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Dan Buettner On Blue Zones, Happiness & Living To Be 100+

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    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 28, 2010
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      Thanks to Maria Grace.

      Be sure to visit the Pulse reference page on Dan Buettner, Blue Zones,
      Happiness, and Living To Be 100+



      November 28, 2010



      Writer and explorer Dan Buettner has spent his life traveling the world in
      search of answers. His early life consisted of trekking throughout the world
      on a bicycle, covering thousands of miles in Africa, Asia, South America and
      beyond. His travels around the world (and on assignment for National
      Geographic) inspired him to discover and name the globe's "blue zones," the
      countries and societies with the longest life expectancy, the greatest
      happiness and other strengths. His first book to come out of this research
      was 2008's The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who've
      Lived the Longest
      <http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1426207557/newheavenneweart>, a
      prescription for life extension that became an international best-seller.

      Now, Buettner is back with a new book, Thrive
      <http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1426205155/newheavenneweart>, which
      focuses on happiness in the "blue zones," and how everyone can attain a
      better quality of life by following the happiest countries' examples.
      Buettner spoke with Weekend Edition Sunday host Liane Hansen about his
      studies and how we can all infuse more joy into our lives.

      'A Place Where A Garbage Man Makes As Much As A Lawyer'

      Buettner devotes a section of Thrive to Denmark, where the "gross national
      happiness" is incredibly high. When asked why this is, he notes that the
      country's leveling tax structure enables its citizens to have more freedom.
      "Normally when we think of happiness, we think of money and status, but
      Denmark teaches us the opposite lesson," he says. "There, you have a place
      where you are taxed to the mean. A cultural norm reminds everybody that they
      are no better than everybody else, so you're not going to choose your career
      path based on status. You're in a place where a garbage man makes as much as
      a lawyer. So what you have are 4 million people who excel at things like
      furniture design and architecture."

      Buettner also notes that in Denmark, most people only work "37 hours a week
      on average, and they take their full six weeks of vacation," noting that a
      liberal work schedule leads to greater happiness overall.

      He also traveled to Singapore for the book, finding that the citizens there
      responded well to the stringent law enforcement. "What you have here is a
      place that's very secure. Evolutionarily speaking, we are more hard-wired
      for security than freedom," he says. "So in Singapore, while you can't buy
      pornography, a woman can walk any street day or night and be completely
      secure that she's not going to be raped or mugged. And there's also tax laws
      in place that encourages people to stay closer to their aging parents. That
      way the elderly are taken care of and happier, and it turns out the way
      socialization works, we get more satisfaction retroactively socializing with
      our parents than anybody else."

      'The Happiest People In America Socialize Seven Hours A Day'

      In terms of translating the lessons from the "blue zones" to daily life,
      Buettner recommends that people "set up permanent nudges and defaults" in
      order to maximize happiness.

      "For example, in our financial lives, we know that financial security has a
      three-times greater impact on our happiness than just income alone," he
      says. "So setting up automatic savings plans, and buying insurance as
      opposed to buying a new thing. The newness effect of a new thing wears off
      in nine months to a year, but financial security can last a lifetime."

      Buettner argues that relationships are really the key to lifelong happiness,
      noting that "the happiest people in America socialize about seven hours a
      day," and mentioning that "you're three times more likely to be happy if you
      are married ... and each new friend will boost your happiness about 10

      He also states how important good relationships can be in the workplace,
      adding that "the biggest determinant of whether or not you'll like your job
      is if you have a best friend there, more so than how much you're paid, so
      proactively make sure you have good friends there. One way I assert doing
      that is: Be the one who organizes happy hour."

      'The Luster Of Experience Can Actually Go Up With Time'

      Finally, Buettner says that he has learned that people are happiest when
      they spend their time and money on experiences, as opposed to objects. He
      advises taking up an interest in sports or the arts, which will provide
      longer-term satisfaction than any one purchase. "The luster of an experience
      can actually go up with time," he says. "So learning to play a new
      instrument, learning a new language -- those sorts of things will pay
      dividends for years or decades to come."

      When asked about his own happiness level, Buettner admitted that he is
      incredibly content. After all, he has spent his life in the hot pursuit of
      adventure and helping others discover how to live longer and smile more. "I
      have always followed exactly what interests me and never really worried
      about the money," he says. "And when you think about it, to be able to
      travel the world ... on an expense account and do exactly what interests
      you, it just doesn't get much better than that."



      Thrive: Finding Happiness The Blue Zones Way

      The Blue Zones:
      Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who've Lived the Longest




      To find the path to long life and health, Dan Buettner and team study the
      world's "Blue Zones," communities whose elders live with vim and vigor to
      record-setting age. At TEDxTC, he shares the 9 common diet and lifestyle
      habits that keep them spry past age 100.



      Wikipedia on Blue Zones

      Wikipedia on Dan Buettner

      Blue Zones Website

      Blue Zones / Dan Buettner on Twitter

      Oprah: Secrets of the Blue Zones (from 2008)

      NHNE On Aging & Anti-Aging


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