The effects of nutrition and fitness on health and longevity can be measured, interpreted and communicated by science with reasonable ease and clarity. As a result, even though most of us don’t really seem to care about these precious findings, almost no-one would doubt their validity. Total health seems to require another, somewhat more abstract component, however; a healthy psychology.
As an example, consider some of these weird results that I have picked up from the wide range of health literature I have been reading while putting together the One in a Billion project:
- People with a positive perception of aging live 7.5 years longer
- Married people are 25% less likely to die a premature death than singles
- Divorced people are twice as likely to die a premature death than married people – almost as strong a predictor as smoking
- Women who do not express themselves in a toxic relationship are 4 times more likely to die of a heart attack
- 95% of young people who described their relationship with their parents in negative words developed some degenerative disease by midlife compared to only 29% of those who used positive words
- Highly educated people live about 7 years longer than people with a standard education
- People who rate themselves as happy have a 35% lower chance of premature death than people who rate themselves as unhappy
- Older people who consider themselves to be useful to others are twice as likely to maintain good health into old age
This third and final section in the One in a Billion health plan will strive to make sense of these strange findings and give some concrete guidelines on how you can build a healthy psychology into your automatic healthy environment. Be warned, however, that this section is definitely more opinion-based than the previous ones (nutrition and fitness) and I definitely do not claim any of the stuff I will write over the next few days to be indisputable facts.
What does seem to be an indisputable fact, however, is that our thinking has a significant influence on our health. If nothing else, this section will strive to at least build some awareness regarding this very important insight.