Shed Stress & Live Longer
If you're new here, we recently shared on Instagram and in our previous newsletters about The Blue Zones, a project by National Geographic researcher, Dan Buettner, that uncovers the habits of centenarians (or people who live to be 100). We’ve read the research behind "Power 9", a set of lifestyle habits that people of the Blue Zones have in common, and want to help you create a mini Blue Zone in your household. At Kosterina, it's our mission to help us all live a little better every day, and develop a healthy lifestyle that's focused on longevity, rather than quick fixes.
So, today we will focus on the timely Lifestyle Habit #3: Down Shift.
What does it mean to "down shift"? Well, based on the Blue Zones research, it's a stress-free way to shift our outlook on life. Stress is a natural, normal part of living, and it's actually a quite important indicator for our bodies and minds. But, the problems begin occurring when we experience chronic stress - or override our body's natural way of processing this 'warning sign' to slow down.
Think about it this way: Stress originates as a clue, or warning, that we may be experiencing a threat. It's designed to help us react quickly and activate our 'fight or flight' mode, which was especially important when our daily life consisted of running away from predators.
But, chronic stress, especially in the modern world, leads to chronic inflammation - which is linked to nearly every age-related disease, from Alzheimer's to heart conditions. The only good part about this? If we manage chronic stress, and find ways to reduce it in healthy ways we can live healthier, longer lives.
People in the Blue Zones have unique, down-to-earth methods of reducing stress that we can all learn from. For example, Okinawans turn to their 'village' to socialize during good times and stressful ones. They also find calm in daily habits like gardening or praying to their ancestors.
These practices aren't unique to the Okinawans. Everyone in the Blue Zones, from the Greek Islands to Sardinia, have similar ways of shedding stress. Laughing with friends, daily walks outside, taking naps and even drinking wine are the most common.
Some of the more modern methods that we like to use on the Kosterina team are meditation apps (see Calm), a yoga class, acupuncture (see WTHN), journaling, gratitude practices, and of course long meals with family and friends!
How can you incorporate these practices into your daily life?