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Why the people of Okinawa live longer and healthier lives
The power of five
Okinawa, an island off the coast of Japan, is considered one of the world’s five “blue zones”. In case you’re not familiar with the term, blue zones are regions of the world thought to have a higher than usual number of people that live much longer than average. The people of Okinawa are fascinating because it’s not only what they eat that keeps them well, or how active they are, it’s thought to be largely down to a unique social ritual which they’ve practiced for hundreds of years. They are each paired with five children from birth and form a “moai group” that connects and supports each other for the rest of their lives.
The people of Okinawa who belong to a moai claim to have a deep support and respect for one another. They not only have daily contact, meeting for meals or to share stories of the day, but they are also there for when things are less than rosy, your maoi will step in and help you.
Here are three tips to mindfully boost your connections:
1. Phase out drains
“Drains & Radiators” an exercise which helps people identify who I enhancing your life and helping to build your wellbeing, and who is draining your energy and causing stress. Whilst we can’t phase out all drains, we can mindfully notice our energy around these people and try to limit our time and involvement with them. It’s not selfish, your physical and mental health is dependent upon it!
2. Find your tribe
Who are your nearest and dearest? Research shows that we mimic the behaviour of our closest friends and adopt a lot of the same habits, so ensure you’re surrounding yourself with the right people. The ones whose habits you admire (at least mostly!)
If you want to expand your circle of friends, get proactive. What are your passions? What do you love doing? Reading? Find a book club. Running? Try Park Run. Cooking? Book a cooking class.
3. Give a little every day
In all five blue zones cultures, social connection is ingrained into the culture. While Okinawans have moais whom they try to check in with daily. By finding the right tribe and being generous with your time and energy, you’ll not only add years to your life, but you’ll enjoy your time here just a little more.
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