In this series, we’re examining The Power 9, nine common characteristics of those who live in the Blue Zones.
To read more about the BLUE ZONES, click HERE.
No. 1: MOVE NATURALLY.
Nos. 2 and 3: Define Your Purpose and Downshift.
Nos. 4 and 5: 80% Rule and PLANT SLANT.
No. 6: WINE @ FIVE
Today we’re looking at the last three of the Power 9 that all relate to family and friends: No. 7, Right Tribe; No. 8, Belong; and No. 9, Loved Ones First.
7. RIGHT TRIBE
We share our lives with our friends, and we also share our habits, be they healthy or otherwise! Smoking, happiness, and even loneliness are all contagious; obesity is, too. You will be influenced either positively or negatively by your friends. Will they add years to your life or perhaps take them away?
The world’s longest-lived people (Blue Zones) are either born into or choose to create social circles that support healthy behaviors. Ikarians enjoy tight-knit communities that socialize frequently; Okinawans build moai groups of five friends that commit to each other for life. You can read more about moai HERE.
Healthy friendships have a profound, positive impact on everyone involved. It’s important to nurture and maintain your friendships. Show sincere care and interest. Make an effort to see them regularly. Make time and plans to spend together.
8. FAITH BASED SENSE OF BELONGING
All but five of the 263 centenarians interviewed in the original Blue Zones areas studies belonged to some faith-based community. Research shows that attending faith-based services four times per month will add 4-14 years of life expectancy. Neither the denomination nor the nature of the beliefs matter; the key is belonging and gathering regularly with others of shared beliefs.
9. LOVED ONES FIRST
In the Blue Zones, happy, healthy centenarians put families first. This can be evidenced in various ways, whether by a life-time commitment between spouses or keeping an aging parent in a home or spending regular playdates with grandkids.
Kids are an important part of the Blue Zones life cycle. Adults intentionally invest time and love into children so the kids will return the favor when the time comes.
One of the most unique things about people in Blue Zones is that they are not trying to be healthy. They are not restructuring their lives around the latest research or health trend. Even so, their good health goes beyond “good genes.” Genes dictate only 20% of longevity. Lifestyle and environment account for the rest. Their good health is a natural product of their way of life.
How encouraging to realize that the same potential lies within your hands! You have the ability to make daily choices and small changes that build into a healthier lifestyle.