Life expectancy is affected by many factors. These include diet and exercise, smoking, mental state, environment, career, spirituality, social interaction and support.
One of the most easily controlled aspects in my lives is my nutrition and exercise. My physical well-being directly impacts on my life expectancy. I am aware of the value of a well-balanced diet – rich in fruit, and vegetables, low in fat and red meat, the recommended daily allowances for all of these. I can ensure that I follow the advice of medical professionals about what and when to eat and in what quantities. I tend to stick to a no-starch diet, but I believe that that does not provide for a balanced diet, and that I should include starches in limited amounts. I go to a neighbourhood gym five times a week, and spend at least an hour there each time, but I only joined the gym and began morning walks about a year ago. I will continue to attend the gym and can increase the regularity of my walks.
The biggest change that I can make to increase my life expectancy is to stop smoking cigarettes. I began smoking at 17, smoked for 25 years, stopped for 5 years and restarted a year ago. I now smoke 10 cigarettes a day, and this is obviously quite detrimental to my health. I will at the very least cut back my smoking to a half of my present consumption.
One’s mental state either contributes to longevity or it can detract dramatically from it. To continue to have a stable, contented frame of mind, I will continue to go to the Raj Yoga Centre in St Augustine, where I meditate, learn about the power of positive energy, peace, compassion, the cycle of life and serenity. As a recovering addict I can continue to attend weekly N/A follow up meetings where I have a network of support and advice which helps my emotional balance and gives me a feeling of not being alone in the journey of recovery.
My environment affects my life expectancy – both physical and emotional environment. I recently changed my physical environment from one of isolation and distance from my family and an emotional desert to a gated community where there is little or no crime, I am able to leave my doors open until I go to bed at midnight and I am surrounded by trees, open spaces and fresh air. I have an incredible view of the Northern Range which instils in me a sense of eternity and timelessness. I am closer to my loved ones, feel more fulfilled and am much happier now. I can continue to make the choices that will add to my well-being, shedding fear of change and trusting in my knowledge of what is best for me.
My career choice will also either lengthen or shorten my life span. I enjoy the challenge of study because it keeps my mind active and agile and I enjoy new knowledge.
Spirituality, my connection with my Higher Power, has changed my outlook on life entirely, giving me a renewed faith and sense of optimism and hope. I can strengthen and deepen this bond by continuing to attend church regularly, applying the philosophies to everyday living, positive self-talk and remaining in communion with my Higher Power throughout the day.
Finally, I can make positive changes in my social and interaction and support. I tend to be a loner, shouldering my life and responsibilities and problems alone and isolating myself a lot, choosing not to interact very much with others. I realize that interaction (desired or not) is important for my emotional well-being and feeling of belonging, so I can widen my social circles and choose to interact regularly. I scuba dive, do hand gun target practice at Tucker Valley, go motorbike riding, attend meditation classes, go to the gym, walk, work and yet it is possible to partake in all of these activities without interacting other than on a most superficial level.
HOW DOES PROJECTED LIFE EXPECTANCY IMPACT LIFE GOALS?
The awareness of one’s expected life...