Journaling through the Blue Zones Well-being Principles for Mental, Physical, Emotional and Spiritual Health

Journaling through the Blue Zones Well-being Principles for Mental, Physical, Emotional and Spiritual Health

by DLC Community Partner Lisa Gruenloh, MPAP, CPC, Founder and President of Purpose Journey®

No matter what you are looking to improve in your life, the information available these days can be overwhelming, confusing, even contradictory. We do our research, look for the best evidence, but in the end, we often rely on other people’s direct experiences to choose a direction. If someone loses weight and gets fit, for instance, we want to know what they did to get there, right?!

When it comes to overall well-being and longevity, we are fortunate to have the benefit of generations of individual and community experiences to learn from – lifestyle practices that also happen to be backed by today’s science. The Blue Zones Power 9® principles are grounded in research lead by Dan Buettner who teamed with National Geographic, the National Institute on Aging, and the world’s leading longevity experts to identify places around the world where people lived longer, healthier, and happier lives. The researchers found five locations dubbed “blue zones,” where people live to age 100 at a rate that is ten times greater than in the United States and with lower rates of chronic disease.

Blue Zones Project Southwest Florida

After determining the healthy lifestyle practices these areas had in common, Buettner and other partners set out to reverse-engineer this longevity blueprint in communities throughout the US. Southwest Florida has been on an eight-year journey, sponsored by NCH Healthcare System, to enhance the well-being of our residents. In August 2022, Southwest Florida became a Blues Zones Certified community.

David Lawrence Centers (DLC) and my company, Purpose Journey, became active Blue Zones community partners from the beginning of the project in 2015. Leaders at DLC recognized that these evidence-based well-being principles support individual and community mental health in a powerful, holistic manner. I became a founding purpose workshop facilitator and have participated in many other ways, including producing a 10-part video series to help people utilize journaling practices to integrate the Blue Zones Power 9 into their everyday lives.

Journaling through the Blue Zones Power 9®

I’m grateful to Blue Zones Project SWFL Executive Director Deb Logan for partnering with me on this rewarding project. In the series, Deb opens each segment with an overview of the well-being principle, then I share some meaningful and fun ways to put them into practice. Start by watching Deb’s brief introduction to Blue Zones and my video describing some of the many benefits of journal writing. The remaining videos cover each of the Power 9 and are just a few minutes each. We hope you enjoy them!

Introduction to Blue Zones with Deb Logan


Introduction to Journaling with Lisa Gruenloh


Move Naturally. Many people keep a fitness log to track their physical activity. Explore additional techniques to help keep you on track with your movement goals and be more active naturally through life. Journaling helps increase awareness of how much we are (or are not) moving each day, while helping us hold ourselves accountable to our goals.

Purpose. What gives your life meaning? Living a life on purpose can add up to seven years to your life and optimize your overall well-being in many ways. Learn these journaling prompts and practices to put your gifts into meaningful action for yourself, others, your organization, community, and the world.

Downshift. Experts say that despite all of our modern conveniences, we tend to be stressed out more than previous generations. Now, more than ever it’s important to find ways to downshift. Journaling is, in and of itself, a downshifting practice that can help you destress and rebalance your mental and emotional well-being.

80% Rule. In Okinawa, Japan, one of the original Blue Zones, they have a saying – “Hara Hachi Bu” – which is an intention to stop eating when we are 80% full. This has gone a long way in preventing overeating which could lead to obesity and other chronic diseases. Check out how a popular journaling practice can actually help you remain in tune with your desired eating habits.

Plant Slant. People who live in the original Blue Zones eat a diet that is primarily plant-based. They eat a lot of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Try out this journaling technique to incorporate more foods that will give you the energy and vitality you need to live healthier and happier.

Friends at 5. It is said that one of the greatest gifts in life is friendship, but how we spend time with our friends matters. Are your closest relationships uplifting and supportive? Practice this journaling technique to help keep loneliness at bay and experience the many health benefits that come along with time well spent with your friends.

Right Tribe. You’ve likely heard the notion that we are the product of the five people we spend the most amount of time with. Are the behaviors of those you surround yourself with supporting your personal health? This journaling technique will guide you in becoming more aware of your influences and the changes you can make for more positive outcomes.

Loved Ones First. Finding time to engage with family and loved ones adds an emotional and physical support structure in our lives. Learn these journaling prompts and practices to help you find ways to keep loved ones close, even when life gets busy and difficult to prioritize. This benefits you and the people you care about most.

Belong. Belonging to a faith-based community has many benefits that include a sense of peace, support, and acceptance. In fact, longevity research indicates that regularly attending a religious service (regardless of faith tradition) can add four to 14 years to our lifespan. A journal can help you better reflect and implement the takeaways from your own spiritual practice to improve your life.

An invitation to begin or deepen your journaling and well-being practice

Feel free to come back to these videos as you set and work toward your well-being goals. You can also explore additional journaling prompts and practices at

To learn more about Blue Zones and Power9 activities in Southwest Florida visit Blue Zones Project – Southwest Florida.

Lisa Gruenloh is an International Coaching Federation (ICF)-certified executive and emotional intelligence coach and Positive Intelligence coach. She’s Founder and President of Purpose Journey®, a consulting, training and coaching company that helps individuals and organizations harness their unique values, strengths, and purpose with bold action to optimize their well-being and impact. During the COVID pandemic, Lisa launched a new venture publishing and donating writing journals and offering workshops to non-profit organizations. Her Journal for Change initiative is now a 501(c)(3) organization that brings the transformational practice of journaling to non-profits nationwide. Learn more at and

Nov 07, 2022 | Blog, Mental Health

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