Blue Zones in the New Year

 Arcata, California. Photo by Dayamudra Ann Dennehy

Arcata, California. Photo by Dayamudra Ann Dennehy

What 9 habits would allow you to live your very fullest life? What gives you a sense of ease and connection? As we begin a new rotation around the Sun, let’s look to the so-called Blue Zones for tips on resolutions worth setting and keeping, with grace and delight.

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The Blue Zones are “longevity hotspots” in different corners of the world, where folks set records for living the longest and healthiest lives. These zones are Okinawa in Japan, Sardinia in Italy, Loma Linda in California USA, Ikaria in Greece and Nicoya in Costa Rica, and they share 9 lifestyle habits.

According to an article by The World Economic Forum, folks in the Blue Zones have a purpose in their life, something that keeps them inspired and motivated. They keep active, moving naturally throughout the day,  and they also regularly take time to chill out. Their diets are plant-based, they avoid overeating by stopping when their bellies are 80% full, and they drink a regular and moderate amount of alcohol. These people are committed to a faith-based community, they are tight with family and they have strong social networks. According to the WEF, the way people in these communities "move, eat and connect" keep them healthy and vibrant.

Dan Buettner coined the term "Blue Zones", and in his TEDX talk  "How To Live to Be 100+", he describes the Blue Zone habits in detail. He concludes that "if you hang out with unhealthy people, that's going to have a measurable impact over time. Instead, if your friend's idea of recreation is physical activity, bowling, or playing hockey, biking or gardening, if your friends drink a little, but not too much, and they eat right, and they're engaged, and they're trusting and trustworthy, that is going to have the biggest impact over time." In his in his book "The Blue Zones of Happiness" Buettner describes the three strands of happiness as pleasure, purpose, and pride.

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 The daily habits, routines and rituals of the Blue Zones provide a sense of balance. emotional support and meaning. In the year ahead I resolve to bring awareness to these 9 areas and see how I feel. Why not try it with me? Let's spend 2018 in the Blue Zone.