The Surprising Secret Of Happiness As Shared By The Happiest People On The Earth

By on November 22, 2011

By Shahina Lakhani –

Today’s article is based on a book I recently read titled “Thrive Finding Happiness The Blue Zone Way.” We are going to explore some of the points made by the author and how we can begin to incorporate them in our own lives to live happier lives.

Recently I had to take my daughter to a library that was a bit far from our house. She only had to be there for an hour to work on a project so I decided to hang out there until she was done.

I had planned to take one of the books with me so I could catch up on some reading while I waited. However, somehow that book did not make it to the library with me although I was pretty sure I had it in  my hands as I was leaving the house.

Without that book I wasn’t sure how I wanted to spend my hour so I began walking around the library almost aimlessly looking at various books when I spotted a title out of the corner of my eye. As I kept walking I felt an urge to turn around and go back to that book.

Once I picked the book, it was hard to put down. I found the title intriguing, the subject matter interesting and a writing style that pulled me in from the very start. The name of the book, as I mentioned previously is “Thrive” by Dan Buettner.

Hired by National Geographic Society to go to four happiest places in the world (determined by a previous research), Dan Buettner was tasked to find the secret to happiness. On his quest he traveled to Denmark, Singapore, Northeastern Mexico and Saint Luis Obispo, California.

Although, geographically and culturally very diverse, the people in these four locations did have some common traits and habits. Without going into a full review of the book, I would like to share some of his findings in my own words. I am sure, you will be as intrigued as I am with these finding.

1. Community: Happy thriving people have a sense of community. They respect cultural, religious and sexual diversity. Feel a sense of freedom and enjoy art, music and dancing and other related activities. In addition, they do not have a sense of competition with their neighbors so there is no push to keep up with the Jones’s.

2. Workplace: They enjoy their work and take pride in it. However, they do not let their work consume their whole life. So they work less than forty hours, have shorter commute or are self employed.

3. Social Life: They create and foster relationships that give them a sense of belonging and support their values. According to the author, a gallop poll on wellbeing shows that people who are happiest socialize with their friends and family six or seven hours a day. (Now thats my kind of life). He also suggests marrying the right person and reconnecting with faith.

4. Financial Life: Happy people live within their means, do not have much debt and enjoy helping others and giving to charity.

5. Home: Happy people create homes that allow them to come together as a family, where they can pursue a hobby, meditate and sleep well. Less TV screens the better.

6. Self: Happy people have a healthy sense of self. They know and appreciate their own strengths and talents. They know their values and have a personal mission statement. They appreciate their relationships. They enjoy art, cultivate hobbies, have great people skills and love to volunteer.

So how can above information help you? Take some time out of your life and see which one of these traits/ life styles you already enjoy. Chances are there a lot more of these habits and traits we are lacking. For me one the thing that jumped out the most was family time.

The current western life style (specially in USA) demands that we spend more than eight to ten hours in work related activities. The rest of the time is taken up by TV and other distractions. As a result, an average family has become a bunch of strangers living under the same roof.

I invite you to take an inventory of your life and come up with one thing you can start doing as an individual and/or a family unit to help increase your sense of wellbeing. Then every month take away something that is unimportant e.g part of the time spent watching TV and add in another activity (or non activity such as meditation, personal down time etc).

In 3-6 months look at your life again and see if your feeling of wellbeing and happiness has changed. You will be surprised at how little changes can tremendously improve your sense of happiness and quality of life. Through little adjustments in your life style, instead of surviving each day you will begin to thrive.

Shahina has been a nurse for over 25 years. She has done a lot of amazing things in nursing. Her very first job was as an Operating Room Nurse. She then worked as a Nurse Practitioner after completing her Masters in Nursing. She has also worked as an Educator, and a Hospice Nurse. Her website: http://throughlifeanddeath.com/.

Shahina Lakhani

About Shahina Lakhani

Shahina has been a nurse for over 25 years. She has done a lot of amazing things in nursing. Her very first job was as an Operating Room Nurse. She then worked as a Nurse Practitioner after completing her Masters in Nursing. She has also worked as an Educator, and a Hospice Nurse. Her website: http://throughlifeanddeath.com/.

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The Surprising Secret Of Happiness As Shared By The Happiest People On The Earth