Blue is typically associated with one being sad or depressed in the United States, but in other areas of the world “blue” is the exact opposite. According to author Dan Buettner, there are five places in the world called Blue Zones in which the residents of these areas are not only happier, but they are also some of the world’s oldest people. In the book Blue Zones, author Buettner identified Icaria, Greece, Ogliastra, Sardinia, Okinawa, Japan, Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica and The Seventh Day Adventist in Loma Linda, California as Blue Zones, but there certainly could be many more. Buettner’s thought provoking study made me ponder on how and why people who live in Blue Zones have drastically lower occurrences of heart disease, dementia, cancer, and depression in comparison to the United States who according to the CDC, has seen a 400% increase of antidepressant prescribing since 1988. So, what are we doing wrong and what are they doing right? How can we create Blue Zones in our community? Let’s find out!
People who live in Blue Zones are said to be active participants of the below:
95% plant-based diet
When meat is eaten, it is typically white meat or fish
Food is seasoned with fresh spices and herbs like oregano, thyme, rosemary, and turmeric
Consumption of healthy fats like avocados, nuts, olive oil and seeds etc.
In Okinawa, Japan, they stop eating when they are 80% full in comparison to westerners who eat when they’re 100% full
Alcoholic beverages are consumed in moderation
There is no such thing as retirement, they work if physically possible
Fasting throughout the day
Frequent physical activity outside of the gym such as walking to the store, school and or work
Adequate sleep and daytime napping
Meditate and practice tai chi or qigong
Highly spiritual and deeply religious
Having a life purpose
Socially connected with community, family, and friends
Grandparents take care of their grandkids
I think it is safe to say that a healthy life is attributed to a simple life. People who reside in Blue Zones are not only physically healthy, but they are also mentally and spiritually healthy. I will say that again because I want to make sure you overstand what I am trying to say. People who reside in Blue Zones are not only physically healthy, but they are also mentally and spiritually healthy. The physical body is not the only area that needs exercise and proper nourishment, so does your mind and spiritual life. Exercise your faith, expand your mind by reading books and strengthen your spirit through service. Many of us westerners, go to the gym occasionally and consider that to be enough for our existence, but longevity is holistic, not just a fraction of our functioning.
America is a complex culture that is full of advancement and though we are aging, we are not doing so gracefully or happily. Most are stressed and depressed which results in a decline of health in all areas. Many westerners are overworked and underpaid in a society with soaring inflation, no wonder why we are in a struggling space. We do not take the time for self-care because we do not feel as if we have it, time. In the areas of life where westerners are microwaved, people in Blue Zones are slow cooked. When westerners are depressed by the past and anxious about the future, people in Blue Zones are present. They are living, we are existing.
Life is so simple that we cannot comprehend it, so we make it complex. There is happiness in hugging, wealth in walking, life in loving and a preservation that comes with being present. Creating your own Blue Zone comes with dedication and discipline. If one is not dedicated, reaching any destiny will be difficult. If one does not hunker down on desires, everything thereafter will be hindered. To create a Blue Zone, you cannot be easily distracted, you must be disciplined in mind, body, and spirit. You cannot harbor on negative thoughts; you must train your mind to be positive. You cannot eat any and everything, you must eat to live. You cannot retreat to depression; you must force yourself into socialization. You cannot watch TV all day, you must get up and walk. You cannot be of the world; you must be beyond it.
Below are some tips you can try to create a Blue Zone in your community and within yourself:
Eat foods that raise your vibrations
Add fresh herbs to your favorite dishes, drink organic hot tea instead of coffee, eat leafy vegetables, add spices to seasonings, eat naturally fermented foods like kimchi or drink kombucha to help with your gut health, eat beans, add spirulina or chlorella to your smoothies. Minimize meat. EAT TO LIVE
When you wake up in the morning, start your day with prayer. God does not need you perfect, God needs you present. Be still in prayer so you can be present with God.
Increase physical activity
If you cannot go to the gym, walk around your neighborhood. If the store is close by, walk instead of driving.
Stop isolating yourself when you start to feel sad or depressed, that is the worst thing you can do if healing is what you desire. Go see a family member or friend so you won’t be alone with your thoughts. No family nearby, look on meetup.com and go out with like-minded people to connect. Connection is needed for the human experience to be sustained.
Despite your circumstances, find something to be thankful for every day. Keep a positive perspective so you can focus on the goodness in life, instead of the bad. You will lift your spirit naturally by doing this. Your perspective will change and finally, you will feel peace.
I cannot reiterate this enough, take time for yourself. The work on the job will be there tomorrow. Clock out and start fresh the next day. Date yourself, know yourself and love up on yourself without your spouse or kids, just you for a designated period.
Go to church
Find a church home that speaks to your soul and learn more about the various ways in which you can stay connected to the light.
Find a need in your community and see what you can do to fill it. When one becomes selfless, one will also become whole.
Tired? Take a quick 30-minute nap so you can feel rested and restored. There is nothing sexy about staying up late hustling every night, you are only hindering yourself by doing so.
What is the calling on your life? What are you passionate about? What inspires you? What ignites the flame in your heart? Whatever these things are, do them, and do them frequently. A purpose driven life is a fulfilled life.
A Blue Zone can be wherever you create it to be. The quality of your life depends on you, no one else. No one can make you happy, healthy, or wealthy. You have the clay in your hands to create, mold the life you want. You do not have to seek salvation; you only must accept it.
Are you blue?
The Heart Helper