Continuing the post from a few days ago on the Blue Zones “Power Nine” Lessons 1,2,3 here are key highlights from Lessons 4,5,6:
Lesson Four: Grapes of Life. Drink red wine (in moderation).
Strategy → Buy a case. Make sure you have it on hand. Make it Sardinian Cannonoau if you can find it. Spec’s in Houston carries it.
Strategy → Make Happy Hour = Wine & Nuts. My personal spin on this, is to set it up as one drink with a small dish of nuts. Be mindful rather than mindless about the pleasure of the wine & nuts. Happy Hours often turn into mindless, noisy consumption. True for me anyway! Am going to try this out tonight for book club … taking a one glass exception from Lenten abstinence in the spirit of experimentation and the advancement of knowledge :). My big question is, will this feel like “Happy Hour” or “Restrained Hour”? Will it be as much fun?
Lesson Five: Purpose Now. Know “why you wake up in the morning”.
Strategy → Craft a personal Mission Statement. I’ve done this before, as part of practicing to teach a course on personal effectiveness or working with groups on new team formation. It’s been a long time. I’m at a different life stage now. Good idea!
Amazing factoid → From The Blue Zone: “It was reported that immediately following December 31, 1999, demographers saw a spike in deaths among elders. These older people may have willed themselves to stay alive into the new millennium”. We all have our own similar anecdote to tell, but here is data. Find your personal “millennium goal”.
Lesson Six: Downshift. Take time to relieve stress.
Strategy → Reduce the noise in your life. I love all that chatter on NPR radio in the car, my podcasts while running, CNN at the gym on the TV. The past couple of weeks I’ve been turning off these noise makers more frequently and I’m loath to admit it, but it does make a difference. The question is how to balance the value and pleasure of that chatter with the value of the peace that silence can bring?
Strategy → Be early. They even suggest as early as 15 minutes to all appointments and meetings. OMG … no way! … completely unrealistic. My strategy is to squeeze as many things in as possible and arrive just on time. Only exception to that rule is airports. The first-baby-step shift for me here is to shoot for maybe 5 minutes early. That already could potentially yield the described benefits of “time to slow down and focus before”.
Strategy → Meditate. This is not new. It’s not unexpected. I’m mentioning it only because of the big promise that is ascribed to a consistent, long-term daily meditation practice. I’ve only been meditating for 16 days and cannot yet report on significant earth-shifting changes. I think it takes longer. I imagine it to be more like watching the moon cross the sky at night. You never see it move. You just suddenly become aware that it has shifted position.
Stay tuned for Lessons 7,8,9.