Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What IS the secret to happiness?

I am sure we’d all love to know the secret. Dan Buettner is the author of a great new book titled “Thrive- finding happiness the Blue Zone ways.”
Buettner interviewed a number of experts and community members in different parts of the world to understand what makes people thrive, experience longevity, and stay happy. He discovered that the concept of happiness is more complex and complicated than the concept of longevity. He summed up his fantastic research and travels with two powerful insights, those being:
• Our brain’s hardwiring is one challenge in being authentically happy. We seem to remember the highs and lows of the events in our life, and as such, our memories are not always accurate. We often spend time and energy pursuing material items that we hope will fill a void, or make us happier.
• Our exposure to “the contemporary life” (media, commercials, photos, etc.) shapes what we pursue to keep us happy.
So then, what is the secret to happiness, according to Buettner? He suggests that when we change our environment, we increase our happiness. Buettner summarizes six Thrive Centres such as your workplace, your social life, your community, and encourages us to set up our life doing the right things in each of these Thrive Centres, instead of chasing things that provide us momentary happiness.
Looking at the Thrive Centre in a workplace, how can we inspire happiness, longevity and a thriving environment?
• Ensure you take vacations (without being plugged in)
• Monitor how many hours you are working, strive for greater harmony between work and home life
• Optimize your work area
• Share a skill and learn a new one

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