How to Craft Your Body and Mind for a Long, Happy Life

By Ilchi Lee

Too often, we view life over 55 or 60 as though there is little to live for. This way of thinking is an unfortunate waste of potential since, now that people are living longer lives, there is so much that can be done with these years.

Biological research has shown that human cells hold the potential to function and replicate for 120 years, and maybe even longer if assisted by technologies now on the horizon. For many people, living to that age does not sound particularly attractive, especially if they imagine living in a frail, weakened state with little motivation or passion for life.

Our later years needn’t be this way at all. We can live happily and healthily, right up to our maximum lifespan. Here are some tips:

Move in Short Bursts

Aging of the body is inevitable, but we can do much to mitigate the process. One habit I recommend to maintain your physical health is called “One Minute Exercise.” The idea here is to exercise for just one minute, whenever possible. You can do exercises that make your muscles burn and your heart beat fast like push-ups and jumping jacks, or you can do exercises that help you relax and recenter like breathing and yoga.

Because it’s only one minute, it’s doable for anyone, even a life-long couch potato, since the one-minute workout can be adjusted to any fitness level. And studies have confirmed that short bursts of exercise are as effective as much longer sessions. Approaching exercise one minute at a time allows people to integrate exercise into their lives so that it becomes a natural part of their daily routine.

Keep Your Mind Positive

A good attitude is another important part of living a long, healthy life. Change your attitude about getting older, if you have any negative assumptions. Claim you proper identity as elder, and be proud of all the wisdom and experience you have accumulated. Living to 120 is not so important, but living with hope and dignity is. Realize your value, and plan for how best to share that with others.

Meditation is a good practice that I would recommend to people at any age. Many studies have confirmed that it is excellent for relieving stress, and it can offset some of the cognitive decline that comes with aging, improving focus, memory, and creativity. Best of all, people who meditate are happier since meditation promotes a calm state of mind and has been shown to increase serotonin, the hormone associated with happiness and contentment.

Turn Your Sights Within

When we are young, we must think about making our way in the world – establishing our reputation, starting a family, and making a living. In our later years, we can switch that outer focus to an inner focus. With children out of the house and fewer job responsibilities, we are free to look inside and complete our spiritual selves.

As you look inside, ask yourself, “Who am I and why am I here?” You’re now old enough to know that lasting answers to these questions can never come through job titles and reputation. By asking yourself this question through quiet, inwardly focused contemplation and meditation, you can come closer and closer to true peace and fulfillment.

Commit to Continuous Self-Care

The later years of the human lifespan are critically important, whether you live to 60 or 120. By making a conscious choice to live to 120, however, you can develop a self-reliant determination to live well and live long. There is no way that can happen, though, unless you commit yourself take good care of your body, mind, and spirit. If you make that mental shift, you’ll realize that 60, 70, and even 80 years of age is not that old after all.

These concepts are taken from New York Times bestselling author Ilchi Lee’s newest book, I’ve Decided to Live 120 Years: The Ancient Secret to Longevity, Vitality, and Life Transformation. The book helps you rethink aging and craft a plan for your personal journey toward longevity and health. To learn more, visit

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1 Comment

  1. Ruth Fretwell
    January 12, 2018

    It is a truly inspiring book. Most of my friends are heading towards their 60s so I’ve decided to give each of them a copy for their birthdays! Hopefully that will open a dialogue between us ….

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