Mindset Monday: Add Life to Your Years, Not Just Years to Your Life
I have been watching Dan Buettner’s new Netflix series “Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones” and reflecting on the lessons learned. I am a huge Blue Zones fan and have been for years. I would love to create more Blue Zones in the US. Anyways, my biggest takeaway from the series is that the secret to longevity isn't about living a longer life—it's about living a fuller, richer life.
In this Mindset Monday I would like to delve into how the 3MS—meals, movement, and mindset—along with sleep, stress, and social connection can guide you towards that ultimate goal.
We live in an era of quick fixes. Instant results, 30-day challenges, crash diets—all these play to our desire to change and improve, but often only on a superficial level. The media has us hooked on aesthetic goals: a trimmer waist, six-pack abs, or toned arms, trying to find the “Easy Button” for health. But what if we shift our focus from short-lived goals to lifetime goals?
Short-term goals often focus on immediate results. This can be beneficial for motivation but can also lead to burnout, yo-yo dieting, or giving up when results aren't seen quickly. In contrast, a lifestyle change focuses on the journey, appreciating small changes over time, and understanding that the end goal is continuous improvement.
Meals: Food as Fuel and Medicine
Focusing on plant-based, whole foods not only support weight management but also helps reduce the risk of chronic diseases, promotes mental well-being, and supports longevity.
Wingman’s Tip: Instead of counting calories, think about colors. A rainbow on your plate ensures diverse nutrients that support overall health.
Movement: Every Step Counts
Exercise isn't just about gym sessions. Daily activities—walking, taking stairs, or gardening—contribute to heart health, muscle strength, and mental clarity. Seeing the centenarians in Okinawa move with greater ease than many people half their age reminded me of this important fact.
Wingman’s Tip: Don’t focus on the number on the scale. Focus on how movement makes you feel: more energetic, happier, and more balanced.
Mindset: Your Thoughts Shape Your Reality
A positive mindset, gratitude, and continuous learning can decrease your risk of cognitive decline and increase your life satisfaction.
Wingman’s Tip: Begin every day with a positive affirmation. Embrace challenges as opportunities for growth.
Sleep: The Foundation of Good Health
Consistent, quality sleep boosts cognitive function, mood, and immune health. Prioritize sleep as much (or more!) as nutrition and exercise.
Wingman’s Tip: Create a bedtime routine to signal your body it's time to rest. This can include reading, deep breathing, legs up the wall and/or listening to calming music.
Stress: Manage, Don't Eliminate
Stress can’t always be avoided, but we can control our response. Chronic stress accelerates aging and increases the risk of disease.
Wingman’s Tip: Find daily practices that help you relax and reset. This could be meditation, journaling, or simply spending time in nature.
Social Connection: We Thrive Together
Human beings are social creatures. Strong social connections can improve mental health, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and even extend life. If you are not familiar with the concept of a moai, I encourage you to reflect on this and think about who is in your moai.
Wingman’s Tip: Make time for face-to-face interactions, even if it's just a quick coffee or walk in the park. These moments build bonds that support our well-being.
Adding years to your life is wonderful, but adding life to those years is even more critical. When we shift our focus from short-term, aesthetic goals to long-term, holistic well-being, we create a life that's not just longer, but richer, fuller, and more satisfying.
Remember, it's not just about the destination; it's about enjoying the journey.