Guest post by Alexi Bracey.
The Blue Zones, 5 pockets of worldwide communities found in Sardinia, Costa Rica, Greece, Linda Loma (US) and Japan boast to be the healthiest and longest living populations with a sharp mind and agile body, well into their 90’s, 100’s and beyond. What is their secret?
Among many lifestyle factors, paramount is meaning and purpose in their lives.
What is your purpose? What gives you the most love, joy and passion? Do you get up and look forward to each day?
Make a list of 10 things that make you happy?
Make a list of 10 things you do every day?
Compare the lists.
Your purpose is what is most important to you. More important is what feeds your soul? You may want to write a best seller, be president of a corporation? achieve PhD status? Learn another language or be a home mom, a great receptionist or a school bus driver?
Lack of purpose as we age reduces longevity. When you retire, write that book, go on that trip you always dreamed of, become a mentor, take that year by the water. What has spoken to you over the years that you have not done? On peoples death bed, they regret what they did not do, not what they accomplished.
Many women lack purpose when their children grow-up, get married or go away to college. Dementia is 3x’s more prevalent in women for that very fact.
There is a nursing home in Scandinavia that has a chicken coop. The residents clean-up the coop, feed the chickens, gather the eggs and sell them at the market. It gives them a sense of purpose.
One of my daily practises for a purposeful/meaningful life is gratitude? Gratitude has been shown to increase longevity by improving physical and psychological health and sleep, decreases anxiety and depression, decreases cortisol, the stress hormone and increases DHEA, the feelgood hormone.
How I add purpose and meaning to my life is through gratitude. There is always something to be grateful for even in the midst of something negative, painful or a loss.
Cancer saved my life 20 years ago and I am grateful because it shifted my career direction to where I can now help, educate and inspire others.
Any dis-ease is something to be grateful for because it is a wake-up call to look after your body and change your lifestyle habits.
Being fired from a job may open-up a better job opportunity or entice you to become an entrepreneur.
A relationship break-up may result in you taking a personal development course and meeting Mr. Wonderful.
A no-deal sale for that home may lead to your dream home.
Be grateful for the sun that provides the energy to grow our food, the birds to sing and the bees to pollinate.
Be grateful for fresh water, electricity, your bed, your liver, your toenails, your eyelids.
What can you do to show gratitude in your daily life?
- Send a Jacquie Lawson e-card weekly to a friend, someone you met, someone who helped you in some fashion
- Call an old friend and re-connect
- Buy a coffee for the car ahead of you at the drive-thru
- Give a flower to the women standing in line at the grocery store or a plant to a neighbour
- Take the shopping buggy back for a senior or a mom with kids
- Take blankets and treats to the animal shelter
- Write a thank you card to your cleaning lady, hairdresser, favourite barista, pet groomer or bank teller
- Start a daily gratitude journal
- Before bedtime, list 3 people you connected with or met that day and list 3 reasons why are you grateful to them
- Buy a meal for a homeless person or offer a generous money gift
Write your eulogy. (Seriously, take the time to write your eulogy). How do you want to be remembered? List 10 reasons for you to live a better, meaningful and purposeful life. What do you want more of?
I love to “put a chuckle into people hearts” by telling them a joke. I approach strangers in dog parks, grocery stores, gas stations and at the ATM machine. Their laughter feeds my soul, their soul and it shows the stranger that someone cares; (You don’t know what kind of day they are having).
Admission to my “Celebration of Life “services is to share a joke.
Maintain a spiritual connection, practise mindfulness and meditation and help others feel what you desire most.
“May the pillow upon which you say your nightly prayers
be one of gratitude” (Maya Angelou)
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