A sense of belonging supports individual well-being and is one of the behaviors connected to longevity in the original blue zones regions. But it’s getting harder to be connected in many places, leaving people vulnerable to depression, anxiety, and other anti-social behaviors. Blue Zones Project® provides opportunities and creates environments that increase positive connections among community members. By fostering a positive pack, encouraging behaviors that put loved ones first, and supporting a person’s reason to belong, we can help everyone feel they are a part of something bigger.
The social networks of long-living people have shaped their health behaviors for the better. Research shows that obesity, happiness, tobacco use, and even loneliness are contagious. Consider taking cues from the world’s longest-living women in Okinawa, Japan, and their powerful social network, called “Moais®.” These circles of life-long friends support each other into older age, providing safety nets that lend financial or emotional support in times of need, and give all members the stress-shedding security of knowing that there will always be someone there for them. Assessing who you spend time with, then proactively connecting to those who support healthy behaviors, will do more to add years to your life than just about anything.
Loved Ones First
Centenarians in the original blue zones areas of the world emphasize putting loved ones first, keeping aging parents and grandparents nearby or in the home. This action can lower the disease and mortality rates of everyone in the family, children included. They commit to a life partner, which can add up to three years of life expectancy, and invest time and love in their children. People who live in healthy families with strong ties suffer lower rates of depression, suicide, and stress. And if you can’t be near relatives, your “chosen” family can positively impact your health and well-being, too.
Research shows that faith and fellowship can serve as a power source for longevity, adding up to 14 years to your life. All but 5 of the 263 centenarians interviewed in the original blue zones studies belonged to some kind of faith-based community; denomination did not seem to matter. For instance, Seventh-day Adventists in the blue zones area of Loma Linda, California, take a weekly break from the rigors of daily life. They claim this practice relieves stress and strengthens social networks, something that can benefit everyone.
Positive health and happiness
Building and nourishing connections to others can bring so many positive health and happiness benefits. And there are many ways to do it. This video will show you how to enrich your life by connecting.