Shirley MacLaine’s approach to life has her living well

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Icon Shirley MacLaine has two upcoming projects, proving that, at 88, there’s still a lot of life left in her yet, but what are her tips for vitality? “I eat what I want [and] I sleep when I want,” Shirley said in a previous interview, back in 2019. She was 85 at the time, and it seems her lifestyle has put her in good stead, as Shirley turns 89 this year, on April 24.

In the candid chat to People, the Terms of Endearment (1984) Oscar winner revealed her calm and relaxed demeanour.

“Not that much bothers me,” she confessed. “I think attitudes are a choice. Anger is a choice, peace is a choice, sarcasm — which is what I’m good at — is a choice.”

By alleviating stressful emotions, Shirley could be protecting herself against disease.

Stress, after all, can contribute to the onset of numerous ailments, says the Mayp Clinic, including:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes.

There can be physical and emotional repercussions for feeling overly stressed, which can impact a person’s behaviour.

Stress, for example, can lead to:

  • Headaches
  • Muscle tension
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Changes in sex drive
  • Stomach upset
  • Sleep problems.

Stress can influence a person’s mood, making them feel more restless, or anxiety.

Without adequate stress management, a person might suffer from anxiety, irritability, and depression.

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“If you have stress symptoms, taking steps to manage your stress can have many health benefits,” the Mayo Clinic adds.

Stress management techniques can include:

  • Exercise
  • Deep breathing
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Tai Chi
  • Massage
  • Humour
  • Socialising
  • Hobbies.

The Mayo Clinic warns that “inactive” distractions from stress might not be good for you.

It notes: “Watching television, surfing the internet or playing video games may seem relaxing, but they may increase your stress over the long term.”

The Mayo Clinic adds: “And be sure to get plenty of sleep and eat a healthy, balanced diet.

“Avoid tobacco use, excess caffeine and alcohol, and the use of illegal substances.”

In another interview, with Variety, Shirley admitted that she “didn’t socialise Hollywood style”.

As Hollywood parties are associated with debauchery, it could be that Shirley didn’t engage in unhealthy behaviours that might have cut her life short.

Instead, the actress preferred to travel to see different parts of the world.

Travel has been associated with longevity, according to Dr Howard Friedman of the University of California.

“Travel can promote that sense of curiosity and persistence in learning and doing new things… these characteristics helped promote longevity,” said Dr Friedman.

Shirley MacLaine starred in Steel Magnolias, which is showcasing on Saturday, March 18 on Channel 5 at 2.05pm.

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