Whilst reading a post debunking the Paleo Diet, I came across a link to a post on National Geographic about ‘Blue Zones’ which is a term coined by Dan Buettner for the regions on Earth with the longest life expectancy, disability-free life expectancy or concentration of persons over 100.

These Blue Zones include the interior of Sardinia, a remote peninsula in Costa Rica, a Greek island, a Japanese archipelago, and a community in southern California and according to research, the secret to longevity, apparently, has less to do with diet—or even exercise—and more to do with the social and physical environment in which people live.

Buettner identified nine powerful yet simple lessons that offer a blueprint for not only a longer, but happier life.

The Power 9 ™ from The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest:

  1. Keep moving – Find ways to move naturally, such as walking and gardening, using fewer labour saving devices.
  2. Find purpose … And pursue it with passion.
  3. Slow down – Work less, rest, and take vacations.
  4. Stop eating … when you’re 80 percent full.
  5. Dine on plants – Eat more vegetables and less meat and processed foods.
  6. Drink red wine – Do it consistently but in moderation.
  7. Join a group – Create a healthy social network.
  8. Feed your soul – Engage in spiritual activities.
  9. Love your tribe – Make family a high priority.

I like the list, especially point 6, which is a habit I intend to maintain diligently. I’d add one of my own to that list – Grow your own food. Nothing beats the primal satisfaction of eating your own produce.

There is a growing movement of disillusionment with the consumer driven ethos prevalent in Western society and it comes as no surprise to me that the people within these communities are happier. They live in harmony with their families, their communities, the earth and most importantly, themselves. It’s very much in tune with my newly found personal philosophy on life.

There were other lifestyle habits found to be common practices in each blue zone society:

  • Emphasis on strong family values
  • Strong community values
  • Exclusively plant based diets (little to no animal products)
  • Whole food lifestyles focused on fruits and veggies
  • Daily benefits of physical exercise
  • Everyone knows how to deal with stress
  • All the elders and centenarians still work
  • Daily consumption of small amounts of alcohol
  • A sense of purpose in life (Ikigai is the Japanese word for this)
  • Spirituality is part of life in all of the blue zones
  • A complete absence of smoking and obesity
  • Everyone knows the benefits of a positive attitude

You can buy the book by Dan Buettner from the National Geographic website.