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Blue is a lovely color. The sky is most peaceful when it’s blue. The ocean is most serene when it’s blue. And contrary to the popular idiom, people are at their healthiest when they are blue. Geographically, that is, in one of the Blue Zones. Hear us out.

Dan Buettner, award-winning journalist, author and longevity researcher, explored and studied regions around the world where people live significantly longer and healthier lives compared to the global average. Blue Zones, so named for how they were marked on a map during research, are where inhabitants have the highest life expectancy (well into the early 90s, many of them being centenarians) and the lowest rates of chronic disease and middle-age mortality.

So what do Okinawa, Japan; Ikaria, Greece; Sardinia, Italy; Nicoya, Costa Rica; and Loma Linda, USA have in common to foster such longevity and well-being? The Power 9. Here are the evidence-based factors to slow down the aging process blue-zone style:

1. Natural movement

Incorporate physical activity (walking, gardening, household chores) into your daily routine. Create an environment that will push you to move, like opting for stairs instead of the elevator. A great alternative to a gym membership, if you ask us.

2. Purpose

Define your personal reasons for waking up in the morning. The Okinawans call it ‘Ikigai’ and the Nicoyans ‘plan de vida’. Your purpose can add up to seven years to your lifespan. Seven years in seventh heaven?

3. Downshift

Stress causes chronic inflammation that leads to age-related diseases. Manage and reduce stress through meditation, yoga, naps, or anything that brings your heart rate and blood pressure down. Calmness is healing.

4. 80% rule

Hara hachi bu is a 2500-year-old Confucian mantra said before meals. It’s an instruction to stop eating when you’re 80% full. So whether you want to keep your weight in check or live to 100, mindful eating is the way to go. Speaking of…

5. Plant slant

Centenarians in Blue Zones favor a plant-based diet, keeping beans, lentils, and other legumes at the center of their menu and reducing their consumption of meat to a maximum of five times per month. Go green or go home, we might say.

6. Wine

According to the Blue Zones rulebook, you can enjoy small amounts of alcohol, particularly a glass of high-quality wine, with food. And with friends, cheers.

7. Belonging

Of 263 centenarians interviewed, all except five were part of a faith-based community. Attending a service once a week can add up to 14 years to your life. Kind reminder: gratitude counts as a spiritual practice that will also gather the right people around you.

8. Family first

Prioritize your loved ones. Invest time and energy into strengthening bonds with your spouse, children, parents, grandparents, and siblings. We live longer with both emotional and physical support from our relatives. However…

9. Right tribe

If you lack family ties, surround yourself with a supportive social network that encourages healthy behaviors. For example, the Okinawans form ‘moais’—lifelong groups of five friends who commit to one another for life. Found family is still family.

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Research confirms that only about 20-30% of a person's lifespan is determined by genetics, while the remaining 80% is influenced by our lifestyle choices. The good news? There's no need to relocate to a Blue Zone to enjoy the benefits of their well-being practices, we simply need to follow their holistic plan for longevity.

It takes two to tango, three even—body, mind, soul. To maximize your chances of living a long and happy life, you need to take care of the entirety of your being. And there is the right tool for you. With its holistic approach to mind-body health, The Five Minute Journal Fit Edition will assist you in crafting and executing a sustainable plan for longevity.

Let’s explore some of the prompts from the journal to help you define and guide your intentions, goals, and actions through movement, nutrition, and self-care. It matters what we do daily, consistency is key, and the journal will be with you every step of the way, from the moment you wake up to when you wind down for bed. Grab your pen and let’s begin a daily wellness journey.

I am grateful for…

Start strong with a morning meditation that will set the right tone for the rest of your day, month, and lifetime. When the remnants of sleep no longer linger on your eyelids and you are ready to greet another day, allow gratitude to keep you in a dreamy state for a bit longer.

According to research, gratitude initiates the parasympathetic nervous system that helps you rest and digest. It can bring down your blood pressure and heart rate, reduce depression, lessen anxiety, and improve the quality of your sleep. Starting one day with gratitude will wake you up happier the next morning. It’s a loop that keeps on looping.

Notice the little things. Think of your senses, breathing, your ability to stretch after a good night’s sleep. Our bodies are miracles, in all the intricate ways they operate. Think of your ‘moai’, your support system. Think of all the reasons why your life is worth living for 100 years (or longer). Let all that goodness bloom in your mind’s eye even before you reach for your journal, and hold onto the positive feelings for as long as you can after you close its pages.

What I will do for my well-being and health today

Within the Fit Edition, you will find various trackers sprinkled among the prompts, for example, wake-up time and bedtime, sleep hours, mood, energy level, or water intake. All of the above, as well as the Power 9 from Blue Zones, are the perfect starting points for taking care of your well-being and health.

We know you know that going to bed and waking up around the same time every day is good practice for your circadian rhythm and that 8 hours of sleep will benefit your longevity. We know you know that around 8 glasses of water a day will keep you properly hydrated. But if you’re lacking motivation to take that first step towards a healthier you, here’s a quote from James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, for whenever you feel yourself slipping:

"One of life's counterintuitive lessons is that you will often gain energy by spending a little bit of energy. When you feel lethargic and like you want to lay around all day, it is usually the case that getting up and moving will make you feel better than simply sitting around. Getting outside for 10 minutes or doing the first set of a workout or simply stretching on the floor for a moment—anything to get your body moving—will often leave you feeling more energized. If you want to get your day going, then get your body going. It's harder for the mind to be sluggish when the body is moving."

Mindful Affirmation

Keep your face towards the sun and shadows will fall behind you. Affirmations are how we do exactly that, look on the bright side of life. If you ever need inspiration for what and how to affirm, we have a starter pack to help you. But think of it this way: if gratitude is a toothbrush for your mind, an affirmation is a paint brush for your reality. Dream up and embody a scenery that you genuinely want to bring to life.

For example, imagine yourself 4 months from now. Have you hit all your fitness goals? Have you stayed consistent and now have results to prove it? How proud are you of yourself? Say it like you mean it, write it out, see it as if it’s already true, and then affirm it.

How did I take care of myself today?

A big chunk of our reality is beyond our control. Try as we might, on the level of an individual, we have little influence over weather, taxes, or disheartening events. Still, you are responsible for your health. Every day before bed, ask yourself how many of your actions contributed to your overall well-being.

Say, out of those 8 glasses of water, did you only manage to drink 4? Ok, 4 is better than 3 you had yesterday. Can you make it to 5 tomorrow? Reflect on how to facilitate the process for yourself. Maybe you can keep a full glass on your nightstand? Or dust off that fancy water bottle your friend gave you for Secret Santa? But if you feel you did great today, document and celebrate it. Tomorrow is another day to keep up the good work.

What did I learn today?

Finding lessons each day may be one of the secrets to your health and wellness success. Acknowledging daily learnings, challenges, and setbacks without letting them define who you are is a great act of courage, self-awareness, and mindfulness.

Here’s what you can jot down:

I learned how to live to 100.

I learned that natural movement, a plant diet, and moderate caloric intake will let my body enjoy a glass of wine with dinner.

I learned that stress reduction and the right people around me will keep my heart happy.

I learned that gratitude is meditation and that I can break down wellness into manageable steps.

And I decided that from now on, my favorite color is blue.

Sometimes something that was holding you back can be transformed into a valuable lesson that sets you on a better path.

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