August 30, 2010

bene-fit Spotlight: The Power Nine

Here at bene-fit, we are constantly reading and researching to make sure we bring you the latest in health and fitness news, tips, and trends.  This week, we're spotlighting life coach Dan Buettner and his advice for achieving happiness and satisfaction in life by researching life in the "Blue Zones" - the longest-living cultures on Earth.

Check out some of his thought-provoking (and highly useful!) work, summarized in the Power 9.  The Power 9 (below) is a pyramid plan intended to help people figure out where they are falling short in reaching their maximum potential and identify the areas in which they can improve their lives:

[note: this is a great one to print and post on your refrigerator, on your mirror, or in your office cubicle!]

The base of the pyramid is the most important stuff - family, faith, and friends - and it builds upon that foundation with other healthy lifestyle features, with the peak being a bene-fit favorite - exercise!

Check out some great ways to secure each level of the Power 9 for your own well-being  - and leave us comments about how YOU incorporate these areas into your healthy lifestyle!

Tribe: Make family a priority.
Whether it's a Sunday dinner or a quick check-in at breakfast, make sure to acknowledge and communicate with your family members as often as possible. 
Beliefs: Participate in spiritual or religious activities.
Whether you attend a weekly service or a weekly yoga class, finding the time to connect with your deepest inner self and/or your higher power has been proven to increase happiness, satisfaction, and longevity.
Belong: Create a healthy social network.
You can't always choose a healthy family environment, but you can pick your friends!  Make sure to surround yourself with yea-sayers- not just "yes men" - and eliminate negative influences from your immediate circle.

80% Rule: Stop eating when you're 80% full.
A great way to do this is to simply serve yourself smaller portions - switch to a smaller dinner plate, and watch this "rule" take care of itself!  Fast eaters, slow down - serve yourself different foods in "courses" (vegetable first, then protein, then grains) to make sure each bite is mindfully taken.
Plant Slant: Eat mostly veggies and avoid processed foods.
Load up on vegetables to curb appetite and wean yourself off the processed stuff - visit a local Farmers' Market for inspiration, or start using these fun gadgets to keep your produce intake in check!
Red Wine: Drink alcohol in moderation.
If you're a teetotaler, we're not recommending that you load up on the booze - but if you enjoy one drink daily, pat yourself on the back for all the bene-fits you're bringing your body daily!

Downshift: Work less, slow down, rest, and take vacation.
Can't afford a week on the beach?  Grab a full-body massage.  Can't even splurge on a rubdown?  Try soaking in epsom salts.  Establish a serenity routine in your life and reap the bene-fit of a moment of mental peace.
Plan de Vida: Know your purpose in life.
If you don't have a life plan written down, take a half hour to an hour this week and do it - in whatever format is natural to you (a poem, a list, or a sketch all work equally well).  Sometimes believing that our dreams are worthy of our attention is enough to refocus our life course in a really positive way.

Move: Find ways to move mindlessly.
And finally - our favorite!  Don't just associate "moving" with "exercise" - little changes like sitting on a Swiss ball instead of a chair at work, parking far away from a shopping mall entrance, or standing up while you talk on the phone can all shift your daily life from sedentary to energized in just a few short weeks.

Check out more on the Power 9 here - and visit us next week for more great health and wellness information at your fingertips!

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