See other articles in this Blue Zone Series

Stress is like a certain credit card, “You can’t leave home without it.” Our body, mind and spirit reacts to both negative and positive stress in a similar fashion. Conflict at home or work, a job promotion, loss of a loved one or an uncomplicated birth of a child are examples of negative and positive stress. Researchers have demonstrated poorly managed stress leads to chronic inflammation and disease.

Most people think individuals who live long, healthy lives like the inhabitants of the BLUE ZONES live a stress-free life. Truth be known, nobody can escape the tentacles of stress including people living in the BLUE ZONES. Surprisingly, they have to cope with the same stressors each one of us encounters every day. The difference is the inhabitants of the BLUE ZONES have developed daily rituals that lesson the impact of stress. National Geographic explorer Dan Buettner and his team of scientists discovered these stress coping mechanisms have afforded BLUE ZONE residents’ lower rates of chronic disease and a long life in good health.

Anyone who has made it to 100 years of age is wise enough to realize that life’s most precious moments, memories and opportunities will pass us by if we are blindly running toward some goal. Blue Zone centenarians (100+ year old) understand the value of the small, beautiful things in life. More importantly, they find the time and allow themselves to peacefully enjoy them.

People of the BLUE ZONE manage stress by creating a “sanctuary of time” that focuses on God, family and nature. The Seventh Day Adventists BLUE ZONE inhabitants living in Loma Linda California go on nature walks every Sunday, Okinawans of Japan practice Tai Chi (meditation in motion), Sardinians of Italy have a daily happy hour with family and friends.

“Life is short. Don’t run so fast you miss it.” ~Raffaella Moore, age 107 Are there ways you can slow down in your life? Hey, I’ve got an idea. Head on over to the Macedonia FunFest this weekend and unwind with family and friends.

Take Home Message: Stress is a normal part of life. Short bursts of stress can build character and resilience. Chronic unmanaged stress is damaging, triggers inflammation and leads to disease. The secret to managing stress is to slow down (downshift) and incorporate stress reduction methods into your daily routine. Dr. Krystosik is a board-certified chiropractic physician with an undergraduate degree in clinical nutrition and is northeast Ohio’s leading expert in functional medicine. Dr. Krystosik is the author of 5 books on nutrition and natural medicine and is a nationally known speaker. For an appointment with Dr. Krystosik in his Northfield office, call 330-908-0094 or go to