Blue Zones Project — North Hawaii

Focus on family

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Focus on family

This busy holiday season, instead of getting swept away by all the hustle and bustle, take some time to downshift and recharge your batteries for the coming year. You can boost your well-being now and into the New Year by slowing down and taking the time to eat nutritious foods, enjoy friends, reconnect with your spiritual side, make family a priority and engage in activities that add a sense of purpose to your life. Residents living in the original Blue Zones areas share these common lifestyle habits called Power 9 — helping them live longer, healthier, happier lives.

Slow down, unwind and de-stress

In this day and age, we are driven to do more and acquire more — and all of this takes up a lot of time. In fact, studies show that in the United States, those who are employed full-time work an average of 43 hours per week and take the shortest paid vacations. And when they do take time off, at least 20 percent of them stay in touch with the office using their email or cellphones.

Blue Zones researchers found that people who have made it to 100 seem to have a secret. They’re wise enough to realize that life’s most precious moments will pass us by if we’re too busy to notice them. Taking the time to appreciate life’s simple pleasures is a powerful stress reliever, contributes to a happier outlook and results in a greater sense of well-being.

The holidays offer us the perfect excuse to slow down and notice the simple things that give us joy – whether it’s a brilliant sunset, a day at the beach, or a loved one’s smile. This holiday season, create a peaceful sanctuary in time by cutting back on the noise and commotion of everyday life. Shut down the computer, put away the homework and focus on relaxing with the ones you love.

As one Blue Zones centenarian so aptly put it, “Life is short. Don’t run so fast you miss it.”

Test Your Down Shift Savvy

Which activities are most likely to help you down shift and relax?

a. Enjoying a happy hour with friends

b. Surfing the Internet

c. Meditating or taking a yoga class

d. Walking the dog

The correct answers are: a, c, and d. Enjoying a happy hour with friends and taking a break to socialize with your “moai” – or network of close friends – is a great way to relax and reconnect. Meditating or taking a yoga class offers the mind a chance to slow down and take a break from the daily chaos of life. Walking the dog is another great way to downshift and rejuvenate the senses.

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Blue Zones Project – North Hawaii involves dozens of community volunteers from Waimea, Waikoloa, North Kohala, Kawaihae, Puako and Hamakua who are dedicated to helping us all “Live Longer, Better.”

To join the effort, go to hawaii.bluezonesproject.com for more information. North Hawaii is one of only three communities in the state selected as a Blue Zones Project demonstration site. Blue Zones Project by Healthways is brought to Hawaii by HMSA. Questions? Email CarolR.Ignacio@healthways.com or call 202-4958

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