Golden Girls star Betty White has been beloved in and beyond Hollywood for over seven decades and when she isn’t acting she is advocating for animal health. Focusing on the positive side of life and caring for others, seems to be Betty’s secret for longevity. Although cliche sounding, the star revealed that laughter may truly be the best medicine.
Speaking to People ahead of her 99th birthday back in January of this year, the actress said that she is “blessed with good health.”
Due to her fortunate health she is able to carry on doing the things she loves. She said: “Turning 99 is no different than turning 98. Age was not important. It was where your head was.”
Losing both of her parents when they were in their 80s, Betty has a family history of living until old age. Although it might just be good genetics, there are other certain staples in Betty’s life that keep her youthful.
The number one tip being a sense of humor. “Don’t take yourself too seriously,” she told People. “You can lie to others— not that I would—but you cannot lie to yourself.”
READ MORE: Pfizer booster shot: The ‘unexpected’ side effect after third dose
Although admitting that her secret to living longer is a tad “corny,” she explains that an optimistic outlook on life is worth it.
She said: “I try to see the funny side and the upside, not the downside. I get bored with people who complain about this or that. It’s such a waste of time.”
“Enjoy life,” she added. “Accentuate the positive, not the negative. It sounds so trite, but a lot of people will pick out something to complain about, rather than say, ‘Hey, that was great!’ It’s not hard to find great stuff if you look.”
Looking to the experts, Betty’s tip may be more accurate than first thought. According to Science Daily, stress is one of the biggest causes for shortened life-expectancy.
For a 30-year-old man life expectancy is shortened by 2.8 years when under heavy stress. Similar results were found for 30-year-old women whose lives were shortened by 2.3 years.
According to Mayo Clinic, there’s a whole host of ways stress can affect your physical health, ultimately leading to a grim result.
Headaches, muscle tension, chest pain, gastrointestinal problems, fatigue, and changes in sleep patterns are all common (and unpleasant) symptoms of prolonged stress and anxiety.
The health authority warns that when left unchecked, emotional strain can trigger serious health concerns including obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and even heart attack or stroke. Viewed in that light, everyday worries that send your stress levels soaring can take on a whole new significance.
Although there is no clear explanation on why stress leads to a shortened lifespan, some experts believe that it is related to high levels of cortisol – a hormone that is secreted when someone is feeling threatened or stressed and experiences the flight-or-fight response. Too much cortisol has been shown to lower the immune system and affect heart health.
In order to manage stress levels in your day-to-day life, Very Well Mind recommends daily routines such as yoga or meditation. Other simple stress management techniques include letting your feelings out on paper by jotting them into a journal, listening to music, and getting regular physical activity.
Professor Cary Cooper, an occupational health expert from the University of Lancaster also echoes the wise words of Betty White. He said that emotional strength, being in control of your situation, having a good social network and adopting a positive outlook are the keys to good stress management.
He provides 10 key “stress-busting” suggestions which are:
- Be active
- Take control
- Connect with people
- Have some ‘me’ time
- Challenge yourself
- Avoid unhealthy habits
- Help other people
- Work smarter not harder
- Try to be positive
- Accept the things you can’t change.
In a similar vein Betty also prioritises treating herself, saying that her favourite foods are “vodka and dogs – probably in that order.”
She is also able to stay active in the most creative of ways, going up and down the stairs in her two-storey house.
If you have tried self-help techniques and they do not seem to be working it is recommended that you go to see your GP, they may suggest other coping techniques for you to try or recommend a type of therapy.