The Positive Psychology Institute defines positive ageing like this:
“The process of maintaining a positive attitude, feeling good about yourself, keeping fit and healthy, and engaging fully in life as you age”.
That’s a very concise way of defining it.
Of course, it’s not the only way.
Albert Einstein had his unique spin on the positive aspects of ageing:
“I have reached an age when, if someone tells me to wear socks, I don’t have to.”
There’s every reason to look on the bright side at this stage of our lives, and there are things we can do to promote positive ageing.
For example, we can look at the five places in the world where people live longer than anywhere else. Researchers call them The Blue Zones, and they include Ikaria in Greece; Loma Linda in California; Sardinia in Italy; and Okinawa in Japan. Studies show there are nine specific lifestyle habits of the Blue Zones, and we want to share them with you. Maybe you can create your very own Blue Zone?!
Move Naturally. People in the Blue Zones move without thinking much about it. This includes activities like gardening, as opposed to structured exercise.
Purpose. Our long-lived friends in the Blue Zone have a reason to get up in the morning. What’s your purpose in life?
Down Shift. People in Blue Zones know how to manage their stress. They pray, remember their ancestors, take naps, or engage in happy hour.
80% Rule. By controlling their weight, Blue Zone people live longer. They stop eating before they’re full. They eat their smallest meal in the late afternoon or early evening, and don’t eat anything else for the rest of the day.
Plant Slant. People in the Blue Zones eat less meat and more beans, pulses and plant-based meals than most. Some eat pork, but not more than a few times in a month.
Wine at 5. If you like wine, you’ll love this one! Researchers found that everyone in the Blue Zones except Adventists, drink alcohol. They drink one or two glasses a day with friends, or with food.
Belong. Most of the centenarians surveyed belonged to a faith-based community. Research shows that attending services four times per month adds up to 14 years to the life expectancy of those in the Blue Zones compared to those who don’t attend.
Loved Ones First. Blue Zone people look after their family and partners. Ageing parents and grandparents often live with their children, or nearby. According to researchers, this lowers disease and mortality rates of children in the home.
Right Tribe. Centenarians in the Blue Zones either chose their social circles or were born into them. These circles are said to support healthy behaviours.
Not everyone can live in a Blue Zone, but we can all follow the lead of those who do, particularly when it comes to staying active, eating healthily, and staying connected. The wine at 5 sounds like a good plan too!