerful key to a long life is kindness?

As kindness is an expression of love, and love is the most powerful force known to us, this connection is undeniable. Psychology affects our biology in powerful ways, and therefore our longevity.

There are numerous studies that support this idea, including a recent study at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where half the participants were assigned to take part in a loving-kindness meditation each week for six weeks. The other half was assigned to a control group. 

Participants in the group taking part in the loving-kindness meditation practice increased in positive emotions in comparison to those in the control group, as well as increased in vagal tone (the activity of the vagus nerv which is our longest cranial nerve). In general, the greater the vagal tone, the greater the physical health of the person, especially when it comes to heart health. The study results suggest that positive emotions of loving-kindness, positive social connections and physical health influence one another in a self-sustaining upward-spiral dynamic.

This study shows that increased love and kindness in our lives can affect our biology in impactful, healthy and positive ways. This is great news because it means that we have more tools in our toolbox to increase our physical well-being, as well as our chances of living a longer, fuller, happier life. 

We can eat healthfully, exercise daily and even live a relatively happy life.

But if there are toxic negative people around us on a consistent basis, and we're allowing their negativity to affect us within — like a slow moving bacterial infection — this alone could bring on disease by weakening our defenses.

On the flip side, even if the negative energy created by others in our lives is at a very low level, I believe our health and longevity can be affected by being closed off to the abundance of love and kindness offered to us from so many sources. The key here is to make a shift to being mindful — consistently remaining in a state of being open to receiving, and deliberately noticing the beauty in the world, especially during rough times. This can mean something as small as taking a moment to breathe in and be grateful for a smile from a stranger. 


Kindness, love, gratitude and beauty can affect us not just on emotional and spiritual levels, but on cellular levels as well.

The simple advice from the beautiful, joyful lady I encountered in the waiting room punctuates this idea. To me, she is living proof.

Here are some thoughts on how we can make a shift to reduce the negativity we absorb from others, and increase the levels of love and kindness we give and receive:

  •  The energy we put out comes right back to us. If we begin to take responsibility for it, and make a conscious effort to be kinder, gentler, more compassionate and more loving toward others — on a consistent and meaningful level — the kindness and love that comes back to us to fill our hearts will be greatly magnified, and will be a source of light for others. Like attracts like.
  • We must look closely at, and be mindful of, what we tolerate. Everyone has ups and downs, but if there are people in your life who are consistently negative, unkind or toxic, changes need to be made. Walk away from, or decrease your exposure to, those people who drain you in negative ways. You deserve to be treated with love in every scenario.
  • Change the way you look at some of the negative people you experience. Know that toxic, negative, hurtful behavior is a cry for love and acceptance. By seeing a person who is being negative or hurtful with compassion and love, we can change the way we respond to that person. Perhaps we can even create a powerful positive shift that will break a toxic cycle (for ourselves and for that person) through our response of love and kindness. This is a great place to start when it comes to healing relationships. 

The message we can receive here is that we have the power to choose to create simple shifts right now, shifts that will benefit both our physical health and emotional fitness (as well as those around us) in amazingly positive ways, and increase our chances of becoming centenarians with ease.

I also believe there is an even greater message here to be considered. The answers science has been looking for to increase the human life span don't necessarily lie with pharmaceuticals, animal studies or test tubes, but may lie in a kinder, more loving, more giving world.

As citizens of this global community, the call to action from this perspective is to collectively work together to shift our energy to love, compassion and kindness — in purposeful ways, on such a level, that the duration of our lifetime on this earth can be expanded beyond what we ever thought was possible.

Long live loving-kindness.

Tags

Kristi Ling

Kristi Ling is a happiness strategist, transformational life and business coach, and author working to help others create joy and realize their dream life.

Related Articles

47
Leave a Reply

avatar
42 Comment threads
5 Thread replies
7 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
42 Comment authors
Melissa Rose RothschildFran MerkhSherrySherryramlogan9PRABHAKAR RAJARAPU Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Melissa Rose Rothschild
Member
Melissa Rose Rothschild

Kindness is the best kind of medicine! Thank you Kristi! Great article !

Fran Merkh
Member
Fran Merkh

Do you not agree?

Fran Merkh
Member
Fran Merkh

Looking at negative people in a different light of compassion and kindness is a work of the Holy Spirit not one of conscious , temporary effort. Overthinking in every kind of way just to continue blogging. It is self serving to maintain a job, an audience, numbers needed to uphold all kinds of ego maintenance. Even leads bloggers to do their own misled experiments so they can perpetuate their outlandish story lines to prove what, absolutely nothing because they have bended and twisted to find the story line their biases want.

SherryLea
Member
SherryLea

Thank you very much for this Article. It is particularly pertinent in my life at this time. Sending much love and light.

Sherryramlogan9
Guest
Sherryramlogan9

Morning….everyone and thank you for a great article…life choices is really what we make of it…as they say do good and it will come back to you…many times you really try to live a good life with people (family and friends) but it just doesn’t work out because of their low levels of energy and greed for more, I will say…I try to involve myself with people of positivity, and spiritual knowledge….and give a helping hand to those in need….

PRABHAKAR RAJARAPU
Guest
PRABHAKAR RAJARAPU

GOOD ARTICLE

IonePalmer
Member
IonePalmer

An absolutely wonderful article with which I agree 100%. An old song says it best-“what the world needs now is LOVE sweet love!”

karen suezawa
Guest
karen suezawa

Love this article! ❤ Thank you Bryant & Jenny for sharing your secrets! So inspiring.😊

Keara
Member
Keara

I’m always been a nice person even when it comes to somebody doing me wrong I’ve always looked at the good in them and after that stayed this way over the years I am now in my 30s and I still look at people like that but I learn to feed them with a long spoon

Darlene Rese
Member
Darlene Rese

I absolutely agree with this article. Being kind and loving to others allows for oneself to receive love and kindness and contributes to the overall well being of everyone concerned. This is the Godly way and the way God intended for us to act in imitation of his qualities since we were all made in his image. Thank you for sharing this article.

Jackie Wilushewski
Member
Jackie Wilushewski

Very beautiful article, the message is so sincere and insightful. I really feel that connecting to Community and Gratitude is a life saver in so many of the ways you have described here. When I “stand up for” being treated fairly, there are times when I get ridiculed or belittled for doing so… I put a lot of effort into keeping my self respect and knowing of the yearning for help in balance as much as possible. Thank you for this great message @kristiling! <3

*sharing*

Robina fazal
Member
Robina fazal

Beautiful article..❤💐Too Stay healthy and happy longer..is the wish of all..To live a long happy life..one should have the inner instinct to let the heart..and Soul connect with positive thoughts..not let any persons..or conditions..there attitudes or behaviour intereçt with the peace of your Soul..it’s you have who have to have the control over self.. to resist any negative attitude or behaviour..with yours a bit smile.. Silence and ignoring things.. and moving forward makes others feel..that they are helpless.to cause any trouble.. +your own health care routines .exercise.. proper intake of foods..prayer..to God..positive and productive activities leads you to a better human.. and Happy contented and relaxed heart and Soul..prolong the period of life..I know it’s not easy to resist tough behaviours and negative people at times but as much you learn the art to take matters lightly and let your mind and Soul pamper with love and kindness….love for all..respect all..care all…you gain an energy that makes your own soul..heart and mind healthy..and happy ..and you live more to help.. care…..others…while having peace with yourself…love yourself and love life….remain happy…life is short…but as much we lead it..we can make it healthy.. and Happy.. just with a cool mind soul and heart …with patience and trust in God Almighty..and his creations…live life.. love all..and make it worth living….Amen

Lucy
Guest
Lucy

I have learnt that happiness is your choice so you are the only one that can help yourself..stop wanting to change people they won’t and stop expecting from others..live everyday doing something you enjoy. Always keep your head high up we make mistakes have downfalls at the end no one is perfect and it’s your life..always just be you don’t change for anyone. It’s not selfish to think for yourself if you don’t love and pamper yourself who will..

Anne Gerry
Member
Anne Gerry

Great article. Very inspiring. Thank you for sharing 😊

Jean Buske
Guest
Jean Buske

Be with someone that your happy with, can make you smile, laugh & love you dearly. I’ve had that for 53 years, love him lots. We love going on trips together.

Terry
Guest
Terry

My advice is “stop expecting and start accepting”…. Tis how I live happily… 😉

Suzan
Guest
Suzan

Beautiful article it is true that when you surround yourself with nice people this will help to lift up your spirit and gives you encouragement and help you to live healthy long life also we need to stay away from toxic people who can’t change their behaviour inspit of we treat them kindly

Tiffany Newsome
Guest
Tiffany Newsome

I do not know if this is really a secret but, I would like to share it with you anyhow. I have found that eliminating all forms of stress no matter what it is, whether it is people , jobs, or material things. If it causes you an certain level of burdens and pressure. Get rid of it! They proper diet, that is not necessarily going on a diet, but eating better foods and drinking lots of water works wonder. Water helps flush out all that extra waste and matter that your body does not. It helps it to get rid of the toxic elements that work against your body that sends and activate stress signals in your brain. I have also found that exercise works wonders! Do not like to exercise? No Problem! Dance. Walk or play with your kids. Or even if you have pets. They will enjoy it and you will too!

Rukhsar
Guest
Rukhsar

My secret of living a happy life is by accepting the present only n by living your life in the present without messing up your mind in past n future . Just live free ✌️

Karra Theodora
Member
Karra Theodora

There is a secret key of longevity!! First of all you should be surrounded by people who love you. Negativity, drama and gossip are excluded. We should be kind and loving with people who deserve our love. We should take care of ourselves in a daily basis. We should eat healthy foods and use any kind of exercise which will boost our mood. We should dream big and make our dreams come true. As difficult as it may seems, we can overcome all our problems. All problems can be solved besides health ! If our health is poor we have to take advantage of every single day. Everyday we should get up from the bed and cherish each moment. Because almost all medical illnesses can be cured if we keep a positive aspect. Every trial makes us stronger and wiser. We grew through trials and we become more mature. Maturity has nothing to do with age, it has to do with experience. We should be open to the world and keep our eyes and ears open. The truth will always reveal itself. We should pay attention to the actions of people not their words. People might say i love you but beneath that there are maybe hidden ulterior motives. We should be aware them and protect ourselves !!

Kelli Wallen
Member
Kelli Wallen

Rude lesson in life…