Thoughts on Health, Vitality, Joy, Freedom, Relevance, and Performance
by Kit Cassingham, Longevity Coach
Science and medicine have taken great strides to heal people, to find the causes of natural death and disease, and to find cures. And that search continues — we have a long way to go. Still, I believe answers are closer than ever for the solutions that will lead to even greater health, longevity, and performance.
But the human mindset lags that research. Too many people believe they have little or no control over their health, longevity, and performance. Too many people are satisfied, even content, with their life’s status quo.
Too many people aren’t aware that their lifespan is already being extended by the progress of science and medicine, so aren’t prepared for the positive things that are already happening.
And, too many people are unaware that only 20% of their health, longevity, and performance is genetic, meaning that 80% is in their control.
As with most progress, longevity will first be embraced by the rebels, the “early adopters”, and the people who like experimenting with early science advancements and what makes them feel better. Keep your eye on those people, and consider upping your game. They help prove what science and medicine are researching. They help forge the way for the later adopters.
Longevity is the combination of healthspan and lifespan.
When healthspan and lifespan are equal, you age with good health and vibrancy, with joy and freedom, with greater performance. Longevity isn’t “old age” in the way most people think of it: as declining into decrepitude. When you keep your health good, you live longer in a vibrant way. Keep your health strong and live longer with better performance. Isn’t good performance and relevance what people want in their lives? With a longevity mindset you can live longer, avoiding the decline into decrepitude, for more vibrant and healthy living. That declining stage has been thought of as old age, and what we want to avoid.
It’s important to plan for those additional years. To me, the value of living longer is you are able to share your collected knowledge and developed wisdom, you are able to experience and do more, and you are able to spend more quality time with friends and family.
Longer life is happening whether you buy into it or not, whether you think you can live longer or not. We have already been gifted, on average, an extra 30 years — so far! And those years aren’t tacked onto the end, they are tucked into the middle, into your “mid-life”. Think of the adventures and contributions you can make! And think of the preparations you need to make for those extra years.
Research shows that your most productive years are those between 70 and 80. The second most productive years are between 60 and 70. Those are the years from which too many people have unplugged and quit striving to do more and give more. What a waste! What a shame.
Scientific advancement makes it possible to improve your longevity, not just from the use of technology, but also from the increased knowledge of what makes the body work better. Certain lifestyle changes improve your health and vibrancy, which increases your longevity and performance. It’s those lifestyle changes I’m addressing here.
As this disease some call aging is better understood by scientists, its sources will be uncovered so cures can be developed. Can you imagine a life of no more cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, or any other disease presently related to aging? Well, if not “no more”, a lot less?
Many think they’ll be frail and decrepit in their 70s and 80s, based on what they’ve observed in their family and society. That belief is outdated. My belief in my having a longer lifespan came from observing my folks living longer and more vibrantly than their folks, who outlived their folks, who outlived their folks. I’ve developed my mindset to support my longevity belief, which guides my life and daily actions, and watching others age with great mindsets reinforces it all. You can too.
It is my goal to change your mindset to one of acknowledging that longevity is already your reality. Yes, there are some of us who know it’s possible to extend it even more and seek that today. But there are too many who shy away and deny it, and even scorn the possibility. Life is a gift, so to do other than embrace it is to throw part of that gift away. All the best science and medicine in the world won’t help, won’t matter in your vibrancy, if you deny your human right to good health, longevity, and performance. If you don’t embrace your longevity you will suffer the frailty you want to avoid — but for longer than you would if you took charge of your life today and started developing your mindset to be encouraging of a vibrant life. Will you have the health, vibrancy, performance, and finances to get you to the finish line? Will you continue to be relevant?
Part of the way I feel you can change your mindset is to realize that you can live your life on your terms, not the terms of your ancestors, parents, teachers, and employers. To do that, take the first step and rediscover your values and make them the foundation of your life. Since you are redefining your life with the extra years you’ve been gifted, it’s time to live intentionally.
Your part in this advancement is tuning your mindset to one of possibility, a mindset of “I can do this”. It’s your opportunity to live a longer, more vibrant life, and an infinite-game mindset is part of your solution. A mindset of joy and freedom.
To activate this infinite-game mindset, an open or growth-oriented mindset, start with being curious. Explore ways you can improve your health and life — mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. When you see and feel improvements in your health and vibrancy you are inspired to do even more.
One step at a time is the way to change and grow, to improve your lifestyle. You don’t want to try to do it all in one big step, you want to do it slowly and surely. You want the changes to be lasting.
A longevity and performance mindset is comprised of your attitude and action in diet, movement, sleep, community, spiritual development, contribution or Purpose, and self-discipline. It’s all based on some mental aspects that need attention:
- living in gratitude
- expanding your joy
- increasing relevance
- maintaining optimism
- dropping expectations
- following your curiosity
- exploring awe and wonder
- staying engaged and connected.
I believe every person deserves the right to a long, healthy, and joyous life of relevance, possibilities, and performance. My coaching practice is geared toward helping you get there.
My Longevity Values
I Believe In Community. Our life blood of joy, connection, and good mental health comes from frequent interaction with our community. Gather with friends, family, neighbors, associates, and service providers. There are so many people in your life who add to your joy — as you add to theirs. Such interactions are needed to live healthy, productive lives. These interactions demonstrate and reflect back to you your relevance. Society has moved away from community, disconnecting the family unit, the village unit, and the bigger picture. Rigid “community rules” have alienated some people from the joys and benefits of community.
Community isn’t necessarily large groups of people. Community isn’t cliques. Community isn’t a cult. Community isn’t control of member’s lives. Community is support and connection. Community is caring.
We need to reestablish the beauty and power of what community can provide. People need to feel that they have something to give and get from being in community — the foundation of relevance. We are not islands unto ourselves. We are part of a whole. When we step away, we diminish the whole, to its detriment and ours. Community is a valuable element of longevity.
I Believe In Eating Well. Well means food that’s clean or organic, wild, free-range, regeneratively grown, and healthy. That’s important because whole food is good for the body, full of life-giving nutrition, and it’s sustainable. Skip the fast food, the junk food, and the “not food” that we are bombarded with and is so easy to consume. Whole food is ultimately less expensive than processed food plus medicine. Whole food is an important building block for longevity. Eating well also means eating less: Research shows that eating fewer calories increases longevity. “A little extra padding” as a “reserve” shortens life.
Staying properly hydrated is not to be debated or argued. Hydration means water; pure, clean water. You are 76% water and that needs to be replenished daily. The more active you are, the more you need. Every cell in your body needs water, starting with your brain and flowing down to the tip of your toes. The same cells that need water need the nourishment that whole foods provide.
I Believe In Environmental Quality. Protect your internal and external environments. Reduce the toxins that suck life and vitality from you. The same toxins that rape and poison the earth, poison us. Poisons like plastics, dirty water and air, chemical-based scents, and heavy metals. And there are more subtle and insidious toxins like the negative people and situations in your life. The people who don’t like or accept you for who you are, who don’t respect you, or take advantage of you, suck the life and vitality from you as much as the toxins that pollute the earth. Keep your external and internal environments clean and healthy.
I Believe In Gratitude. The benefit we experience when we practice gratitude includes joy, awe, and meaning. It increases motivation and decreases fear and anxiety. Gratitude keeps us mindful of the good in our lives — and the world. That mindfulness lifts our spirits and life satisfaction. We are more hopeful when we have a daily gratitude practice. The experience of gratitude adds to a meaningful life, and that meaning ripples out in impactful ways. Finding and experiencing gratitude when life is weighing us down improves your mental health, and adds to your longevity formula.
I Believe In Pushing Limits. Growth comes from challenge. One way to challenge yourself is to push your limits — exceed your comfort zone — in various areas of your life. You can intentionally exceed your comfort zone and get uncomfortable temporarily to improve your health and immunity, or you can intentionally stay in your comfort zone and slide into early decline and be uncomfortable all along the way. Be prepared to go to extremes and shock your body (as a body builder does when lifting weights) with temperature extremes, hunger, carrying heavy things, and your breath. Push your brain by learning new things like languages, a musical instrument, games, sports, and challenging topics. Studies are revealing that reduced calories and a reduced “eating window”, which can push your limits initially, is the most important and primary key to longevity. The one thing you don’t want to make uncomfortable is your sleep.
I Believe In Mindset. An open-minded and limitless mindset keeps your life open to more opportunities. You’ll appreciate and expand gratitude more readily with this kind of mindset. When you are growth-minded you can embrace challenge and change, realities everyone experiences. Breathwork helps you manage and maintain your desired mindset. An optimistic mindset helps you stay present. It is a habit you develop and maintain. With an open mindset you have more resilience that helps you navigate stress, strife, and traumas.
I Believe In Moving. Make movement play — fun, childlike, and varied — so you’ll stick with it and get more out of it. Movement is good for you mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. What a perfect element to improve all aspects of your life, longevity, and performance. The ideal movement program is to do it daily. Walk. Stretch. Twist. Lift. Ride. Swim. Strengthen your muscles several times during the week. These efforts increase your core strength, flexibility, limberness, stamina, neural health, and cognition. It’s been shown that walking outside on uneven ground, as opposed to the sidewalk or road, exercises your visual, physical, and mental coordination — all of which improves your cognition and overall health. Fresh air and sunshine (and night shine) all contribute to a body that keeps going and going.
I Believe In Purpose. Live and share your Purpose for ultimate satisfaction. Living your Purpose keeps you relevant. There’s a thread through our lives that shows us what it is that lifts our hearts, makes us tick, and gives us joy. Our Purpose is our reason for being. It’s why we are on earth. When we live and share our Purpose, we are living from our heart. We are authentic when we are living within our Purpose. The gifts you give with the most ease and joy are grounded in your Purpose. The cool thing about Purpose is that there are many ways for the gift to manifest, and be shared. That manifestation is the What and How of your life.
I’ve seen people, in discussions on the What/How/Why of Purpose, confuse the Why with the What and How. It’s easy to confuse your Why, aka Purpose, with the What and How of your life. They help you see the ways of giving your gift, but they don’t override your Why, your Purpose. Life is a gift. Treat that gift with the same respect and appreciation you treat any gift. Discovering and sharing your Purpose is one expression of that respect.
I Believe In Self care. Think of your self care as the way to refuel yourself. Your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual aspects are healthier and happier when you prioritize your self care. Say Yes to you. Say No to things that don’t serve your Purpose or best interest. It’s the down time we incorporate into our days, weeks, and months that is important to our refueling or recovery. We have to receive in order to have what it takes to give. The balance of giving and receiving is the yin and yang of your joy. It takes a happy balance of the two to keep you happy and healthy and living your Purpose.
I Believe In Simplicity. Decrease possessions that weigh you down. Slow down, live each moment as the unique moment of time it is. Save more, spend less so you have the mindset of more — and the finances to carry you through your extra gifted years. This is the stop-and-smells-the-roses component of longevity. When you are grasping as much to yourself as you can, and one-upping the Jones, you are missing the small and powerful joys of life. The more you own and collect, the more weight and burden you carry. How many balls can a Labrador hold in its mouth — successfully? When the Labrador decides to go after just one ball or stick, it gets more out of the game, and life. It’s the same with you.
I Believe In Sleep. Sleep is a necessary activity that we tend to sweep aside with statements like “I can sleep when I’m dead”, “I’ll catch up on my sleep after this project is done”, or “I don’t need as much sleep as others”. What you are missing is the importance sleeping is to your brain, immune system, anchoring your memory and knowledge, and improving your metabolism. Bragging about how little sleep you get doesn’t earn you any medals or awards, it earns you reduced function and performance. Sleep isn’t important just for the refueling it gives you on a daily basis, it’s also important for the diverse benefits to myriad body, brain functions, and recovery. A life of great performance relies in part on your sleep quality and quantity.
I Believe In A Spiritual Life. The awe and wonder of the universe creates joy and satisfaction. “Spiritual” in my usage refers to the awe and wonder you experience in your world — in the universe. A spiritual life connects us to each other and the world we live in. Nurturing that awe and wonder is accomplished through numerous paths. Awe walks and meditation are two of the best ways to nurture our spiritual life. Adopting a daily meditation practice has been proven to boost our health, and add vibrancy to our life. The awe walk gets us outside where we can tune into nature, tune into our bodies, be contemplative or reflective, and let our emotions get retuned for joy and peace. Similar practices in a religious context are also effective. Time in nature has similar benefits and values in our lives.
These are the 12 aspects of Longevity that I feel are critical to your long, vibrant life of joy and freedom — a life of top performance in all you do.
What Next? Enjoy life’s adventure. Sometimes that adventure is best when it’s full of surprises. Yet, some adventures are best when anticipated and planned for. Longevity — with an equal lifespan and healthspan, plus performance and relevance — is an adventure that will be filled with more joy and freedom when you take the steps needed to prepare. When you always give your best and do your best, the best is what you get back. Let me be your guide.
About Kit Cassingham, Longevity Coach
The opportunity in challenge excites me.
Live a long, relevant, and vibrant life.
I am blessed with high energy, intensity,
a quirky sense of humor,
a sense of curiosity,
… and a passion for adventure.
Since my twenties I have:
- Watched people struggle with their Purpose and give up when their partner died or they retired;
- Observed my parents living longer than their parents who lived longer than their parents and concluded I’ll live longer too; and
- Seen how a healthy diet, living with Purpose, and an active lifestyle have contributed to my vibrancy, without even a hint of feeling old!
I put those elements together and realized I could live well into my 100s. So I set about to find my Purpose, learn to make healthy lifestyle decisions, and to expand my horizons through adventure and learning. I feel I’m always challenging myself to be and do better, and to find a better way to improve myself. While that’s always a work in progress, I feel I am on my path and well into a vibrant, long life, and into a matching lifespan and healthspan — the definition of not only longevity but also a self-actualized life.
I bring the same energy, intensity, challenge, adventure, and attention to my business and clients as I do my life.
Questions? Contact Me: