Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way

Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way

Dan Buettner

Language: English

Pages: 304

ISBN: 1426208189

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


What makes us happy? It's not wealth, youth, beauty, or intelligence, says Dan Buettner. In fact, most of us have the keys within our grasp. Circling the globe to study the world's happiest populations, Buettner has spotted several common principles that can unlock the doors to true contentment with our lives.

Working with leading researchers, Buettner identifies the happiest region on each of four continents. He explores why these populations say they are happier than anyone else, and what they can teach the rest of us about finding contentment. His conclusions debunk some commonly believed myths: Are people who have children happier than those who don't? Not necessarily—in Western societies, parenthood actually makes the happiness level drop. Is gender equality a factor? Are the world's happiest places to be found on tropical islands with beautiful beaches? You may be surprised at what Buettner's research indicates.

Unraveling the story of each "hotspot" like a good mystery, Buettner reveals how he discovered each location and then travels to meet folks who embody each particular brand of happiness. He introduces content, thriving people in Denmark, in Singapore, in northeastern Mexico, and in a composite "happiest place in America." In addition, he interviews economists, psychologists, sociologists, politicians, writers, and other experts to get at what contributes to each region's happiness.

Buettner's findings result in a credible, cross-cultural formula and a practical plan to help us stack the deck for happiness and get more satisfaction out of life. According to Buettner's advisory team, the average person can control about forty percent of his or her individual happiness by optimizing life choices. These aren't unreasonable demands on a person's lifestyle, and they often require only slight changes. They fall into three categories that make up the way we live our lives: the food we eat, the way we exercise, and the social networks we foster. It's all about nourishing the body and the spirit. Heeding the secrets of the world's happiness all-stars can help us make the right choices to find more contentment in our own lives and learn how to thrive.

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A blue light special on loafers? Outside one mall, “snow” fell surrealistically on an enormous Christmas tree and a stunned crowd. Great snow guns shot granulated suds into the air, and they sifted down onto shrieking, gleeful children and their fawning parents. A nearby sign blinked the time and temperature: 6:43 p.m. and 36°C (97°F). Was this what happiness meant in Singapore? Expensive gifts and artificial snow? After my first couple of days on the island, I was beginning to ask myself if

orange jumpsuit. By four o’clock he’s at the wheel of a high-tech garbage truck and is staring at a NASA-like dashboard with flashing buttons and multiple-view video screens. At each of 59 stops he jumps out of the cab and, with marmot-like zeal, trots from Dumpster to Dumpster and heaves fresh refuse into the hopper with the help of a hydraulic lift. “I don’t even smell it anymore,” he huffs, sweat seeping through his jumpsuit. The second person is Norridah Yusoh, a 43-year-old housewife who

purpose, and health strategies. When it comes to happiness, does your inner self include a capacity for gratitude, openness to give and receive love, and an appreciation of the arts? As we saw in Denmark, Mexico, Singapore, and San Luis Obispo, the world’s happiest places tend to set up such Thrive Centers so that individuals are constantly nudged in the right direction. In the pages that follow, you’ll find a set of similar nudges to stack the deck in favor of your own happiness. Setting up

enough in the idea of this book to give me access to their research and countless hours of their time. Justin Smith, Nikki Duggan, Anne Wilkins, Janet Calhoun, and Ben Leedle all provided insightful interpretation of their Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Survey. At National Geographic I especially want to thank Lisa Thomas who marshaled this book through its many stages, Nina Hoffman, who championed it at the highest levels, photo editor Susan Welshman, who knows why I’m thanking her, über

the Provence-inspired hospitality at their Petit Soleil hotel and Lindsey Miller at the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce. Finally, I thank Marty Davis; Tommy Heuer; Tom Moudry; John and Larisa Thurston; Mark McGuire; Nick, Steve, and Tony Buettner; Dr. Roland Engel; Dr. Jack Weatherford; Mary and Maureen Petricca; Gayle Winegar; Stephanie Pearson; Rob Perez; Rudy Maxa; Will Steger; Ed McCall; and especially Kelly Hegna, who supported me through the writing of this book and are my testament to

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