Many of us are afraid of death. We want to find the fountain of youth; by taking probiotics, by taking vitamin pills, by eating ‘healthier’, by working out more, by doing more yoga, by walking more, by avoiding alcohol, by taking (fewer) drugs, by trying to sequence our DNA, and maybe seek to upload our consciousnesses to the cloud (Silicon valley style).
What is the fountain of youth?
Well, it doesn’t exist, obviously.
But there are some practical ways to extend our lives. As of my understanding, here are the best ways to live longer, younger, healthier, and happier:
1. Intermittent fasting
Some studies show that intermittent fasting (going 12-18 hours food) is good for us. It helps us break down our bad proteins in our body. Our stronger proteins eat the weaker proteins (called ‘autophagy’) and in some other studies, some caloric deprivation of rats has helped them live longer.
Personally, I have been practicing intermittent fasting by not eating breakfast and lunch. Only a big-ass dinner, and some eggs before I sleep (usually 6). This has helped me stay more productive during the day, and I feel sharper, more awake, and more creative.
Of course you don’t need to starve yourself to gain the benefits of intermittent fasting. It doesn’t mean to never eat. It just means to eat less often. So try to start off by skipping breakfast, or having fewer meals, or snacks throughout the day.
2. Never retire
It seems people who retire, and just end up watching TV for the rest of their lives lose a sense of purpose, lose their minds, and have premature deaths.
Those who keep working, stay alive and fresh their entire lives. Just look at Alejandro Jodorowsky — a film-maker and artist who is 88 years old, and still creating.
3. Don’t consume sugar
I have learned an interesting claim: Alzheimer’s Disease Is Type 3 Diabetes. And diabetes is caused by consuming too much sugar or simple carbohydrates.
Conclusion to the study:
Altogether, the results from these studies provide strong evidence in support of the hypothesis that Alzheimer’s Disease represents a form of diabetes mellitus that selectively afflicts the brain.
Of course, it is just another study.
But for the most part, it is commonly agreed (by almost everyone) that sugar is bad for you. Sugar probably also causes cancer, and most forms of heart disease– or certainly encourages the acceleration of aging, DNA damage, obesity, and metabolic oxidation.
For me, unless it is my birthday, I consume no sugar. Black coffee, I try to avoid condiments (ketchup, etc) and other random sauces. I try to avoid high fructose corn syrup, and most fruit (most fruit is sugary as hell).
4. Don’t smoke
Probably the best way to live longer: don’t smoke.
5. Drink coffee
It seems that a lot of studies agree that drinking some coffee or caffeine or tea is good for you, and might allow you to live longer.
6. Physical exercise
The stronger you are physically, the less likely you are to break your bones, and die in old age.
Physical exercise can just be walking, doing yoga, ‘high intensity interval training’, cross-fit, push-ups at home, chin-ups at the park, or dead-lifts at the gym.
Essentially don’t just sit on your ass all day. I sit on my ass a lot a day (writing, like I am doing now), but whenever I go to the bathroom, I will do some 1-legged ‘pistol’ squats. I also do yoga once a week with Cindy at the studio, and do lots of Yoga stretches at home.
7. Have a reason to wake up in the morning
Probably the last thing — have a reason to live. A reason to wake up in the morning. A sense of purpose in life– to help society.
For me, what gets me up (and gets me drinking a lot of coffee) is the chance to contribute to society and humanity. The chance to share uplifting words on this blog, motivational YouTube videos, or by writing books.
What is your reason for living, and waking up in the morning?
To learn more, read: How to Find Your Purpose in Photography.
I will not live forever. At best, I might live to be 120. At worst, I might die tonight (or perhaps later today, while crossing the hectic streets of Hanoi).
Always remember that you will (one day) die. Memento mori. Dying in life is also one of our duties.
So don’t search for the fountain of youth; just keep hustling in life, and uplifting the souls of others.
But if possible, try to lead a lifestyle that might extend your life. To live longer, healthier, stronger, more mentally-active, and more creative to create more art.