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QUIZ: What’s Your Longevity Score?

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pop quizThis article originally appeared on Live in the Now.

I don’t need to tell you that certain dietary and lifestyle choices can impact your lifespan. But, believe it or not, some people neglect some of the most critical elements of wellness.

If you have a conscientious doctor, you’ve probably been asked important health questions such as:

  • Are you eating a mostly vegetable based diet?
  • Are you avoiding sugar and limiting glucose-spiking carbohydrates?
  • Are you choosing organic?
  • Are you avoiding unhealthy habits, such as smoking and excessive alcohol and caffeine    intake?
  • Are you exercising regularly?
  • Do you get enough sleep?

If your doctor is particularly hip, you may have also been asked about your stress levels and what you’re doing to keep your stress under control. But is your doctor helping you understand what stress really is? You may think it’s all about how long your “to do” list is, but you may not realize what stress is to your body.

What Is Stress?

As I wrote about in Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself, as far as your nervous system is concerned, stress is anything that triggers the amygdala in your primordial limbic system to activate the “fight-or-flight” stress response. And whenever this happens, your body’s natural self-repair mechanisms — the ones that help prevent heart disease, fight cancer, ward off infection and assist in anti-aging — get flipped off. As far as your body’s health is concerned, thoughts, beliefs and feelings that trigger the stress response may damage your health more than a poor diet, avoiding exercise, bad habits and sleep deprivation.

But the good news is that the opposite is also true. Because your thoughts, beliefs and feelings are at least partially under your control, you have the power to switch off your body’s stress responses and return the nervous system to the health-inducing relaxation response that activates the body’s natural self-repair.

So which questions should your doctor be asking? Which ones should you be asking yourself?

Check out the following questions which assess your “whole health” and which all have been scientifically proven to affect your health and longevity.

Take the Whole Health Quiz

  1. Do you feel well supported with loving community and intimate relationships with friends and      family who allow you to express your authentic self?
  2. Do you feel in touch with your life’s purpose?
  3. Are you able to stay in alignment with your integrity in your professional life?
  4. Do you feel financially secure?
  5. Are you eating a mostly vegetable based diet?
  6. Are you in a nurturing relationship with a romantic partner who allows you to express your      authentic self?
  7. Do you feel satisfied sexually, either with or without a partner?
  8. Are you avoiding sugar and limiting glucose-spiking carbohydrates like white pasta and      bread?
  9. Are you able to set healthy boundaries with the people who stress you out?
  10. Are you comfortable saying no?
  11. Are you exercising regularly?
  12. Are you avoiding habits that can harm your health, such as cigarette smoking, excessive        alcohol intake and drinking too much caffeine?
  13. Do you feel spiritually connected to a Higher Power that you trust has your best interests at        heart?
  14. Do you have a healthy way to address negative emotions, such as anger, resentment,        grief, anxiety and depressed mood?
  15. Are you an optimist?
  16. Do you practice gratitude?
  17. Are you choosing organic?
  18. Do you engage in generous activities that serve others?
  19. Is your life enriched with scientifically-proven relaxation response activators, such as        meditation, prayer, laughter, hugs, playing with animals, orgasms, yoga, Tai Chi, Qigong,        massage, EFT (tapping) and alternative healing methodologies, such as acupuncture and        energy medicine?
  20. Do you live in an environment that is conducive to relaxation responses?
  21. Do you feel well equipped and appropriately supported to manage the details of day-to-day        life?
  22. Do you express yourself creatively in ways you enjoy?
  23. Do you let yourself nap if you need to?
  24. Are you mindful of the thoughts, feelings, beliefs and activities that trigger avoidable stress        responses in your body?
  25. Are you committed to doing whatever it takes to reduce stress responses and activate        relaxation responses in your body?
  26. Do you get enough sleep? (At least eight hours a night.)

Grade Yourself: How Many Times Did You Answer Yes?

26: Bring on that 100th Birthday!

You’re doing an excellent job of making sure you’re leading a healthy lifestyle, balancing all of life’s curve balls and still making time for yourself. Keep it up!

18-25: Getting by With Flying Colors

You’re only human, right? You do your best to stay healthy and active, but the weight of life’s stresses sometimes gets the best of you. It’s natural. Just remember that sometimes you have to put yourself first. Take a look at the quiz again to see where you can add a few years to your life.

11-18: You’re Quite the Risk Taker

Vices such as caffeine and sugar are hard to let go of, and who has time for sleep? But if you want to live to see your 100th birthday, you may want to give yourself a little more love.

< 11: Are You Feeling Stressed or Unfulfilled?

You may at times feel disconnected from your closest friends and family members, and you may sometimes feel so stressed that you’re not sure you can manage. Run back through the list and write down your NOs. You can add years to your life by simply putting some energy into your emotional, mental and physical health. And for Goodness sake, make sure you get some sleep.

No Guarantees

Does this mean that if you answered “Yes” to all 20 questions, as well as the traditional health questions, you’ll be guaranteed to live a healthy life until you’re 100? Of course not. Life is a terminal condition. We will all die someday, and sadly, some will die young, in spite of doing every health-inducing behavior on this list. Some things just aren’t controllable, and tragic things happen to great people with excellent whole health habits.

What I can guarantee is that if you consciously engage in the whole health behaviors which this quiz assesses, you will be doing everything within your control to give yourself the best shot of living a healthy life well into old age.

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