One of my favorite things to do is to learn something new. It's no surprise then that during our 3-day immersion at the Wanderlust Festival, I took full advantage of the workshops and lectures offered. One common theme in the workshops we took was the impact lifestyle has on one's life expectancy, overall health, and the quality of life as we age. During Seamus Mullen's workshop "Real Food Heals", he discussed the 3 pillars of health: genetics, environment, and lifestyle. Lifestyle is the pillar we have the most control over meaning the activities we engage in, the rituals and routines we perform on a consistent basis, diet, and relationships. During Jason Wrobel's lecture entitled "How to Life (Almost) Forever" he discussed the blue zones (areas in the world with the highest concentration of centenarians, people who live past 100). In the book, The Blue Zones, Dan Buettner outlines major lifestyle commonalities all of the blue zones/centenarians have in common. These blue zone lifestyle choices are as follows:
- Fitness. These centenarians moved their bodies everyday whether it was through walking, hiking, gardening, etc. They didn't go to gyms, but simply got exercise naturally based on their lifestyles.
- Diet. Majority of the centenarians ate a mostly plant-based diet. I know, meat and dairy products are so delicious but I don't make the rules. Don't shoot the messenger. While some of the blue zones strictly followed a plant-based diet, others were more flexible, eating a mostly plant-based diet mixing in some meats and diary products.
- Spirituality. All of the blue zones had some type of spiritual practice. I define spirituality as anything that makes you feel connected to something greater than yourself. For me, nature is a spiritual experience. If you're a long-time reader of this blog, you know my feelings on isolation and how dangerous it is for your mental and emotional health so it's no wonder that finding something which makes you feel connected, not alone, would have positive effects on life expectancy.
- Purpose. Everyone had a strong sense of why they get up in the morning. Everyone took joy in the "doing" of something whether it be to care for grandchildren, meet up with friends for their daily glass of wine, or to serve their higher power. Everyone had some purpose, some calling.
- Tribe. Everyone belonged to a tribe, whether it was to their group of friends, their spiritual community, or to their family. All of the blue zones had a high, strong theme of social connection, of feeling part of, some sense of feeling important and needed by other people.
I don't know about you, but I want to age well. I want to live a long, full, high quality life where I feel vibrant, strong, mentally sharp, and happy as I age. Lifestyle is something we all have control over. Lifestyle is simply comprised of a series of choices we make consistently, over time. For that reason, I plan to start the "Live Well" series here on Happiness | Collective. I'll dive deeper into each one of these lifestyle habits, contribute mental health information as appropriate, and identify how to incorporate these habits into life. In the meantime, take an honest, mental inventory of which of these above lifestyle habits you have down, and which areas you could improve upon as preparation for the Live Well series.