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According to the World Health Organization, the average life expectancy around the globe is 71.4 years. As Canadians, we can expect to live on average just over 82 years. But why are so many citizens of Okinawa Japan living to over 100 years of age?

Secrets of longevity

While there may not be a “secret” to living a longer and healthier life, there are many factors. Diet and exercise are the obvious ones that come to mind, but factors such as the amount of time spent in the sun and a positive mindset may also have an impact.

According to the Okinawa Centenarian Study, there are approximately 740 out of a total of 1.3 million citizens that are 100 years or older. This works out to almost 5 times more than in the United States.

Some factors that perhaps lead to the high life expectancy could be in the mindset of the Okinawans. One old adage they live by is “eat until you are 80% full.” In addition a positive outlook on life and strong social support also play a big role.

How smiling may help you live longer

As seen in the study of Okinawa, a positive mindset and a strong social network play a big part in living longer. Interestingly, these same factors have also been shown to increase one’s happiness!

As we discussed in previous posts, smiling more often can help reduce stress and improve your heart health. In general, smiling leads to being happier.

If something simple as smiling more can have such an impact on your health and well being, the compound effect of all the benefits of smiling may actually have a bigger impact in increasing your life expectancy.

Be proud of your smile!

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