We all want to live a healthy and happy life. It is not coincidence that the Health & Wellness industry is one of the fastest growing and already on its way to become the next trillion-dollar industry globally.
I find fascinating how more and more people invest their time and money in products and services that offer more than a superficial short-term benefit, they prefer to invest in products and services that offer long-term purpose and add quality to their lives. Spending holidays in yoga and meditation retreats or doing eco-tourism, doing the groceries directly from farmers or local markets rather than big multinationals, “eating clean” as possible, investing in physical activities that combine both body and mind rather than mindless physical routines, and so on.
The collective shift we are living is inspiring, however, the temptation to think that there is a magic formula – that normally comes at a high price – for a healthy and fulfilling life is still there, hence the proliferation of fad diets, eccentric exercise routines and expensive retreats that promise a “dream life” is also a reality.
So, in our quest to live a healthy and fulfilling life, how can we differentiate what is real from what is just a fad? I think the answer lies within each of us. Everyone is unique so what is good for one person may not be good for another. We must be willing to turn-off the voices outside of us offering us “the magic formula for a healthy and happy life” and start bringing some awareness into our daily activities. After we try a new diet let’s ask ourselves “How do I feel when I eat this way? Does it make me feel better? With more energy?”, when we start a new exercise routine let’s ask ourselves “How do I feel doing it? Does it make me feel more energised? Do I enjoy doing it?”, when we read a book, buy a retreat or attend a master class about “self-love, self-transformation, self- (you fill the blank)” let’s ask ourselves “How does this resonate with me? What is it that I need and how can I provide it?”, and so on. Once we start asking ourselves these questions and spending time every day just to be in silence, the answers will appear. We will start noticing how our own body holds the key to what is good and truth for ourselves. It is a process that takes time and practice, but it is worth it.
There are also some traits that we as human beings have in common when it comes to living healthy and happy lives. Dan Buettner gives us great insight in his TED talk “How to live to be 100+”. He, in collaboration with National Geographic did a vast research and identified 5 zones around the world where people live to or beyond 100 years without any disease and called these places “Blue Zones”. After years of research in these zones, they identified 9 lifestyle traits these people have in common that explain their longevity and happiness. Dan Buettner explains how these traits have nothing to do with fad diets or eccentric exercise routines, again, he reinforces the idea that there is no magic formula for a healthy and happy life, what he explains these people do to enjoy an amazing healthy life at age 100 or beyond, are simple yet powerful lifestyle habits that anyone who wants to live a healthy and happy life can do. Here they are:
1. Move Naturally: It’s not necessary to join a gym or do eccentric exercise routines. Move your body naturally, walk to your work and back home, don’t use the elevator, walk your dog.
2. Purpose: Research shows that having a reason to wake up in the morning may add up to seven years to your life. Ask yourself what is it that light you up, and go do it even if it’s only for a moment every day.
3. Relax: Stress is related to chronic inflammation and many diseases. Spend some time every day on activities that shed your stress. Meditate, read a book, take a nap, play an instrument.
4. 80% Rule: Don’t eat until you feel 100% full, leave a 20% gap where you feel satisfied but not full, research shows that this may be the difference between losing weight or gaining it.
5. Plants! The key source of protein comes from plants, beans and all legumes are the cornerstone of the diet. Meat is eaten only five times a month, and the portions are about the size of a deck of cards.
6. Wine @ 5: Drink alcohol in moderation and regularly, a glass of wine a day is enough but you must do it in the company of good friends and food. Drinking alone or in big quantities won’t do the trick.
7. Belong: Find people who share similar spiritual/religious beliefs and spend time with them. Research shows that attending faith-based services four times per month may add 4 to 14 years to your life.
8. Family First: Spend time with family, research shows that keeping ageing parents nearby or in the home lowers disease and mortality rates of both parents and children. Also, having a life-partner may add up to 3 years to your life.
9. Find your Tribe: We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. Research from the Framingham Studies shows that smoking, obesity, happiness, and loneliness are contagious, so choose your friends wisely.
So, what are your thoughts about these traits? Is there any that you already knew and were applying in your life? Which one resonated more with you and would love to start practicing? Leave me your comments below! I will love to hear from you!
With all my love,
Ps. If you want to know more about the Blue Zones project you can check their website here: www.bluezones.com