According to Blue Zones author Dan Buettner here are the nine key factors that he has found contributes most to a long and happy life in places like Okinawa (Japan) and Sardinia (Italy) where many people live to over 100 years of age. In his latest book, The Blue Zones of Happiness, Buettner expanded his research to study the behaviors of the world’s happiest communities. Here is what he found:

The Power 9: Longevity practices in the Blue Zones

1.Move naturally

The world’s longest-lived people don’t pump iron or run marathons. Instead, their environments nudge them into moving without thinking about it.

2. Purpose

Why do you wake up in the morning? Knowing your sense of purpose is worth up to seven years of extra life expectancy.

3. Downshift

Stress leads to chronic inflammation, which is associated with every major age-related disease. The world’s longest-lived people have routines to shed that stress.

4. 80% rule

“Hara hachi bu” — the Okinawans say this mantra before meals as a reminder to stop eating when their stomachs are 80% full.

5. Plant slant

What is the cornerstone of most centenarian diets? Beans. They typically eat meat — mostly pork — only about five times per month.

6. Wine at 5:00

Moderate drinkers outlive nondrinkers, especially if they share those drinks with friends.

7. Belong

Attending faith-based services four times per month — no matter the denomination — adds up to 14 years of life expectancy.

8. Loved ones first

Centenarians put their families first. They keep aging parents and grandparents nearby, commit to a life partner and invest in their children.

9. Right tribe

The world’s longest-lived people choose or were born into social circles that support healthy behaviors.

BTW, Buettner also discovered that money does not necessary buy more happiness, however, having just enough or sufficient income to save enough for the basics for a good life does make for a peaceful and hopefully long life.

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