“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned or won.
It is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude”.
– Denis Waitley
My husband Andy and I at our favorite "Blue Zone" beach on the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica: Playa Carrillo
Blue Zones: where people live the longest.
“Blue Zones” is a concept used to identify a demographic and/or geographic area of the world where people live measurably longer lives, only occurring in a handful of places on Earth. This concept is the result of research by Gianni Pes and Michel Poulain, as they identified 5 areas with the highest longevity they called “Blue Zones”.
These places have a high concentration of people over age 100, and there is a substantial disability-free and disease-free life. People live significantly longer happier lives, in these places, than anywhere else in the world. There are five identified "Blue Zones", scattered across the planet.
THE FIVE BLUE ZONES:
- The Italian island of Sardinia
- Ikaria (an isolated Greek island)
- Okinawa, Japan
- Loma Linda, California
- The Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica
Playa Conchal - located in the Blue Zone of the Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica.
The sand is made up of millions of crushed conch shells.
My husband Andy and I lived in the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica for over 6 months, and this unique section of Costa Rica truly does contain some of the happiest people on the planet. People living in this area of Costa Rica are more than twice as likely, as other Americans, to reach age 90.
If you've ever spent any time in Costa Rica, the land of rich coasts and pura vida, then you can understand why this special place is known for being one of the happiest countries in the world. Even the animals of Costa Rica display a strong sense of inner peace and can be seen smiling through their endless beach days.
A mother and baby sloth, living the pura vida life and smiling for our camera, in Cahuita, Costa Rica.
Brimming with vibrant colors, pristine beaches, exotic birds, friendly animals, lovely people, flavorful food, and hammocks on every corner, it doesn't take long for the laid-back, slow-paced Costa Rican beach vibe to seep into your soul.
Luckily you don’t have to move to a Blue Zone to live longer. Studies have shown that the people who inhabit these famous Blue Zones seem to share 9 significant life characteristics. If you implement these habits into your daily life, you can create your own "longevity hotspot" wherever you are.
HOW TO CREATE YOUR OWN BLUE ZONE:
1) A REASON TO LIVE - plan de viva – have a life purpose.
2) HAVE FAITH – engagement in spirituality or religion is important.
3) FOCUS ON FAMILY & FRIENDS – before other concerns or focuses.
4) WORK HARD – make a strong work ethic and physical activity a regular part of life.
5) DRINK LOTS OF WATER AND EAT YOUR VEGGIES – a majority of food consumed in Blue Zone’s is from plant-based materials, including many nutritious, rich, colorful fruits and numerous fresh vegetables, and always stay hydrated.
6) STRESS REDUCTION - an established healthy support system to reduce stress in your life is crucial. (Even if this simply means purchasing a hammock and scheduling daily "hammock time").
7) GET LOTS OF SLEEP – the inhabitants of Blue Zones are known for rising and falling with the sun, and for getting at least 8 hours of sleep each night. Go to bed early and try to get good quality sleep.
8) GET SOME SUN – a healthy, daily dose of sun is mother nature’s anti-depressant.
9) DON’T SMOKE CIGARETTES – smoking is not common in Blue Zone communities.
A spectacular Blue Zone sunset at Playa Carrillo, Costa Rica.
And, it would be safe to assume, these Blue Zone people don’t forget to stop in their own pursuit of happiness, to just be happy. They realize that being happy or miserable is a choice. The amount of work is the same.
So why not choose happiness? If you want to be happy, then be.
Play your Blue Zone defense, in order to tackle life’s hardships. Change the way you see your world and create your own happy place wherever you go. Choose to live the Blue Zone life every day.
If you still struggle with this concept, try taking some life advice from a baby sloth: slow down, unplug, smile, take lots of naps, and make sure to spend a little time every day doing absolutely nothing. Pura Vida!
Kari Pinkerton Silcox
It would be a tragedy to die, having never really lived. Which is why my husband Andy and I quit our jobs, sold our house and decided to chase our dreams. We moved to Costa Rica without a plan, and this is the story of our adventure.