Over the years I abused my body with food, booze, alcohol and sex. When I was age 31, I lost over 100lbs. At 45 I gave up drinking, as after 29 years of enjoying alcohol I started having blackouts. Then at the age of 72, after smoking 2-3 packs of cigarettes a day for 52 years, I smoked my last cigarette just before I was about to be taken in for surgery to have an aorta valve replaced.
The only time in my life that I consciously physically exercised was when I went to boot camp in the U.S. Marine Corps. I joined a gym (they weren’t called spas back then in the 1970s) and went four times a week. I would go to the steam room, stand, sit and swim in the pool and watch all the guys lift weights and yet I didn’t lose an ounce!
Now, at the ripe old age of 79 I have: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Peripheral Artery Disease and Intermittent Claudication, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, psoriasis, Atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat) and in recently I was diagnosed with Type-2 Diabetes. All this means I take 13 meds a day, BUT, baby, there's not a blue pill among them and I can keep up (pun intended!) with anyone reading this when it comes to sex!
So why, unlike other senior citizens, do I not walk around with an oxygen tank or a walker or ride in a wheelchair? Why can I keep up in more ways than one with most guys 20-30 years younger than me? It's nothing to do with physical exercise: I honestly believe it is mental exercise which is keeping me young.
Over 40 years ago I went through Transactional Analysis therapy which some may know better as 'I’m OK, You're OK'. From a 2-3 second mental exercise, I do the first thing when I wake up in the morning until I go to sleep, my train of thought is on the positive track. It has gotten me through bankruptcy, a short spell of homelessness, losing the love of my life, losing a business and many other downers that happen to many of us in life. Having a fit and healthy body is great, but unless you change your mental attitude too, you will not feel all the benefits.
So, without further ado, here are my 21 top tips for living a happy, satisfying, active and fulfilling life!
1. First thing in the morning, before I do anything, I look in the mirror and say out loud, “Martin, you are OK!” and immediately put a smile on my face.
2. Whenever anybody asks me how I am doing, I instantly reply: “Fantastic!”
3. Never say never.
Start your day the right way: put a smile on your face and leave the house happy!
4. Don’t allow any negative people to become a part of your life.
5. Every day spend 30 minutes alone looking at what Mother Nature has done to make your world better.
6. Eliminate the word 'try' from a sentence, it then becomes a positive sentence.
Take time out to enjoy nature. That sea air sure is relaxing!
7. Say “thank you” when you get a compliment and don’t add, “Yes, but...”
8. Complement at least five people you know and five people you don’t know every day. Happiness is contagious.
9. Tell someone you love that you love them or send them a snail mail.
10. When someone has the nerve to reject you (what do they know?) tell yourself, or them, “It’s your loss.”
11. Use the word won’t instead of can’t.
12. Don’t hold in your anger. Take a pillow and yell at it, beat it up or get in a car and turn the radio high and just scream. Never go to sleep on arguments.
13. Don’t play games like “poor me,” “If it wasn’t for you...”, “If you loved me you would...”, “I shoulda, coulda, woulda...”, and the list goes on. Remember, it takes two to play a game in life, and YOU can stop it.
14. Own your feelings. No, he doesn't make you mad: you do that to yourself.
15. Yes, we all have faults, even me, but I don’t have to concentrate on them. If it is something I can change then I can change it or not. There are at least 12 good things about you and if you don’t think so, ask your friends and write them down.
16. Before going to sleep, when you're in bed and just turned the light out ‘smell the roses and blow out the candles’ ten times. In other words, breathe in deeply and then exhale as much air as you can, this will help to relax you and rest your mind.
17. Travel. The daily routine can make life monotonous. If you haven't got time for a round-the-world trip, take time out to plan some journeys to explore new lands and cultures. It helps to keep life fresh and break the boredom.
Escape, explore and change your scenery
18. When you feel guilty, you're spending time in the past, and when you worry, you're spending time in the future. Spend time dealing with the here and now.
19. Spoil yourself at least once a day.
Whether buns or doughnuts, treat yourself daily!
20. You do what you want to do even if it is something negative, don’t do anything you don’t want to.
21. Love yourself.
What are your tips for happiness? Let us know below!
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