Recently watching two interesting documentaries with my family on the ingredients to age slower and to improve choices for a healthier, longer and fulfilling life that I found valuable to share with you.
The first one being ‘Limitless with Chris Hemsworth’ On Disney+, where the actor aims to unlock the human body’s and brain potential to think and act differently.
Over the course of six 1-hour episodes, Hemsworth explores methods to age slower and to live a healthy, fulfilling life along the way.
“It’s a chance to fight back against death and disease,” he says, a mission most humans share.
Each episode presents a different immersive or physical experience with a core focus. “Stress” has Hemsworth walking on a crane nearly 1,000 feet in the air; “Shock” has him swimming through icy Arctic waters; “Strength” has him climbing a rope over a plunging canyon, and so on. The exercises are extreme, but that’s because they’re tailored to Hemsworth himself: physically fit, adventurous, and willing to push his body to its limits. The lessons, however, are universal and several of the techniques I use with my clients to overcome stress, fatigue and overwhelm in their daily lives.
In the first episode, he works with Dr. Modupe Akinola, a social psychologist, to manage how stress rules his life. She is going to take three days to get him ready to do a very stressful act, which is walk along a crane at the top of the Crown Towers in Sydney, about 900 feet above ground. Hemsworth wants to be able to manage his stress because it not only affects his sleep but he knows that constantly being in fight or flight mode is a factor for later-in-life health issues like high blood pressure, diabetes and more.
The visuals explaining the impact of stress on our brain and body is valuable. The ‘box breathing’ technique I also teach to my clients to help reset your brain to be able to think clearly whilst under pressure to reduce the cortisol – stress hormone levels down without blocking our rational thinking part of our brains (Pre-frontal cortex).
Another technique that I use that is similar with my clients is around understanding the negative thought patterns also known as the fixed mindset i.e. I cannot do this or I am fearful of failure and see the effects of positive self-talk in terms of a growth mindset on how you can see the opportunity and grow from the learnings of doing something new or different. A quote that often helps me get into a growth mindset when I am feeling uncertain about doing something new is ‘The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek’ by Jospeh Campbell.
The second documentary is called ‘Blue zones’.
What are Blue Zones?
Blue Zones are areas of the world where people live the longest lives, consistently reaching age 100. In contrast, the average life expectancy estimated to be around 77 years.
This documentary is not just about living longer lives, it’s about healthier and more fulfilled lives. People living in these Blue Zones are also much less likely to suffer from chronic illnesses.
Where are the Blue Zones?
The five Blue Zones are located in:
- Sardinia, Italy – home to the world’s longest-lived men
- Okinawa, Japan – home to the world’s longest-lived women
- Loma Linda, California – Seventh-day Adventist community that outlives the average American by a decade
- Ikaria, Greece – tiny island community with significantly reduced rates of common chronic illnesses
- Nicoya, Costa Rica – area where people are more than twice as likely as Americans to reach 90 years of age.
What do the Blue Zones teach us about healthy aging?
The goal of studying the five Blue Zones was to uncover commonalities that might explain why people from these regions live longer lives and without the chronic disease rates we see elsewhere.
Nine healthy principles were shared from the documentary— called the Power 9 — they believe to be at the core of Blue Zone living:
- Making movement a natural part of your day
- Knowing your sense of purpose (your WHY)
- Prioritising stress relief (knowing your triggers and have strategies and techniques to self-regulate)
- Eating until you’re about 80% full
- Eating a largely plant-based diet
- Drinking alcohol in moderation
- Connecting with your community
- Putting family (whether biological or chosen) first
- Choosing social circles that support healthy behaviours
Which of these could you pay more attention too? I recommend priorities them and focus embedding one of these for approximately 90-days.