We’ve been talking about blue zones: five special places on this planet where people live the longest, healthiest, and happiest lives.
What can we learn from these blue zones and their people? Though they are in five different places (Greece, Italy, Japan, California, and Costa Rica), there are similarities in the lives of these long-lived folks.
One of the most important is social ties. Whether it be family, friends, or strangers at the soup kitchen, being in loving contact with others is one of the keys to a long and satisfying life.
And by contact, we mean actual contact. Real physical contact. Hand to hand, eye to eye, knee to knee. The touch of a human being releases feel-good hormones in our brains, lowering blood pressure and keeping the cardiovascular system in peak condition. A prescription from Dr. Patch Adams MD that speaks to this is: “Make a sign that says ‘HUG ME’ and wear it around your neck for a month.”
Does that seem silly? Actually, that is only part of Patch’s prescription. The entire prescription is three parts: to wear a red clown nose on your nose, to wear a pair of men’s underwear on your head, and to wear a HUG ME sign on your chest. The goal is to be silly. To laugh. To laugh at yourself. Ha ha. Hee hee.
The more we study laughter, the more we find out it is the best medicine. Blue zone people laugh a lot. People who laugh at themselves are half as likely to have a heart attack. And laughter is one social activity that a person can do alone if necessary, for when we are laughing, we are not alone.
Don’t stress if you don’t have the close-knit family that you envision. Laugh. Don’t worry if you don’t seem to have many friends. Call up one of them and get together to watch a funny movie. Don’t count yourself out of a social life if you are house-bound or in a wheelchair, or for any other reason. Laugh yourself silly and then throw a giggle party. You can do it.
And be sure to serve silly beans. Legumes are eaten daily – often three times a day – in the blue zones. When next we meet, I will give you some secrets and hints for getting more beans into your diet.
Until then, remember, green blessings are everywhere, and spring is just around the corner!
~ Trauma Care, Part 4 ~