The Single Most Important Habit to Embrace.
A lifestyle change that will make a difference.
Oregon has a very high life expectancy when compared with the rest of the United States.
The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) Center for Health Statistics reports a state average of 79.6 years, which is just above the national average of 78.8.
Where a person lives should not influence life expectancy within a state, but it does.
A report from 2018 showed that a group of Portland residents live an average of 89.1 years while an area in Medford has residents that live an average of 66.2 years. That's a huge range within a single state.
They've been working on changing that statistic.
In 2016, Klamath Falls was selected to be Oregon’s first ‘Blue Zones Project’ community. Now three other communities in Oregon have joined them.
The communities are; Klamath Falls, The Dalles, Umpqua Valley, and Grants Pass, and they're all certified Blue Zones Project.
They are making the healthy choice to transform lives through changing the environment and habits of their citizens.
Blue Zones are longevity zones.
You may have heard about zones around the world where people live much longer than people elsewhere.
Dan Buettner, an author and longevity expert founded “Blue Zones”. That’s an organization in the United States dedicated to the creation of healthy communities in the country.
They identified nine specific habits that are commonly practiced by people living in these longevity zones.
All around the world, people are interested in adjusting their lifestyles in an attempt to live longer lives. Focusing on these Blue Zone habits is one way to achieve that.
What if you don’t have a lot of time to make changes in your lifestyle?
If you had to choose, which habit would you focus on?
The most important Blue Zone habit is the one that you can improve now.
Study these Blue Zone habits and give yourself some great marks for the ones you’ve gotten right.
Then have a serious look at the areas where you’re not doing so well.
For these areas, do a bit of brainstorming.
Write down several things you might change that could affect that habit.
For example, if you’re not so great at belonging to a community, start there.
Think of community organizations you are aware of that might work for you. Make a list and do a bit of research. Find out how often they meet and what you would have to do to belong.
If you’re not coming up with any ideas, call a friend and ask them if they have any suggestions. They might invite you to join them in their weekly drumming circle or prayer meeting at the local church.
Be open to trying something new. It’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t work out. You will find a way.
- You don’t have to be a crazy fitness fanatic. You also can’t be someone that spends all their time sitting at a desk, never getting any exercise.
- People in Blue Zones live in such a way that they move as a natural part of their day-to-day lives. They walk to work or spend time gardening every day. Biking is preferred over driving a car and they’re more likely to visit a friend than sit at a computer.
- Know why are you here.
- Understanding what you contribute to the world is a huge step in understanding why you are here.
- Having a purpose is important for self-esteem.
Find ways to shed stress.
- Getting out in nature is the single most valuable thing you can do to shed stress.
- Even spending a bit of time every day sitting on your balcony can reduce stress hormones in your body.
Reduce food intake.
- The 80% rule tells you to stop eating when you feel 80% full.
- That’s it. It’s not complicated. You don’t have to count calories or measure out portions.
- Eat less food. It will lengthen your life.
Eat mainly plants.
- A vegetarian diet is ideal but you can begin slowly.
- Start with one meatless meal a week and work up to more.
- Buy a vegetarian cookbook and start experimenting.
Drink wine moderately
- Moderately is the keyword here.
- Preferably you consume the wine in the company of good friends.
- If you’re unable to consume in moderation, it’s better not to drink at all.
- Find a community organization that is helping a charity or worthwhile cause that you feel is important.
- Ask a friend to share how they connect in their community.
- Set aside a specific time each week for your family.
- Don’t allow work to be a priority.
Choose your social network carefully.
- If you met your group of friends for the first time, would you see them as a healthy influence or a problem in your life?
- Consider how to meet people who will support your new Blue Zone habits of a healthier lifestyle.
If you had to choose just one habit to work on today, which one would it be? What steps would you take?
As part of their initiative, Blue Zone communities host classes, encouraging its citizens to change their habits. Small groups within the community support each other.
Healthy habits are as contagious as a cold, so hanging out with healthy people will benefit you in the long run.
If you make small improvements you will eventually reach your goal.