Right now, I'm watching the Today Show. It's a segment on happiness. The number one happiest city in America is Boulder, Colorado, but Dan Buettner, the author of The Blue Zones of Happiness, says you don't have to move to Colorado, anyone can be happier. Here are some of the ways he suggests, as a result of what he's learned while traveling the world with National Geographic:
- Get a dog, petting a dog affects those hormones which fight stress. (I don't currently have a dog or cat, but agree with this one.)
- Have a front porch rather than a back porch. It leads to more human contact. The happiest people are socializing 5 or 6 hours a day (Hmmm... something to consider.)
- Have at least three close friends. People you can call and count on through good and bad times. (Done!)
- Have good light. Open a curtain. Having a window looking out at nature makes people more happy. (Though I love a cityscape as well)
- Get religion. Studies show people around the world who have some kind of religion tend to be happier than non-religious people. (Since I've believed in God from childhood, I don't know the other side of this. I do know that religion brings you in contact with other humans and shared activities. I also know I feel more at peace because of my faith, which is part of me whether I'm in a church building, at home, or anywhere else.
- Get married. Stay married. Studies show people are happier with a partner than without. (Unless you're in a miserable marriage, with no hope of reconciliation. I know many would say "stick it out no matter what" but I've seen the dark side of that. I also know single people who are not only happy, but thrive as single individuals, so I think this one is up for debate.)
- Volunteer. Being generous raises your happiness level. (Something my grandparents and my mom taught me by example. Giving really is it's own reward!)
He also says money can bring you happiness, to a point. If you have enough to feel secure. It's not about having lots of things, it's about knowing you have enough to provide for yourself and your loved ones.
Wishing you more happiness in your life!