Since I wrote my last blog, Longevity, Blue Zones, & The Road to 100, the word "longevity" is showing up everywhere. Following up on the study of Longevity & The Blue Zones, I have found another one of the most important aspects of longevity: Happiness!
The original study was published in the book "The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest" by Dan Buettner. In a later article published by Success Magazine, Dan Buettner wrote, "THE HAPPIEST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD Learn to Live with Pleasure, Purpose and Pride." In it he explains why a project initially focused on health turned quickly to happiness.
Buettner says, “At first glance these strands might seem quite different from one another, but we often find them braided together in the lives of the world’s happiest people.”
He calls the three basic strands of well being "The Three P's of Happiness":
Pleasure, Purpose, and Pride.
He continues, “The people who live in the world’s happiest places manage to weave all three P’s of happiness into their lives. They combine pleasure, purpose and pride into a resilient form of well-being. They follow the interests of their hearts with enthusiasm, but not at the expense of feeling joy and laughter, and they look with pride on what they are doing or what they have already accomplished. In many cases, they are able to do this because the places where they live - their nations, communities and households - give them an invisible lift, constantly nudging them into behaviors that favor long-term well-being.”
We are finding that the connection between health and happiness is a two-way street. People with positive attitudes tend to exercise more, eat better foods, wear their seat belts more often, and even have stronger immune systems and better cardiovascular health. There is evidence that happier people recover from illnesses faster, and that emotional vitality reduces the risk of strokes. Being happy actually helps you become healthier.
There are ways that everyone can create enduring happiness for themselves and their families. You can make small changes in your life that will combine all three strands of happiness into a strong durable rope.
Think about how the Three P's--Pleasure, Pride, and Purpose--and how you can set up your life to favor greater happiness.
Below are some opportunities to think about in your life and where you may be able to make changes that can add to your happiness.
-Look for more ways to add fun, awe, and joy to your daily routine.
-Maybe rearrange your living space for ease of entertaining.
-Find a way to work closer to home for more time with family and friends.
-Spend more time with friends or make new ones if that creates joy in your life.
-Use your gifts and talents to pursue a meaningful goal.
-Listen to meaningful podcasts or read books that lead you to fulfill your purpose.
-Take time to pursue fulfilling hobbies that make you happy.
-Follow pursuits in life that feed your soul, not your bank account or ego.
-Keep yourself grounded in things that are significant for a rewarding sense of accomplishment.
-Align your work so that it is personally satisfying and interesting.
-Set up a savings plan for your retirement and take pride in the planning.
-Make healthy foods front and center in your kitchen for a healthier environment.
These are just some ideas to think about in your journey to cultivating a greater sense of happiness. I’m sure you can come up with many more that apply to your specific lifestyle and circumstances. Don’t shortchange yourself!
Here are some things to consider pursuing, some typical "happiness-makers":
Kids, pets, partners, hobbies, playtime, socializing, friendships, faith, finances, nature, great sleep, good health, service, exercise, clean eating, travel, adventure, meditation, and a ton of laughter!
Our environments and many of our life choices support one of the three strands of happiness. Some combine two of the strands. Those most likely to bring happiness are the environments and choices in the middle, where all three stands converge. It’s up to you to find your way to that happy middle.
What are you doing to make happiness an important part of your life and your health?
For more on this topic, find The Human Longevity Project at www.thehumanlongevityproject.com where you can learn more about:
The Top 8 Secrets of the World’s Healthiest, Longest-Living Populations
Habit 1: Consistent & Lifelong Movement
Habit 2: Eat Organic, Local & Seasonal
Habit 3: Intermittent Caloric Restriction
Habit 4: Get Outside & Synchronize with Nature
Habit 5: Authentic Connection
Habit 6: Meaningful Existence
Habit 7: Reduce Stimulation, Embrace Simplicity
Habit 8: Eliminate Household Toxins