Everyone wants to know what the secret to life is. What is it that will make us live long? What is it that will keep us well?
This is a loaded question with many different perspectives. Dan Buettner worked very hard to study the areas in the world where people live the longest and are the healthiest. In his book, “The Blue Zones Solution” he outlines the the secrets of living long:
1) Move naturally: exercise and live in enviroments that push you to move
2) Purpose: essentially having purpose or a goal in life
3) Downshift: relax, take it easy, find a way to reduce stress
4) Hara Hachi bu: eating until you are 80% full
5) Plant Slant: favoring a plant based diet and one rich in beans and lentils with small amounts of meat (mostly pork, interestingly) a few times per month
6) Wine at 5: 1-2 glasses of wine daily with friends/food (assuming no alcohol problem)
7) Right tribe: having a healthy social circle
8) Community: faith based community (denomination is irrelevant)
9) Loved ones first: family first
These are wonderful principles of life and we should all strive towards living like this. All it says is that you should eat well, focusing on real whole foods while finding time to relax in the day, socialize with friends, having a sense of community, and staying active. Doesn’t sound like anything too fancy does it? Really, it’s not. But it is hard for most of us, in our busy lives to figure out a way to do these things or to appreciate their power and beauty. Stop for a moment and think about these 9 points. In the blue zones of the world, these are the main things that people have in common….they all do this…and they live long healthy active lives. There is no magic fountain of youth or magic pill you can take. It boils down to being present and remaining grounded, doing what you love to do, have social connectedness, and treating your body the way it should be treated.
This book, The Blue Zones Solution, isn’t the only text that outlines these principles. There are studies that show how important social interactions and connectedness are and there are studies that show how little things like meditating can lengthen your telomeres, the caps at the end of DNA that keep us young.
So when you think and reflect upon your life and wonder what you can do to be healthier and what you can do to live a long happy life, just remember these above 9 principles. Start working on them one at a time and strive to do your best in these categories. I promise you will be healthier and happier, and in turn this will make your desire to optimize the other categories stronger.
Cheers to your health!