Keys to Creating a Healthier and Longer Life
Discover nine overlapping eating habits and lifestyle practices that can help create a healthier, happier, and longer life.
As people have evolved over time, we have moved far away from just trying to survive in this world, but rather we are constantly seeking ways to live healthier, more vibrant lives. Researchers have discovered demographic and/or geographic hotspots around the world where people live significantly healthier and longer lives compared to the average person. These hotspots are actually called “Blue Zones” because as the exploration was being done, the researchers would draw blue circles on their map and call the region within the circles Blue Zones.
Based on empirical data and first hand observations, National Geographic Explorer and author of the
Blue Zones Solution
Dan Buettner describes why citizens of these hotspots tend to live measurably longer lives while also experiencing greater vitality. In comparing all of the regions, he found 9 overlapping eating habits and lifestyle practices that can help anyone create a healthy, happy, and longer life. Pick about 6 of the following practices and implement them into your life as long-term changes so you can gain benefit toward wellness.
- Move naturally every day. This does not mean go to the gym and walk or run on the treadmill for 30 minutes to 1 hour or joining the latest fad gym. Instead, take up gardening, walk to the store instead of drive, if it’s within a reasonable distance, use less mechanical conveniences for your house and yard work.
- Be able to articulate your sense of purpose. Beyond going to work, what do you live for? What is it you feel you are meant to be doing with your life?
- Have daily rituals that reverse the stress of everyday living. Stress leads to chronic inflammation, which is associated with practically every major disease state. You could meditate, take a nap, light a candle and cozy up with a good book and a cup of tea, socialize with like-minded optimistic friends at happy hour. The list could go on and on, but only you will know what suits you best in terms of what creates rest and relaxation in your life.
- Drink a little wine at 5 PM. Yes, this is true, but of course moderation is key here. Feel free to drink one to two glasses of wine per day with friends while at happy hour. It is important to note that saving all of your drinks for one day of binge drinking does not count toward creating a healthier life.
- Eat mostly a plant-based diet, especially beans and nuts.
- Follow the 80% rule when it comes to eating. Stop eating when your feel your stomach is 80% full. This may take some practice and perhaps a slower eating pace because you may not realize how full you are until it is too late, but following this practice could meant the difference between losing weight and not gaining it.
- Belong to a faith-based community. Research has shown that attending a faith-based service regardless of the denomination four times per month will add 4 to 14 years of life expectancy.
- Put family first and have elderly parents nearby. Invest in your children with time and love.
- Curate a special group of at least 4 to 5 friends that will nudge you in the right direction. These social groups should support healthy behaviors.
It can be difficult to change long-lived habits, but we definitely all have the ability to make decisions right now that will lead to a healthier, more joyful future. Change is possible no matter where you live, and baby steps are permitted!