Dan buettner’s morning routine

Posted on September 29th, 2010

Yesterday I posted about my morning routine. In the middle of my routine, the inspiringly languid and health-ful Dan Buettner emailed me, so I asked him to share his.


Three things you should know about Dan:

* He’s the world expert on how to live longer and wrote Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest.

* He’s spent his life as an explorer and, ok, looks a little like Indiana Jones. Which I just know he won’t like me saying. He travels the world working out what makes people happy, healthy and live longer.

* He’s a top bloke. Walks his talk.

* We met via this blog about a year ago. Common interests. Weird happenstance.

* Signs off on emails with “Live large” or “largely”. Which always makes me stop and think…”Ok, then”.

So Dan’s morning routine, from Dan:

The following three will verifiably boost your mood:
1.  At breakfast, eat fruits and grains, eschew meat.  I’m a smoothie fan during the summer months (blueberries and soy milk) and oatmeal (with walnuts and brown sugar) during the winter months


2.  Twenty minutes of exercise will give you an eight-hour bump in well being.  I either do yoga or bike to work.
3.  Say something nice to the first person we meet.  A Harvard study shows that behaviors are contagious so if you do it to your neighbor, it’s likely to come back to you.

I know some readers commented yesterday about finding it so damn tough to establish a routine, due to crazy work hours and kids. I really do get it. My schedule is all over the shop. Some days the filming schedule dictates I start at 5:30. And I’m a bad sleeper and might get to sleep around 4am.

But, I share this:

* build a structure and life will slip in around it nicely…to a large extent. That’s how life rolls. When you stand firmly in the river, diary appointments, early meetings etc, they all sift and filter and flow around you, no complaints. Even  kids. This tip-sheet gives some ideas how to upgrade your morning… and deal with the kids thing, too.

* I find being inspired by what other people do helps most. If anyone can, you can. The daily routines of writers fascinates me.

* in some ways it doesn’t matter what the routine entails. It’s the routine that matters. Your routine might simply be to sit down to eat breakfast. Or to walk the kids to school. Or to write down three things you want to be mindful of today. I find the simple act of honouring SOMETHING for yourself is enough.

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  • sal

    thanks for the links Sarah. I visit your blog, not only because I enjoy your open and honest sytle, but becasue I am trying to change my ways for the better. Didn’t mean to be a whinger yesterday – I’ll jsut try a little harder today.


  • jess

    something in the universe is telling me to Read. This. Book. This is three times in three days that I’ve stumbled over references or articles referring to Dan!

    And I too love the morning routines of writers – Sarah I think you mentioned this a little while ago…?


  • loving this. In all the craziness of life, having myself a loose morning routine works for me. It’s not rigid. It allows me to do what I want and need to do. I say this because circumstances right now are making it looser than ever! As always, your blog makes my brain tick. Awesome!


  • Sarah

    Sal, you weren’t whinging…just sharing. Waving, not drowning! I think you were voicing what many feel. Please don’t apologise. Actually, I’m grateful for your comments, and the commentary that followed. It was a joy to follow it and see Jason soften in such a kind way.


  • Brown

    It’s funny, a friend was just telling me just the other day that a good way to help release your creativity was to write 3 pages a day. Then, I read your post and you mentioned The Artist’s Way, exactly what my friend was telling me about. I’ve been feeling natures pull for me to start writing, so there it was for me loud and clear what I needed to do. I know how you have said that if something comes up for you 3 times then to do it, well I didn’t need the 3.

    I started my morning pages this morning, I even bought some new note books yesterday to write in. Can I tell you that it just flowed, it felt great! I followed this up with an 8km run, then my morning meditation, and off to work. What a great way to start the day. Loving the morning routine.


  • From experience, I can say that routine not only enriches your day to day life, It simplifies life! I am a single father and have raised a couple of kids on my own since they were two and three years old. My kids always went to school with clean teeth, brushed hair, clean clothes and a healthy lunch in their backpack. Then I’d arrive at work and hear excuses from stay at home moms about not having time to brush their kids teeth, who showed up at my office with snot on their nose, tangled hair and dirty clothes. It’s all about routine. It keeps us sane. It gives us a jump-start on the day. It helps us make sense of our sometimes crazy lives.
    For years (and even when I had young children at home – they’re now grown and on their own) my morning routine began with solitude, yoga, meditation. reading, writing, and eating simply. The tranquility of my home, even in the morning routine, helped me negotiate the day. It still does.


  • picardie.girl

    Sarah, your blog is exactly what I need right now! I’ve only just discovered it and find myself coming here every day, reading and nodding along. I’ve sent more than one post to my boyfriend and just last night said, I was reading on Sarah Wilson’s blog… and he said, “I read that!” So we had a much-needed discussion about morning routines (how we’d like to change ours and establish a better, calmer, healthier one). You inspire me to do better; to make more of my life instead of rushing around like a headless chook! So thanks. I am very far from the great way of living you have attained, but I am trying… 🙂 xx


  • Lucy

    Thanks for the last couple of posts Sarah, they have come at just the right time. I’ve just started a new job this which has crazy hours and no day is the same so my normal routine has just been thrown out the window. Your posts have been a great reminder of the importance of centering yourself before you start your day.


  • A couple of years ago a friend had a contact of a visiting yogi- One thing led to another and before we knew it a small gathering was listening to a small brown man talk about mind body and spirit of which “finding the time” is paramount. On finding the time- A common western problem he said something that has stuck with me- If you had to front up for dialasis you would find the time. It’s the same thing-


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  • I have recently read “Blue Zones” and “Thrive” and want to read all work by Dan Buettner.

    I am hoping he will enter the ART TOPPLING tobacco competition (think of it as a project if you don’t like competition concept). I came across a page in “Thrive” that would lend itself to this competition in which the word art refers to all things creative so literary anecdotes are invited.
    The title is ” Antismoking Policies Can Make People Happier” page 201.
    xo Fay


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