( New research confirms that taking a vacation could help you live longer. According to the European Society of Cardiology 40-year study, participants who took more than three weeks of vacation had a 37 percent lower chance of dying in the follow-up period of the study than those who took less than three weeks annual vacation -- and it all comes down to stress. Over 52 percent of employees in the U.S. ended last year with unused time off, sacrificing over 600 million vacation days. It is important to note that vacation days don't have to mean traveling - it could just mean actually TAKING time off work. This could be a staycation or even just a personal day. If you still cannot manage to take a vacation, there are a variety of ways to reduce stress in your everyday life:

This is the single activity that ALL centenarians did - and do - daily. It's free, easy, always accessible, and invites company. After a long day at work, a walk can relieve stress and take you away from stressful situations.

Plant a Garden
Working in a garden requires frequent, full-range-of-motion activity, and keeps your hands busy. You dig to plant, bend to weed, and carry to harvest. Gardening daily can reduce stress, and provide you with a colorful variety of healthy fruits and vegetables.

Join a Spiritual Community
Almost all of the centenarians we met subscribed to a specific faith. For people in the longest-lived places in the world, they found comfort in relinquishing worries to a higher power.

Slow Down
Rafaella Monne, a 107-year-old from Sardinia said it best: "Life is short. Don't run so fast you miss it." Slowing life's pace may help keep inflammation in check, and apart from its health benefits, it adds richness to life, tying together many of the blue zones lessons-eating right, appreciating friends, finding time to downshift, putting family first, finding your purpose.


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