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The Power of 9: The Key to a Full and Happy Life

Well, it’s that time of year again. We’re either still fully committed to our New Year’s resolutions, we get to them when we think about it, or we just don’t get to it at all (We can live with the guilt just fine, thank you.) Or maybe you’re the one who is already living out your fullest potential! Wherever you are in the spectrum, have hope; this isn’t a diet article! The Bloom has partnered with the Blue Zones Project – Lake County because it’s all about living the fullest and happiest life possible. That doesn’t mean focusing on clothes size but rather considering all aspects of our lives, including our mental and emotional well-being.

For the next few months, I’ll be exploring the Blue Zone’s Power 9 principles. And did I mention it’s not a diet? Well, I’m saying it again. Rather, it’s a total well-being process. Look at the nine principles and see for yourself:

  1. Move Naturally: This principle isn’t about training for the next marathon or implementing a rigid exercise routine; it’s all about adding more natural movement into your day, such as cooking your meals from scratch, parking your car in the back of the parking lot instead of the front row, building fires in your wood stove with wood you stacked and split yourself. It’s about increasing natural movements in your everyday life.
  1. Purpose: I love this! What motivates you to get up every day? What is your purpose other than to pay the bills? What makes you uniquely you? This can be anything from writing good news stories about Lake County (one of my personal motivations for getting up in the morning) to caring for people, teaching, and cooking amazing food to anything that you know is uniquely you. Fun fact: This can add up to seven years to your life!
  1. Downshift: How do you downshift and relieve stress? This principle is all about you and what feeds you. What do you do before you start your day? Do you wake up to meditate, enjoy some inspirational reading, maybe a hot bath, music, or exercise? It’s the small and big things you do to care for yourself to slow down.
  1. 80% Rule: So maybe the food counts on some level, but let’s be honest, who really wants to eat Thanksgiving portions other than on Thanksgiving? The 80% rule says that we should not quite eat until we’re stuffed. I don’t know about you, but there seems to be something about the 80% rule of intake that keeps us going throughout our day at optimal performance and allows us to sleep better at night.
  1. Plant Slant: Increase your fruit, vegetable, and legume intake while decreasing your meat protein intake. No, this isn’t about going vegetarian; it’s about adding the healthy sides. And if it tastes good, who’s complaining, right? Don’t eat Brussels sprouts if they aren’t your thing. Maybe a garden salad is more up your alley on this one.
  1. Friends @ 5: Can you think of a better way to end your day than with friends for a glass of wine, social gatherings, or unwinding with your favorite people? We are social people, and laughing with some close friends is a sure key to longevity
  1. Belonging: Join a club, group, or organization you regularly visit. It’s a great feeling to be a part of something that’s not work but serves a bigger purpose than your nine-to-five life. Fun Fact: This can add fourteen years to your life.
  1. Positive Pack: Hang with people who bring out the best in you, build you up, and believe in you. This one ties directly into Friends @ 5–get a good group of people and enjoy your time with them. 
  1. Loved Ones First: Put your family first when you think about anything you do or add to your life. Above all, spend time with those you love. Fun Fact: This can add up to six years of your life!

If you are anything like me, I’m doing really great on some of these Power 9 Principles and can improve on others. But there are a few things I see in all of these ideas that have in common: slowing down, being present, and enjoying each moment instead of rushing our day-to-day lives. 

Speaking for myself, a homemade meal is far more satisfying than fast food. And a wood stove fire I start with my hands brings a fuller experience than flipping a switch and staring at a propane flame and wood that never burns. In a world full of shortcuts and time-saving conveniences, I, for one, am all for slowing down and further exploring these principles in 2024. I hope you join me!

The Blue Zones Project – Lake County is working hard to improve the overall health and well-being of our community, including where you grocery shop, where you work, where your kids go to school, and the things we do in our free time in our community. If you want to help the Blue Zones Project – Lake County succeed, you can take their Real Age Test here, and with what they learn from these tests, they can further improve on what they are doing for our community. It’s a win-win for the project and for our community.

Trudy Wakefield

Trudy is the owner and editor for The Bloom. The Bloom's dedicated to showcasing all the good parts of life. If it's good news, you'll probably find it here.

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