Dan Buettner, Founder and CEO of Blue Zones
We can show you how to live longer, how to be happy and how to be healthy by optimizing your lifestyle and surroundings.
How to Live Longer
By improving their lifestyle, people can look and feel better at every age and add 12 years to their life expectancy. Something called the Danish Twin Studies established that less than 25% of how long the average person lives is dictated by genes. In other words, most of how long and how well you live is up to you.
So how can you live longer? Does it involve diets? Supplements? Exercise programs? Should you be eating organic, free range chicken or tofu? And what about physical activity? Should you be running marathons or doing yoga?
In 2004, Dan Buettner teamed up with National Geographic and hired the world’s best longevity researchers to identify pockets around the world where people lived measurably better. In these Blue Zones they found that people reach age 100 at rates 10 times greater than in the United States. They found the extra 10 years that we’re missing.
After identifying the world’s Blue Zones, Buettner and National Geographic took teams of scientists to each location to identify lifestyle characteristics that might explain longevity. They found that the lifestyles of all Blue Zones residents shared nine specific characteristics. We call this list of characteristics the Power 9.
The key to getting the extra 10 years we’re missing is to follow the lessons from world’s longest-lived people and create environments of health. For the first time in living history, the life expectancy of our children is projected to drop. As a nation we’re getting fatter every year. Diabetes is on the rise. Is this because Americans are less disciplined? Have we undergone a moral degeneration or are we somehow inferior to previous generations? We don’t think so. We are products of our environment. Every day, hundreds of marketing messages rinse over our psyches – many of them encouraging us to eat things that aren’t good for us. Machines have engineered physical activity out of lives and networked electronics are replacing face-to-face human contact. We can counteract our environment of sickness by living by the simple lessons of the Blue Zones.
To learn more about what our team found on each Longevity Quest, check out The Blue Zones book, and visit each Quest’s page on this site for videos, photographs and lessons:
Take the Vitality Compass, a life expectancy quiz which will tell you how long you can expect to live given your current lifestyle. It will also help you improve your habits and environment to live even longer.
Thrive – How to be Happy
Like longevity, our happiness premise is simple: the best lessons on happiness come from the verifiably happiest people.
On assignment for National Geographic Magazine, our team worked with three of the world’s well-being databases, representing 95% of the world’s population to find the “happiest” region of the happiest country on each of four continents. Then our team set off to explain it. By examining tens of millions of data points, we found the lifestyle and environmental characteristics that are most associated with happiness. It’s often not what you think.
So what makes people happy?
Motivational seminars or positive psychology may boost to your mood for the short term, but long term, authentic happiness requires changing your surroundings in permanent or semi-permanent ways. The team identified six life domains that have the greatest impact on happiness. We call these domains, the Six Thrive Centers.
To learn more about what our team found in each happiness hotspot, check out the book Thrive – Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way, and visit each hotspot’s page on this site for videos, photographs and lessons:
- San Luis Obispo, California
Take our Happiness Test to evaluate your social and psychological prosperity and see what you can do to lead a more joyful life.