Are You Flourishing or Just Getting By?

Dr. William Larkin, from Applied NeuroScience Institute, has summarized some wonderful tips for creating and maintaining a flourishing life.  He recently pointed out that, with the help of medical researchers, anthropologists, demographers and epidemiologists, Dan Buettner identified nine characteristics commonly found among the world’s longest-lived people.

These are the “Blue Zones” of thriving and flourishing.

What he calls the “Power 9” list includes:

* MOVE NATURALLY: The world’s longest-lived live in environments that constantly nudge them into moving without thinking about it. For example, they grow gardens and don’t have mechanical conveniences for house and yard work.

* PURPOSE: They know “why I wake up in the morning” and this adds seven years of extra life expectancy.

* DOWN SHIFT: Blue Zone people experience stress like the rest of us, but have routines to shed that stress. Okinawans take a few moments each day to remember their ancestors, Adventists pray, Ikarians take a nap and Sardinians do happy hour.

* EIGHTY PERCENT RULE: They stop eating when their stomachs are 80 percent full.

* PLANT SLANT: Long-lived people have diets centered on beans and eat meat only five times per month.

* WINE AT 5: Blue Zone people (except Adventists) drink alcohol moderately and regularly. Moderate drinkers outlive non-drinkers.

* BELONG: All but five of the 263 centenarians Buettner interviewed belonged to some faith-based community. Denomination doesn’t seem to matter. Research shows that attending faith-based services four times a month will add four to 14 years of life expectancy.

* LOVED ONES FIRST: Successful Blue Zone centenarians put their families first. This means keeping aging parents and grandparents nearby or in the home. (It lowers disease and mortality rates of children in the home too.) They commit to a life partner (which can add up to three years of life expectancy) and invest in their children with time and love.

* RIGHT TRIBE: The world’s longest-lived people chose — or were born into — social circles that supported healthy behaviors. Good and bad habits are contagious. So social networks have favorably shaped long-lived people’s health behaviors.

Other commonalities among Blue Zone cultures included staying active, socializing regularly, and having a “daily sacred ritual,” a time for prayer, meditation, or napping, said Buettner in a recent interview with “Everyday Health.”

Source: Tom Gallagher (9/11/13)