According to the Oxford Dictionary, being blue means ‘having a feeling of melancholy, sadness or depression’. The Blues is also a melancholic music form developed in rural southern America toward the end of the 19th century, but what you probably didn’t know is it’s also a set of principals that helps people live longer. That’s right, being blue is actually a good thing.
Of course, in this context, being blue is actually a lot more like living green. The Blue Zones Project is an organization whose mission is “Informed and inspired by the world’s longest-lived cultures, our mission is to empower everyone, everywhere to live longer, better” https://www.bluezones.com/
Through years of clinical and cultural research, the BZP has become a healthy living philosophy that has been proven to help people live longer, healthier and happier lives. Dan Buettner, the founder of BZP joined forces with National Geographic to study similar factors that contribute to living longer. They visited places like Greece, Italy, Japan, Southern California and Costa Rica where longevity is common and, through their research, they developed a philosophy of easily incorporated Power Habits that can not only keep your heart beating, but keep you smiling as well.
Now, although moving to Italy, Greece, or Southern California might sound appealing, you don’t have to cash out your 401K, get a loan, or pull up roots to take a drink from the fountain of youth. All you have to do is, well, be Blue.
- Move your body. – You don’t have to be a fitness freak, just turn off the device and go for a walk. Every Day. You might even discover you like it.
- Have a sense of purpose – Finding a purpose for living leads to greater satisfaction/happiness. Believe it or not, your purpose doesn’t even need to be earth-shattering. Whether you are a good parent, an attentive caregiver, or someone who picks up a piece of trash from the park, knowing that You Matter, matters.
- Less Stress – This might be the most challenging habit, but it’s also one of the most powerful. Finding ways to reduce the effects of stress have been clinically proven to add not only years, but happiness to your life.
- Eat to Live – Eat until you’re satisfied, not until you’re full. Eat to live, don’t live to eat. Enjoy food. Savor each flavor, don’t gobble to hobble. You’ll find by slowing down you’ll fill up faster and push away from the table feeling better.
- Fill your plate with plants – I’m not saying you need to go full bore vegan, just trade the double bacon and cheese burger, large fries and soda for a salad of some sort. Doing this even twice a week WILL improve your health.
- Drink (wine) moderately – We all need to let go now and then. Meet friends, enjoy a few beverages, laugh, and drive home safely, but doing so even every week can increase many risk factors that reduce longevity. Moderate or abnegate.
- Have Spirit – This research has proven you can add up to fourteen years to your life by participating in some form of community spirituality that meets a few times each month.
- Family Value- Whether they are family by blood or by bond, keeping those we love the most close is as valuable and beneficial as eating right and exercising.
- Choose your friends wisely – It goes without saying that toxic friends lead to a toxic life. Poison is poison.
- Forgive – Research suggests that forgiveness is associated with lower levels of depression, anxiety, and hostility; reduced substance abuse; higher self-esteem; and greater life satisfaction.
OK, so incorporating all of these changes may not be entirely simple, but through the coming weeks, I’m going to delve deeper into each one of these Power Habits, to help inspire you to make them part of your life. I hope you will join me on the journey.