Dan Buettner has a new Blue Zones book out (the happiest places in the world…) so he’s been making the rounds lately; I’ve heard interviews with him on either NPR or a podcast and one thing he said really struck a chord with me:
My findings indicate that if you want to get happy, don’t try to change your belief system. Change your environment.
Isn’t that the opposite of what we’re always told?*
“bloom where you’re planted” ??
That’s what I always thought I should believe. I thought I was supposed to be happy no matter my environment, no matter my surroundings, no matter the community. I was supposed to just be happy wherever I was. (not that I’m not happy, I just felt – the last four years – that I could be so much MORE happy/content/at HOME – in a different place. I have not felt like myself in years)
My husband is great at that; he is happy wherever he is. Truly. I, on the other hand, am not. I felt constant pressure to just “be happy” and make the best of things. Which I tried, I really did. Sometimes it worked for a bit, but most of the time it didn’t.
And now I don’t feel so bad about it. Not so much because Dan Buettner’s research backs that up, but because I also FEEL it, and KNOW it to be true. For me anyway. I think a lot of people are very good at going with the flow, and just adapting easily to their surroundings. Again, I’m not great at that. I envy those who are.
As you know, we recently moved. We’re still in the DFW area, but we moved quite a bit closer to Dallas, to a not-as-suburban suburb of Dallas LOL. I’m 15 minutes away from my favorite places to sit & work and shop now, and we live in a much more “inviting” and diverse community. We have a yard for Dagny and a house with enough space to spread out, and for all my plants. It gets wonderful light. Our home is just a pleasant place to be now. It is the sanctuary I’ve wished it could be for quite a while.
We literally live next door to friends, and I’m closer to another friend’s work and the places we like to hang out. I am seriously IN LOVE with my new Pure Barre studio and already feel at home there.
I can breathe now. I think I feel like me again. It’s been a long time.
What do you think about Dan Buettner’s argument, that happiness isn’t ALL about our “belief system,” that it is also influenced by our surroundings? Have you found that to be true in your own life?
Incidentally, he also says that people who socialize for 6-7 hours a day tend to be happier, and people who live near water tend to be happier…
*to be fair, I think true “happiness” is a combination of quite a few things, including belief system AND location. But when one is “off,” it’s harder for me to feel it…