The Blue Zones Power 9 are nine key habits that people who live in the Blue Zones incorporate into their daily lifestyles. These actions help them live longer and have a higher quality of life than most people who live in other areas of the world.
Did you know that there are areas of the world that have high concentrations of individuals who live to 100 and grow old without major health issues, like cancer, diabetes or heart disease? These locations have been studied extensively, and interestingly enough, they all have nine key things in common. Let’s take a closer look at the five Blue Zone areas, and what the Blue Zones Power 9 are.
Where are the Blue Zones?
There are five key areas considered to be Blue Zones. These include:
- Loma Linda, California
- Nicoya, Costa Rica
- Sardinia, Italy
- Ikaria, Greece (pictured above)
- Okinawa, Japan
What are the Blue Zones Power 9?
Inhabitants of these picturesque destinations share nine specific and evidence-based habits, named the Power 9, that slow the aging process. And the best part is, implementing these lifestyle changes won’t be another thing to stress about because most of these principles include doing less and unwinding more.
The Blue Zones Power 9:
- Move naturally
- Have a purpose
- Plant slant
- Wine at 5
- Loved ones first
- Right community
1. Move naturally
This fundamental aspect of the Power 9 keeps it simple: Move the way nature intended. That means walking, hiking and biking from place to place instead of driving or telecommuting. Blue Zoners also tend to their gardens with their bare hands instead of relying on manual machinery and keep up with housework on a daily basis.
2. Have a purpose
Having a reason to get out of bed in the morning sounds simple enough, but it could add years on your life expectancy. Called Ikigai by the Okinawans, the idea of understanding your purpose has been proven to increase life satisfaction and psychological well-being, leading to a healthier, happier you.
Blue Zoners experience stress too, but they break free from it by carving out intentional time to downshift on a daily basis. That means they recharge through prayer, napping and even happy hour. Not sure where to start in your stressful day? Try one of my ways to overcome stress in 5 minutes or less.
4. 80, 20
“Hara hachi bu” is an Okinawan saying that reminds individuals to stop eating when they’re 80% full. That 20% gap could be the difference between feeling satisfied and energized or lethargic and heavy after a meal. Mindful eating can help you listen to your body and get more familiar with hunger and fullness signals.
5. Plant slant
Blue Zoners eat a plant-focused diet daily, and enjoy smaller portions of meat roughly five times per month. That doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your favorite animal protein completely, but simply prioritize fruits and veggies first.
6. Wine at 5
Or, as we call it, Happy Hour! This principle officially gives you permission to enjoy alcohol moderately with friends and with food. Blue Zoners typically indulge in high quality wines, but sipping on reasonable amounts of your favorite aperitif works too.
Being part of a faith-based community or organization that you care deeply for can promote your purpose (noted above) and create close-knit friendships (noted below) while helping you to practice beliefs and/or support causes that you value.
8. Loved ones first
While you’re not expected to live within a five-mile radius of every family member, a weekly phone date or casual email chain can help strengthen those connections and make you feel close to loved ones, regardless of the distance.
9. Right community
They say that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Having a strong social circle with close-knit friendships that support a healthy lifestyle and with whom you identify can create a network of support that bolsters happiness and increases longevity.
Which of these Blue Zones Power 9 do you already incorporate into your daily lifestyle? Which ones can you focus on improving? Choose something realistic with your schedule and plan a way to start making it a recurring action.
Still interested in other ways to boost your mood and live a happier life?
While we’re out of the thick of winter, that doesn’t mean that the blues can’t sneak in every once in a while. You can explore some of my key strategies to keep the blues at bay in my post about mood and energy boosters.