What's the secret to living a long life? According to Greg Hicks, there are actually nine universal secrets to health, happiness and longevity, which he chronicles in his book Choosing Brilliant Health: 9 Choices That Redefine What It Takes to Create Lifelong Vitality and Well-Being. Greg says research has shown that positive emotions play a fundamental role in maintaining wellness, and he shares with Bob a few of the ways we can create positive behaviors and attitudes that will help us live longer.
Live with positive intentions. While we can't always choose our circumstances, we can always choose our attitude, reactions and intentions—which in turn affect every cell in our body, Greg says. Not surprisingly, he says people who live longer give themselves positive "commands" for the day, beginning the moment they wake up. "The more we can be successful at choosing these positive attitudes, the more our brain creates these new neuropathways that make it so they become more our automatic responses than whatever our automatic responses [were]," Greg says.
Be accountable to yourself. Greg says people who live long tend to have a sense of competency and control that helps them tackle life's challenges, including disease or illness. On the other hand, people who don't have a sense of accountability tend to view themselves as powerless victims, he says. "Even though we may be victimized in life, if we panoramically see ourselves as a victim, we have shot ourselves in the foot because our body does not like this," he says.
Think about the things you love. Because thoughts have such a determining role on our health, Greg says it's important to identify your passions, envision them in your mind, journal them and share stories about them on a regular basis. "Just thinking about something that you love or a passion of yours activates the same part of the brain that's actually experiencing that thing," he says.
Do the things you love. In addition to thinking positive thoughts about what gets you excited and happy about living life, Greg says you have to do those things too. To the degree that you can, make those activities central in your life if you want to live a good, long life, he says. "Living [your] passions is not debatable," Greg says.
Printed from Oprah.com on Thursday, December 12, 2013