Ingredient #1: Community

Beautiful Ikaria

What is the #1 ingredient for a happy life?

Reese's Puffs

So much Whole Grain that it’s almost like eating oat bran.

 

Spoiler alert: It’s not Reese’s Puffs. Though that might be a close second.  Let’s start with a little background on what statistically could be extrapolated as the number one ingredient.

Who lives the longest?

In some parts of the world, people are living to over 100 years old. Let me correct that: they’re not on life support, they are life’s support: actively involved, healthy, still independent. What is the secret to their longevity?

Blue Zones

All over the world, there are clusters that have been found to have a high percentage of centenarians.  In fact, the locations get more specific, as National Geographic details:

..the interior of Sardinia, a remote peninsula in Costa Rica, a Greek island, a Japanese archipelago, and a community in southern California.

 

Beautiful Ikaria

Ikaria – see you in June?

 

What do these communities have in common? According to research conducted by scientist Dan Buettner, they have exactly nine shared lifestyle practices.  All nine are listed here, (including my sweet Greece!) but numbers seven and nine relate to our first ingredient of community:  “Join a group: Create a healthy social network,” and “Love your tribe: Make family a high priority.”

Other key features include a primarily plant-based (animal-free) diet, exercise, and purpose (our second ingredient!).

 

#1 answer to my question?

When I ask people what their essential ingredients are to a happy life, what do they usually say?  Their response is shared by almost everyone I have asked.

You guessed it: community. In one form or another, most people who identify the most important ingredient first say “family,” “my partner,” or “friends.”

Anecdotally, I’ve seen a correlation between depression and social life. The more someone embeds themselves into a community healthfully (i.e., crack communities notsomuch), the less likely they are to be depressed.  Long-term isolation, I’ve found, is a recipe for your own psychedelic horror.

What about you – how do you incorporate community into your life? Share your strategies in the comments below.

 

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