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A Long, Happy Life: The Connection Between Mental Health and Longevity

Updated: Nov 9, 2023

Does Mental Health Affect Longevity? How a Balanced Mind May Help You Live Longer

We’ve all heard the generic health advice doled out after asking the question: “How do we live long, healthy lives?”

“Don’t smoke. Moderate your drinking. Exercise and eat a balanced diet. Wear your seat belt.” The list goes on and on and it’s always advice related to physical health and well-being.

Why haven’t we heard any advice related to the upkeep of our psyche? How does our mental well-being influence our physical health? And how do we maintain and/or improve our mental health so that it doesn’t prematurely affect our mortality?

Keep reading to find out the answers to these questions and more.

Table of Contents

A young woman sitting in lotus posture with her right hand on her chest doing breathing meditation.

How Does Mental Health Affect Longevity?

Mental health and physical health are intrinsically linked.

Stress, anxiousness, feelings of sadness, etc. may negatively affect your physical and mental health over time. And it does not help that mental health and well-being is a health factor that is often overlooked.

Attitudes about mental health have shifted in the past 20 years. Before this, society considered mental health issues as a sign of weakness, and before that mental health disorders were seen as a sign of the devil or witchcraft.

Now mental health is viewed as a subject we should talk about, maintain, and nurture — but it still does not get as much attention and emphasis as physical health.

Psychiatric diagnoses are often under-reported when it comes to patients self-reporting their symptoms. More than one in five adults in the United States live with a mental illness, yet reports show that 81% of patients with a psychiatric diagnosis devalued the symptoms and severity of their condition.

What Is the Life Expectancy Gap for People Struggling With Mental Health?

Mental health issues may be tied to a significant decrease in lifespan. It is projected that people suffering from mental illnesses may have a lifespan that is 10-12 years shorter than the overall population.

The most common mental illnesses are anxiety disorder, depression, and bipolar disorder. Living with these illnesses may put a lot of stress on a person’s life, mind, and body. Chronic stress can also alter our brain structure, which may produce physical and mental illness.

Stress can cause the overproduction of a steroid hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is produced by the body to combat inflammation. An overproduction of cortisol may increase risk factors that may cause diabetes, heart disease, depression, and more.

Are Mental Health Problems a Normal Part of Aging?

As we age, new complications may arise. Due to age, we become more vulnerable to physical and mental ailments. Research suggests that at least one in four older adults suffer from a mental disorder. This number is projected to double by 2030.

Complications that could negatively impact mental health in older adults may include:

  • Reconciling with age-related mobility issues

  • Increased loss of loved ones

  • Isolation and loneliness

  • Age-related insecurities

It is never too late to work on mental health. By using self-introspection and practicing mindfulness, you may be able to take steps toward prioritizing your mental health. The suggestions could have a positive impact on your mental health and longevity.

10 Strategies That May Help With Improving Mental Health and Increasing Longevity

It’s said that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. So what keeps negative thoughts and feelings at bay? These suggestions may help you re-evaluate patterns of negative thoughts and practices that contribute to mental health issues.

However, mental health is holistic. There are many working parts of the mind and many different things that work well for mind-related matters. If you are experiencing mental health issues that are lasting, worsening, and/or severe — it may be time to seek professional help.

#1: Know Your Life Purpose

Leading your life with a known purpose may help maintain good mental health and longevity.

A 2019 JAMA Network Open study found that out of a group of 7,000 individuals aged 50+, those who scored highest on a scale that measured “life purpose” were less likely to die throughout the four-year study. They were also less likely to die of cardiovascular and circulatory health conditions than their lower-scoring counterparts during the same period.

To figure out your life purpose you might ask yourself questions about your goals and what life means to you. These questions might include:

  • What or who motivates you to get out of bed?

  • What are you grateful for?

  • How does your life positively impact others?

  • What kind of person do you want to be?

An illustration of a human head with the brain shaped with puzzle pieces.

#2: Create Life Goals

Look inside and find what you want out of life.

What would motivate you to want to practice good health on all levels of being? Where do you see yourself in 10 years, 20 years, 30 years, etc.? What do you want to do and how can you get the most out of your life?

Reflect on these questions, and ask yourself one more question: How can I make lifestyle changes to prioritize my mental and physical health to help achieve my life objectives?

Plan small goals and big goals. Implement small practices and changes that will help you reach them. It doesn’t have to be a big, drastic, and rushed lifestyle change. This is a marathon we’re all running, not a race. And it’s never too early or too late to get your foot in the game, especially when it comes to mental health and longevity.

#3: Get Regular Exercise

Exercise benefits the mind and body. The benefits are holistic and may help you live a longer and healthier life.

Those benefits may include:

  • Better sleep

  • Help lowering blood pressure

  • Reduced stress

  • A boost in serotonin and endorphins

  • An improved self-image and confidence

#4: Spend Time in Nature

A 2017 study found that living near nature may influence lifespan. The study followed the health and other factors of 108,000 women over the course of eight years. The research revealed that women who lived near heavily vegetated areas had a 12% lower death rate than women who did not.

You don’t have to live next to a forest or in a rural country to reap the benefits of living near nature. If you’re in the city or suburbs, visiting a local park may be all you need.

Have you ever tried yoga in the park? It can sometimes be distracting. You might need a little help building your inner focus — maybe something a little bitter to shock your taste buds and regain balance.

Kalm Drops allow you to experience the soothing combination of bitter and sweet flavors in a heart-shaped drop. Let it melt on your tongue to help you recenter and focus, whether you’re at the park for a walk or yoga.

#5: Build a Strong Community

Humans are communal beings — we need each other to inspire, nurture, and support one another. A strong community does all that, but it may also help you live longer.

In 2004 a demographic study performed by Gianni Pes and Michel Poulain found that certain parts of the world had a high population of people reaching or exceeding the age of 100. These areas were named blue zones.

Further research on these blue zones found evidence that these communities had similar diets, hobbies, levels of activity and a close relationship with one another. This may suggest that close communities might have a significantly positive impact on mental health and longevity.

#6: Eat a Healthy Diet

When you eat well, you feel well. Your diet impacts more than just your physiology. Healthy foods feed the brain the nutrients it needs to perform at its peak.

Nutrition tips that may promote brain health might include:

  • Sneaking more fruits and veggies into your meals

  • Avoiding too much sugar or caffeine

  • Moderating your alcohol intake, if any at all

  • Cooking at home and avoiding processed foods

#7: Nurture Your Creative Side

Expressing your creativity has been scientifically proven to lower stress and heart rate as well as boost mood.

The act of creation can be rewarding, even if you don’t finish the project. You can use creative measures to express difficult thoughts or feelings, but the main goal should be enjoyment. The creative activity may be a hobby you pursue, but doesn’t have to be a grand project, even something as simple as coloring may help you relieve stress and boost your mood.

An elderly caucasian couple sitting on the beach drinking wine.

#8: Become a Volunteer

Volunteering can have a positive effect on you, your community, and the environment.

The benefits of volunteering to improve mental wellness might include:

  • Greater sense of purpose

  • Connecting with others on a deeper level

  • Meeting new people

  • A boost in your self-esteem

  • Making positive memories

#9: Connect With Your Body

The air we breathe is what keeps us tethered to this world. We can take that tether and connect inward and to our body through breathwork. By establishing that connection, we may be able to teach ourselves how to be present, listen, and respond to the needs of our minds and bodies.

Several breathing practices you might be able to use to connect with your body may be:

  • Diaphragm breathing

  • Pursed lips breathing

  • Box breathing

  • Pranayama

  • Alternate nostril breathing

#10: Restore Your Sense of Balance

There is a need for balance in nearly everything around us. Consider things like nature, science, and math that require balance to operate in a way that helps life make sense. Balance is a necessary part of the world around us.

So how do we, as sentient beings, find balance?

Mental balance is like physical balance — some of it comes naturally, but improving it may take practice and effort. Too much of anything could set us out of balance. Sometimes we might need to make lifestyle changes that challenge our overindulgences to rebalance our mental and physical well-being.

How can Kalm Drops help restore a sense of balance and potentially improve mental health and longevity?

As a society, we tend to seek out pleasure — maybe a bit too much. Sometimes we need to draw ourselves inward and confront the imbalance caused by the immoderation of negative emotions, junk food, and neglect of the spirit.

Kalm Drops by Good Bitters can help disrupt this pattern of excessive self-gratification by shocking the senses with something bitter. Use Kalm Drops while meditating, practicing yoga, or any time you need a reminder to work on your mental health and longevity.

The Importance of Taking A Holistic Approach To Mental Health and Longevity

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the term ‘holistic’ is defined as, “relating to the whole of something or to the total system instead of just to its parts.” This definition reflects the main concept of holistic health.

The holistic health approach does not just focus on one issue and one part of the self. Instead, this approach suggests that all issues and all parts of health are interconnected with your mind, body, spirit, and environment.

Physical health, mental health, and longevity are interwoven and dependent on one another. So when you focus on only one aspect of health, you may not be fully nurturing yourself.

Ready To Restore a Sense of Balance to Your Mind? Kalm Drops From Good Bitters May Help

A holistic approach to physical health, mental health, and longevity may be the approach that could help you live your healthiest, longest, and happiest life.

To maintain holistic balance, we sometimes must recenter ourselves through the practice of mindfulness and moderation. Too much of anything, like stress or sugar, may unbalance our physical, mental, and spiritual health.

Good Bitters is a company that aims to provide people with a tool that may help them reduce overindulgence and shock their senses to regain balance.

Find out how Kalm Drops from Good Bitters might help you find yourself in the balance of life.

The content in this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

​​Disclaimer: The information on this website is taken from traditional wisdom and modern research/databases and is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to act as medical advice or to replace medical treatment. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The statements and information on this website have not been evaluated by the FDA. Please consult a knowledgeable healthcare provider for your individual needs.

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