100 Ways To Live A Better Life

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I did this once already, in a strange, waking dream, on a moonless spring night years ago. Several Austrian friends and I were doing a skis-and-skins tour, as we did every weekend until a sun-blasted Sunday in mid-June, when by tradition our last runout ended in the middle of a small stream, skis submerged and boots filling with snowmelt. Jah, und? I am thinking in rough-and-tumble mountaineer's German now, thinking that although what we did that dark night was a long run down a shallow glacier, I may have misplaced the glacier.

Memory is a great liar. Does the Dachstein even have a glacier? From three decades' distance, I'm not certain. No matter. Wherever we were, we were there, traversing from one high valley up and over to another, well before dawn. We stripped off climbing skins, locked our heels down the reinvention of telemarking came a decade later , and shoved off into blackness, one by one.

The high, indistinct horizon offered nothing to brace my balance against. Since I could see nothing except a few stars, the only way to judge speed was by the sound of skis on hard corn snow. I was skiing by ear. This slow, dreamlike descent went on for maybe 10 minutes. Then I realized I no longer heard the scrape of skis on snow.

The glacier had flattened, and I had stopped. A cough and the rustle of equipment said that my friends had beached nearby. No one spoke. I reached down and freed my bindings, a man roused from sleep. Catch an Eruption. Popocatepetl, Mexico? Mostly steam and ash — big deal. Lava flow you want? Merapi, Indonesia, is the place, but you could wait around forever for some decent village mayhem.

So get to Stromboli, Italy, which has several eruptions a day and gooey "lava blobs" around the crater, seething like alien life. There are still some dandies out there, they say: Atahuallpa's golden rope pure and hundreds of feet long , coiled away in the Andes; that old standby Atlantis. But you can start closer to home, on Oak Island. In , on this outcrop off Nova Scotia, three men found a huge oak with a limb sawed off and a filled-in pit beneath the missing branch.

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They began digging, and every 10 feet found an oak platform or other blockage. A hundred feet down, the pit filled with seawater. Since then, wild fables of what lurks below have sprouted: Inca gold, pirate loot, Marie Antoinette's jewels The latest whopper dates to , when an underwater camera is said to have photographed wooden chests and — a priceless detail, authentic or not — a human hand. My grandfather, Ray Frazier, worked all his adult life in a steel mill in Cleveland.

He worked six-and-a-half days a week, he never took vacations, and he telephoned the plant to check on the blast furnaces first thing when he got up in the morning and last thing before he went to bed. Through the Depression and World War II, he essentially worked himself to death at the mill, and he died in , the year I was born. I am so post-industrial that I have never set foot inside a steel mill, let alone worked in one.

I have almost no mechanical skills, and often must ask for help with tasks like adjusting the position of the driver's seat in my rental car. Nevertheless, I would like one day to make some steel. If I had the time and money, here's what I would do: I would drive a small truck up to the ore deposits around Duluth, Minnesota, obtain preferably by digging a half-ton or so of iron ore, and take it to my friend Tim's house in western Massachusetts. He likes the idea of making steel from scratch, and says he thinks it can be done.

We would build a small furnace, get or make some coke for fuel, build a smelter I haven't worked out the details. Mainly what I envision is a period of sweat and grime and minor burns culminating in the final product: an ingot glowing bright red, which cools to my own personal gunmetal-silver slab of raw steel. I would put it on my bookshelf as a totemic object, as an homage to my grandfather, and as a small laugh in the face of industrial decline and the all-conquering service economy. Catch a Fish on a Fly You Tied. Call Expediciones Agua Azul for itineraries, I make the laws," an immigration officer in Kinshasa told a friend of mine recently, as he extorted money from him.

My dream, my answer, is the ultimate trip: Trespassing, traveling as far as possible without a passport, entering countries secretly and illegally. In this anti-bureaucratic fantasy I have several itineraries. One is London to Australia, crossing Europe — easy enough — to Greece, and sneaking over the Turkish frontier, Iran, and Pakistan, or through former Soviet republics, to India and thence through Bangladesh, Burma, Thailand, and Malaysia, after which fishing boats would be needed, for passage via Borneo to the Philippines, to New Guinea, to Australia.

Canada to Buenos Aires is also appealing, and I think possible; and so is a trans-Africa jaunt, or Paris to Vladivostok. There are risks, but it seems that the likelihood of death or jail would sharpen your wits and make you inventive. For avoiding checkpoints one would have to acquire some climbing, trekking, or swimming skills, since many borders are borders precisely because of a mountain range or a river or a stretch of desert.

As for your excuse if you are caught, the most plausible one is insanity. In these circumstances, it might work, because it would be substantially true. No one in his right mind would attempt this. Ground zero at 15, feet: In , a French physician named Michel-Gabriel Paccard and a friend scaled the roof of the Alps, word spread across the continent, and people haven't looked at rock the same way since.

Spend the Night in a Tree. There are times in every life that demand a modest act of penance — you have made needlessly cutting remarks to your mom or your sweetie, or been caught pretending to know the difference between wines or trout flies or Carolingian poets. When, in short, you've made a petty fool of yourself and are suffering from well-deserved shame, a cheap remedy is to spend the night in a tree.

If executed with rigor this exercise offers a graduated out-of-body experience that approximates attending your own funeral. One such interlude should do you for a lifetime. Avoid rural or wilderness trees, which may ennoble you undeservedly by their surroundings. For the proper effect, choose a large tree in some lively suburb or urban neighborhood. A city park or a cemetery near a lighted thoroughfare might offer the right tree, tall enough, strong, with crotches to straddle and a view of normal human activity.

The tree in your own front yard is out of bounds unless you have run away from home and actually want a view of your distraught loved ones calling and searching for you, pacing the floor in agony, etc. We do not condone this selfish practice. For the true penitent, invisibility is crucial. The view is important but secondary. Dress darkly, and for the weather. Wear a big coat that buttons in front. Bring a six- or eight-foot bungee cord with hooks at both ends. Do not bring food or drink. A single box of Tic Tacs is permissible for moistening the mouth, but carry the mints loose in a pocket to prevent rattling noises.

Find your perch. Embrace a sturdy branch that can support you. Open your coat and button it around the branch so you won't fall if you doze off. If the branch is too big, strap yourself on with the bungee cord. Hold still. Be quiet. No dropping of twigs, leaves, or bodily fluids on those below is allowed. Listen to footsteps, conversations, snatches of music from passing cars.


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At first you feel superior, even scornful of the measly humans below. You delight in your secret spying. This will pass. As the wind rises and your circulation slows, as traffic thins and passersby become rare, you discover the chill of isolation. Confront the vile pettiness that brought you here. Self-pity intrudes. You may think you've had enough and can go home shriven. Only at the first stirring of the birds before dawn, allow yourself to climb down carefully.

Your eager smiles and greetings may alarm the delivery folk and newsboys on the street who don't recognize an exile returned. Go home and take a long hot shower. Phone those you've offended and apologize. You will already have forgiven yourself. And between sessions Beach slumming, sea-kayaking, jungle prowling. Good for tying off to anything you loop through: grommets in sails or tarps, mooring buoys, etc. Make a loop with the running end over the standing end. Holding that loop in your left hand, thread the running end up through the loop the rabbit goes out the hole Learn it this time!

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Whether you saddle up in an ocean kayak or Greenland's traditional qajaq — a sealskin-covered hunting craft — the craggy, mostly fjorded seas surrounding the island are some of the world's most remarkable. You'll likely see orcas, icebergs, towering coastal mountains, calving glaciers, and clouds of your own breath, hovering in the crystalline air.

From Saigon to Rangoon? You'd have to be crazy, say the guides. Catch malaria and die.

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Laos is a nightmare for foreigners; Cambodia, worse. So you might want to hold off a couple years, until Disney gets a decent toehold. Swim from One Landmass to Another.

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For mental rejuvenation. For the exercise, always more tolerable with a goal on the horizon. For the literary buzz of paddling in the wake of Lord Byron, who crossed the Hellespont. For the memories of summer camp, where the girls' cabins beckoned across the pond. For the sheer hell of it.


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Last July, under a fiercely hot Tuscan sun, I met my friend Fred Wessel at the gates of the ancient walled city of Siena. Fred is an artist, a specialist in egg tempera who visits Siena to pay homage to Simone Martini and Lorenzetti, the great 14th-century masters of egg tempera, and also a man with a keen appreciation for the weird. One thing he likes to show visitors is the mummified head of Saint Catherine, dead now years. The head reposes in a small gilt box in the cathedral of San Domenico.

In the gloom, one studies it by a dim yellow light that flickers from behind, illuminating the desiccated relic like a jack-o'-lantern. Komar says coffee also stimulates the nervous system, raising metabolism and increasing the oxidation of fatty acids, which can help with weight loss. Although you may think nuts are unhealthy because they are calorically dense, the exact opposite is true—they actually have a key role in how to live longer.

A study from Harvard found that daily nut-eaters were 20 percent less likely to die during the study. Specifically, the rates of death from cancer, heart disease, and respiratory disease were reduced. Other research has shown walnuts have a huge role in heart health because of the amount of antioxidants they contain. Plus, nuts are a great source of plant-based protein, Palinski-Wade says.

Here are 12 more anti-aging foods that can add years to your life. Certain spices have been touted for their health benefits. In any case, cooking with the spice may be a healthier alternative to salt or sugar. Another healthy substitute is cinnamon. You probably already know this secret of how to live longer. Jani says. Heavy drinking increases health risks, but drinking in moderation—particularly red wine—could help you live longer.

One study found those who drank lightly no more than one glass a day for women and two for men to have reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease. Check out these signs you could live to be The impact of stress on our overall health is huge, so reducing stress is one way to lower our risk of many deadly diseases. A study from the University of California found that chronically stressed women had significantly lower levels of klotho, a hormone that regulates the aging process. Another study found stress increased the risk of heart attack and stroke.

In addition, Dr. Reducing stress can also help improve sleep and interpersonal relationships, reduce overuse of drugs and alcohol, and lower stress hormones, says James Dewar, MD, vice chairman of family medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Although you might think aerobic exercise is all you need to do to stay physically active, adding strength training to your fitness routine helps you live a longer life, according to Harvard Medical School. A recent study from Penn State showed that older adults who did strength training twice a week had a lower risk of dying.

You can use your own weight resistance training , bands, calisthenics, free weights, or weight machines to reap the benefits. The research is clear: If you want to live longer, eat more fruits and vegetables. A recent study from Imperial College London found that those who ate 10 portions of fruit and vegetables a day had the greatest reduction in risk of disease. The study authors estimate 7. Dewar says fiber encourages regular bowel function, which can keep your digestive system working smoothly.

Connecting with other people is a great stress reliever, which can help your long-term health. And the best way to harness these benefits is by focusing not on yourself, but on others. Seppala says. Eating healthy fish is an important part of a life-extending diet. Here are more surprising omegarich foods that add years to your life. We lead busy lives, and the part of our day that often ends up getting cut is sleep. But if you want to actually have more days in your life, you need enough shut-eye. Studies show that poor sleep can lead to all kinds of health problems, from obesity and heart disease to depression, says sleep expert Richard Shane, PhD, creator of the Sleep Easily method.

In addition, he says good sleep can help your energy level, cognitive function, and personal relationships. Shane says. Research from University College London found that people who felt three years younger had a lower death rate than those who felt their age or older.

One explanation could be that our attitude towards age affects how healthily we live, Harvard psychology professor Ronald D. A recent study found that as little as 10 minutes of light activity a day—even simple things like walking around your home or doing chores—can reduce your risk of dying. On the other hand, Hopper says inactivity may be as bad for you as smoking!

Berries are known as one of the best sources of antioxidants, which can help prevent cell damage as we age. Shukitt-Hale says. Their bioactive properties have the potential to prevent or delay brain aging.


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In addition, Palinski-Wade says they can prevent cancer and heart disease. Studies have shown that keeping the brain stimulated leads to improved cognitive functioning for longer. Dewar also suggests social engagement, hobbies, and puzzles. Those who connect with others in meaningful ways have a greater chance of a long life, Dr. Eating this way works for the Japanese, who have the highest life expectancy in the world, according to a recent study.

According to research , how far you can stretch might be an indicator of how stiff your arteries are, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Stretching and flexibility exercises also help joint health, minimizing the risk of arthritis, which leads to less ability to exercise. Hop on a treadmill or stationary bike set it to an incline, start moving, and bring a book. Train the mind and body simultaneously. Study after study points to the amazing benefits of napping. Sleep is integral to being a healthy human being.

We are made to play and compete. There are also great fat-loss and health implications of engaging in sporting type activities. Think of it exercise without exercising.

Diets should be balanced, not perfect. A integral tenant of great conversation and winning friends and influencing people is listening. That means to shut up and really hear what someone is saying.

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Try to understand, relate, analyze and not just consider what the next thing you can say is. Smiling has been scientifically proven to put you in a better mood and make you happier; hormones. The body can dictate what the brain thinks. You will notice that depressed, angry, and generally unpleasant people rarely smile. We are made to move and we are doing it less and less in our society. Sitting is bad news bears and is prevalent more now than anytime in the history of man.

This will also rejuvenate your energy. Some of the greatest rewards in life come from helping and giving to others. Be a giver: one that gives to improve the lives of others; no receipt needed. Take action. The people who create success yes I said create for their lives are the ones that act. They are the doers. Practice Deliberate Practice. According to Wikiepedia :. An expert breaks down the skills that are required to be expert and focuses on improving those skill chunks during practice or day-to-day activities, often paired with immediate coaching feedback. An example of deliberate practice is playing a single line of music over and over until it is perfect.