Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Keys to Happiness

I've been very interested in the Blue Zones studies reports over the years.  I read the book, Blue Zones: Lessons For Living Longer From the People Who Have Lived the Longest, by Dan Buettner a few years ago - and found it fascinating!  It talked about the factors that have helped certain groups of people around the world live well into their 90s or even 100s.

The latest book is Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way, also by Dan Buettner.  I haven't read this one yet - but I hope to soon!  I follow the website and Facebook posts - always interesting information.

This week, on Facebook, they posted 10 factors that seem to make people the happiest around the globe.  (Just to be clear, in this discussion "happiness" isn't the shallow, feel-good, momentary giddiness that we sometimes think of when we hear "happy."  It is the deeper, long-term, joy and gratitude that comes with a life well lived.  A sustaining view of the world.) 

I loved this list (and I think I'm working towards most of them already!), so I thought I'd share:

1.  Nestle in the right neighborhood.  A place with sidewalks and places to meet people, with parks and green space.  (Someday, we'll live in the city...  But where we live now is halfway to this goal.)

2.  Stop shopping: Start saving.  Financial security is a must! 
(Financial Peace University, anyone?)

3.  Make the most of your morning.  Eat breakfast and get some exercise first thing (it'll keep you energized for up to 12 hours!).  (I'm halfway there - eat breakfast, but exercise later.)

4.  Trim your TV time.  The happiest people spend less than an hour watching TV everyday - and instead spend time with family and friends, or partaking in hobbies.  (This, I could work on!)

5.  Get a daily dose of friends.  The happiest people spend 6 hours a day with friends and family.  And being around happier people is contagious - as well as being around not-so-happy people.  So find some happy friends!  (I'm blessed to have a lot of cool people in my daily life.)

6.  Find your soul mate.  Committed relationships lead to happiness.  (Done.)

7.  Meet, pray, love.  People who belong to a faith community and attend more than once a week tend to be happier (and live 7 years longer than those who don't!).  (Yep.  Doing good here!)

8.  Create a sunny sanctuary.  Create a space in your home with natural light - that is cheery and inviting - and spend time with family and friends, or enjoying a favorite hobby, in that space!  (I love my home.  We're good.)

9.  Gain peace with a pooch.  Yes, get a dog!  (Done.)

10.  Ignite passion for compassion.  Givers (of time, money, gifts, and talents) tend to be happier people.  (I believe this is very, very true!)

So...  Out of this list, I should be limiting my TV watching and exercising in the morning.  This is funny, on the morning of Ash Wednesday (the beginning of Lent) to realize in past years - when I gave up TV in the mornings in order to use that time to exercise - I was right on track!

Guess I'll be trying that resolution again!  Click.  TV is off!  Off to the elliptical...!

Do any of these Blue Zones factors challenge you in your day to day life?
Are you giving up anything for Lent?  Or trying something new?
I'd love to hear!

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  Watching an eagle soar yesterday morning.
2.  My sister's pink heart rice krispie bars.
3.  10 hours of sleep last night!
4.  Emergen-C.
5.  Ash Wednesday.
6.  Being given the opportunity to bless people with the ashes.  (One of those moments when I love my job!)
7.  A break in the afternoon for an early dinner with the hubby!
8.  Max Lucado.
9.  Watching the dog play in the snow.
10.  Another good workout!

QotD:  What's your favorite question to ask people?
What are you thankful for today?


Mom said...

What are you reading now? (My favorite question). Most always sparks interesting conversations--which usually takes you to other subjects! Can you share the facebook entry for blue zones?

Megs said...

Just go to the search bar within Facebook and type "Blue Zones." It's the "page" in Minneapolis, MN. Should be one of the first things to pop up. (Is this what you were asking for?)

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