A MONK'S LIFE
The way we live has a great impact on how long we live. On average, women live longer than men -- approximately six years longer in high-income countries and three years longer in low-income countries.
"In high-income countries, much of the gain in life expectancy is due to success in tackling noncommunicable diseases," said Dr. Ties Boerma in a news release by the World Health Organization. Dr. Boearma is the Director of the Department of Health Statistics and Information Systems at WHO. "Fewer men and women are dying before they get to their 60th birthday from heart disease and stroke. Richer countries have become better at monitoring and managing high blood pressure for example.”
But why such a difference between men and women? It has been a question that has been debated since the mid-18th century when the knowledge of females outliving men first surfaced. One word: lifestyle.
Dr. Marc Luy from the Vienna Institute of Demography conducted the Cloister Study, and concluded that life expectancy is not influenced so much so by gender, but by lifestyle. If men desire to live longer, they have to change their riskier lifestyle.
This brings me to leading a more stress-free life -- a life that doesn't contribute to alcohol, drugs, and diseases. A monk's life.
Dr. Luy is also the author of Causes of Male Excess Mortality: Insights from Cloistered Populations, in which he explains that monks could expect to live five more years than the general male population.
But aside from that, monks are known for radiating inner joy. Why is this?
Buddhist monks keep their material possessions to a bare minimum, enough to fit into a backpack. They take their example from the Buddha, who was born a prince but abandoned all material objects to focus on spiritual enlightenment.
Monks help others, not just themselves. They meditate for the sake of others and try to attain enlightenment so that they can help those in need. If you're selfless, your mind stops dwelling on personal problems, which can somethings turn into an obsession, and lead you down a negative path, instead of positively trying to solve them.
And monks meditate. Many of them up wake up around 4 a.m and meditate for one to three hours. This doesn't only reduce stress but it reinforces brain function. They also meditate at nights.
Lastly, a smooth transition into old age plays an important function in life expectancy for monks, who remain very involved even though they've reached a certain age.
Life expectancy in some countries is expected to rise by more than five years by 2030, with men closing the gap on women, as they stop smoking and drinking, while embracing a healthier lifestyle, while women on the other hand, are drinking and smoking more.
So, a monk's life is recommended for both sex. Wouldn't you agree?