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As I kicked back and binge-watched the latest Netflix sensation, “Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones,” I was hit with a profound realization.
While it’s easy to get swept up in the hype around diets and exercise when it comes to living a long, healthy life, this series served up a different dish: community and connection.
Turns out, they might just be the secret sauce for a longer, happier life.
What Are These Blue Zones, Anyway?
The series is hosted by Dan Buettner, a National Geographic fellow and bestselling author. He jet-setted across the globe, visiting five distinct areas whose populations include many centenarians.
These magical places include Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Loma Linda, California, USA; Nicoya, Costa Rica; and Ikaria, Greece.
Collectively, they’re known as Blue Zones, and they’ve got some pretty sweet secrets up their sleeves.
The Common Denominator: More Than Just Salad and Strolls
What sets these Blue Zones apart from the rest of the world? Well, it’s not just about their diets (although they do love their whole, plant-based, non-processed foods). It’s not just about their low-impact, consistent physical activities like gardening or leisurely town strolls either.
It’s their sense of community and purpose that truly seals the deal. It’s like their secret weapon against aging.
Why It Matters Post-Pandemic
Despite the start of the pandemic being more than three years ago, the days of close-knit communities and impromptu gatherings can still feel like a distant memory. We’ve adapted to a life of isolation, relying on deliveries and virtual hangouts to fill the void.
All this time spent alone strips years off our lives.
The disconnection can leave us with an inner longing for something more, something we often try to quell with online shopping, overindulging in comfort food, or other less-than-healthy habits.
The result? Clutter. Not just the physical kind (although our homes might tell a different story), but also the kind that weighs us down emotionally and physically.
A Reconnection Challenge
To tackle this clutter head-on, what do you think about challenging yourself to reconnect with people as if it were 2019?
It might sound daunting with your inner hermit constantly whispering sweet nothings about pajamas and couch potatoes, but it’s worth it.
I’ve been on this journey myself.
I’ve swapped Netflix nights for dinners with friends, embarked on spontaneous day trips (like my recent adventure to the Coastal Botanical Garden in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, where I encountered giant wooden trolls), and even accepted invitations to activities that are outside my comfort zone.
Is it easy? Hell no! My inner hermit is loud!
But the payoff is louder as long as I can get myself to say Yes.
Every time I take the leap and connect with others, I’m reminded of just how rewarding it can be.
Now this isn’t to say I don’t indulge my hermit from time to time. I sure do. After all, this introvert needs alone time to refuel and there are some days when she just can’t “People.”
So what about you, what invisible clutter is lurking in your life just waiting to be swept away by a stronger sense of connection?
Are there nagging concerns or persistent thoughts that could use a healthy dose of outdoor adventures or heart-to-heart conversations?
Have you seen this Netflix series?
I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences, so go ahead and comment below.
P.S. Be sure to check out the box below for all the ways I can help you live a longer and happier life! 👇🏻