No. 021 Reading Time 4 minutes
The mountains of Sardinia, the peninsula of Nicoya, and the islands of Okinawa and Ikara have one thing in common.
They are Blue zones.
A term coined for geographic areas where people live longer than average.
Gianni Pes and Michel Poulain discovered villages in Sardinia where people lived above 100. They drew blue circles around these villages.
Picture credits: Blue Zones
Dan Buettner, continued where they left. He is the New York best-selling author of the book - The Blue Zones: Secrets for Living Longer Lessons From the Healthiest Places on Earth
In his Netflix series Live to 100, Dan takes us to five blue zones across the globe. He discovered simple habits that are commonly practiced in all the locations.
People in blue zones, they're not thinking about their health or a diet or an exercise program. They're not doing anything except living their lives.
Here are 7 secrets you can learn from the blue zones to live healthier and happier lives:
1) Find your 'Why' or Purpose
The world’s longest-living people believe in figuring out their 'soul's purpose.'
For the Japanese in Okinawa, it could be Ikigai - an individual’s “reason for being.”
For the Nicoyans in Costa Rica, it is 'Plan de Vida.' It translates to "life plan" but has a deeper meaning — ”why I wake up in the morning.”
Having a purpose encourages you to contribute to serving the higher collective good. Sometimes this purpose can be as simple as passing the skills to the next generation.
90-year-olds in Nicoya, wake up at 5:00 and work on the farm until sunset. They ride horses.
Their driving force every day is to teach their great-grandchildren how to milk a cow or how to farm.
Knowing your sense of purpose is worth up to seven years of extra life expectancy.
2) Build Movement in Daily Life
The world's longest-living people don't go to the gym.
Their environment itself is a gym.
It nudges them to move. They take walks on the hilly terrain to the grocery stores, garden, and do chores without the modern conveniences.
Okinawans spend more time on the floor, either sitting or squatting.
3) Relieve stress
Every blue zone has its version of downshifting or relieving stress healthily.
Okinawans take a few moments each day to remember their ancestors.
Ikarians take a nap and Sardinians do happy hour.
4) Eat better to live longer
The people in the Blue zones do not overeat.
'Hara hachi bu' is a 2500-year-old Confucian mantra said before meals in Okinawa. It reminds them to stop eating when their stomachs are 80 percent full.
They eat their heaviest meal in the afternoon and a small meal in the early evening—nothing after.
The diet includes vegetables, beans, fruits, and grains.
They only consume meat 5 times a month.
They limit their intake of dairy and processed foods to almost negligible.
5) Cheers to Health
People in all blue zones (except Adventists) drink 1-2 glasses of wine daily, with friends and food.
Buettner observed that moderate drinkers outlived non-drinkers.
Remember, the key is moderate!
Picture credits: Dan Buettner drinking wine in Ikara (Live to 100)
This is the Westernized version of discovering your Ikigai.
Today, you can take time out to discover your Ikigai.
1) What do you love?
Write down everything you enjoyed doing now or as a child.
Make this list as long as possible.
2) What you can be paid for?
Now, strike the things that seem difficult to be paid for.
3) What you are good at?
Keep the things that you feel you are good at compared to 90% of the people.
What things seem like play to you but work for others?
Strike the others.
4) What the world needs?
The last step is to circle the things that would allow you to make a positive impact on the world. Make a difference in the lives of other people.
Strike the rest. The things that are circled on the list are a good starting point to discover your Ikigai.
Share your results with us.
Raghav and Ansh
PS: We’d also love to know what you thought of this newsletter,
feel free to write feedback.
What you can watch - Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones
Travel around the world with author Dan Buettner to discover five unique communities where people live extraordinarily long and vibrant lives.
What you can listen - Dan wants you to be Happy on RICH ROLL PODCAST
What you can read - The Blue Zones of Happiness
Dan Buettner reveals the surprising secrets of the world’s happiest places—and shows how we can all apply the lessons of true happiness to our lives.
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