Moai: Okinawa's Ultimate BFF Group (and the Secret to Longevity)

Gather ye 'round. I've got a tale to tell, a story that's going to knock your socks off. It's about a group of people who've unlocked the secret to longevity, and it's not because they've stumbled upon some mythical fountain of youth or a clandestine anti-aging potion. Nope, it's because they've mastered the art of connection. 

Let's take a trip to Okinawa, Japan, a place where people live longer, better lives than almost anywhere else on this big blue marble.

It's one of the original "blue zones," AKA longevity hotspots. The secret to their success? Moai

Moai, my friends, is a social support group that starts in childhood and extends into the 100s. It's a tradition that's been around for centuries, originally serving as a village's financial support system. Today, it's a cultural cornerstone for companionship, a lifeline of connection in a world that often feels disconnected.

In the quaint neighborhoods of Okinawa, friends gather for a common purpose. They share advice, gossip, and even financial assistance when needed. They call these groups their moai.

Your moai is your committed, life-long friend circle.

These groups aren't just fair-weather friends. They're lifelong companions, a second family. They meet regularly for work, play, and to pool resources. Some moais have lasted over 90 years! 

One of the women researchers met in Okinawa was Klazuko Manna, the youngest of her moai at 77 years old. She stressed that it isn't just about gossip and chatter — it's deep support and respect for each other. "Each member knows that her friends count on her as much as she counts on her friends. If you get sick or a spouse dies or if you run out of money, we know someone will step in and help. It's much easier to go through life knowing there is a safety net."

And isn't that the truth? We all need a safety net, a crew, a group of people who've got our backs no matter what. 

The security and support of your crew is good for your health.

Research shows that your social connections can have a long-term impact on your health and happiness. You mimic the habits of your three closest friends. If you share similar values, healthy habits, and life goals, then you're likely to experience less stress, be happier, and live longer. 

In Okinawa, members of a moai experience the stress-shedding security of knowing that there is always someone there for them. With each happy friend you add to your network, you increase your happiness by 15 percent. Happiness is contagious, folks. 

Okinawan women, on average, live eight years longer than American women. Their moai is likely an important component of their long lives. In all five blue zone cultures, social connectedness is ingrained into the culture. 

So, what's the takeaway here? Find your crew. Cultivate your sense of belonging. It will add years to your life AND life to your years.