If you agree with these statements, you are happier than most people

  1. You manage your finances well and live within your means. You have enough money to do everything you want to do.
  2. You set and reach goals on an ongoing basis.
  3. You always make time for trips or vacations with family and friends.
  4. You use your strengths to do what you do best every day.
  5. You feel safe and secure in your community.
  6. You learn something new or interesting every day.
  7. You have someone in your life who encourages you to be healthy.
  8. You eat healthy every day.
  9. You eat five servings of fruits and vegetables at least four days every week.
  10. You get to the dentist at least once per year.
  11. In the last 12 months, you have received recognition for helping to improve the city or area where you live.
  12. You don’t smoke.
  13. You are of a normal, healthy weight. 
  14. You exercise at least 30 minutes at least three days per week.
  15. You are active and productive every day.

How to find your happy place

If you want to maximize your well-being, either where you currently live or in a new place, there are a few more guidelines that you can keep in mind.

Communities that are designed with these metrics often thrive and promote longevity:

  • Trust. There is a cohort of trustworthy politicians, police, and neighbors.
  • Walkability. Sidewalks and safe streets facilitate physical activity and socializing.
  • Access to nature. There is proximity to parks, open spaces, and trees.
  • Civic engagement. People actively contribute to a willing city government on maintaining and approving quality of life.
  • Clean environment. There is clean water, air, and land.
  • Healthy teeth. People have access to affordable and regular dental care.
  • People-friendly streets. Quiet, safe streets that favor humans over cars.
  • Healthy behaviors. There are local restrictions on smoking, less obesity, and less drug abuse. 
  • Healthy food. Farmers’ markets, local restaurants, plant-based food that’s easier to find than fast food from chain restaurants.

The writer E.B. White said, “I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve (or save) the world and a desire to enjoy (or savor) the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” The key is to find that sweet spot between savoring life now and doing things that lead to a richer, more meaningful outcome in the future.

Dan Buettner is an explorer, longevity researcher, National Geographic Fellow, and award-winning journalist and producer. He is also the author of the best-selling books “The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest” and “The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like the World’s Healthiest People.” Follow Dan on Instagram @danbuettner.

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