I sat down meaning to watch one episode of Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones, but I ended up watching all four. The Netflix show by author Dan Buettner looks at communities that have the longest life expectancy. The diagram below shows the “secrets” of the blue zones. They find that the activities, attitudes, and lifestyle that lead to longevity are built into their environment. From the steep roads people have to walk everyday in Sardinia Italy, to a faith-based community in Loma Linda, California that emphasizes eating more plants—the show inspires you to live well and to not overthink it.
Image Source: Netflix
I hope you get a chance to watch the stories of these special regions. As for me, the show reinforced current habits, but also I picked up new ways to happy living. I know that it takes a community to build blue zones, and Buettner has dedicated a lot to large-scale community projects doing just that. But we also learn that we can build our own blue zones in our homes and neighborhoods.
Some Lessons from the blue zones
Say no to anger: Don’t let anger ruin your day or your relationships.
Hara Hachi Bu: In Okinawa, the residents say “Hara Hachi Bu” before eating which translates to “eat until you are 8 parts full”—basically reminding you to eat until you’re 80% full and don’t stuff yourself.
Use your body more: I tend to rely on modern gadgetry instead of my body to get things done, especially in the kitchen. After watching the show, I find myself kneading the dough with my hands instead of the stand mixer. I pick up the mortar and pestle instead of the spice grinder.
Remember Your Purpose: Blue zones have this in common. From “plan de vida” in Costa Rica or Ikigai or “reason for living” in Okinawa, the elderly feel useful.
Sing and Dance: you don’t need a large space or a complicated set up to get together. Singing, dancing, and being merry can happen in your living room. You don’t need to plan a party or meticulously schedule good times.