How do we measure happiness?  The Blue Zones  project says that we measure it through the following 3 factors:

  • Pride: having a sense of pride in what you do, where you live, in your job etc. ,
  • Pleasure: how many times did you laugh or smile, how much joy do you experience, what is your overall sense of happiness?
  • Purpose:  how engaged you are with your life?

In an article in their latest newsletter, they go on to suggest how we can have more happiness:

  1. Health – a good measure of health and fitness will enable us to interact positively with our environment and feel good.  Sickness and ailments will draw us back in on ourselves.  I know I personally feel much happier when I am fit and healthy.
  2. Home – living in a home environment that gives you happiness. Light, airy, uncluttered, with flow towards nature, are important features.  They suggest living with green plants, perhaps a dog and Mozart’s music in the background!!  That seems simple enough, though I really need to continue with my decluttering!!  The article stresses that your bedroom should be an easy environment to sleep in, so you can get at least 8 hours of good sleep!  I wasn’t so far off the mark in my last newsletter!!
  3. Social – they recommend 6-7 hours per day face-to-face interaction with other people. I live on my own and work from home, so this one really got me thinking.  They mention having at least 5 friends who you can interact with on a BAD day!  Wow, that is a tough one for me.  Living in a city where we all have 6-foot walls, security fences and systems locking us in, it is not that easy to have spontaneous social activity in one’s neighbourhood.  I was chatting to my chiropractor last week and she was mentioning that top priority for her when she moves to a new neighbourhood is to get to know all her neighbours.   That gave me food for thought because it is certainly not the norm in the neighbourhood where I live!
  4. Work – the researchers found that money didn’t have any impact on happiness, it was rather having a good friend at work that increased happiness. Work, for me, fits into the purpose aspect of happiness.  I know personally when I have a busy working week and I feel I am achieving things, which also means I am interacting with people, I do feel happier.

To read the full article you can go to my facebook page:

I find these 4 points particularly relevant in the adjustment to retirement.

Many let their health go in their 60’s, their middle age spread takes over, getting fit takes more work and in some cases, the chronic ailments of old age have already taken a foothold.

So many of us have gathered mementoes and souvenirs over the years, things that we believe we cannot live without and are reluctant to discard.  Thus we end up living in a cluttered environment which will, in the end, become a hazard as we trip and fall over our belongings.

I have written before on the need to increase your social circle when you leave work because now you have 7 days a week to fill.  I think for me, this has been the most difficult aspect of retirement, as I live on my own, do not have children or grandchildren, and had a very small social circle when I left work.

I have also written recently here, as well as in my blogs on 60 & Me (www.sixty& on the role that ‘work’ plays in our lives once we retire from the formal workforce.  Many of us Boomers are determined to continue working in some form or another, whether it be for remuneration or simply to give our lives structure and purpose.

I would love to hear your comments on the above points.  Do you believe that these are the only 4 ways in which we can make our lives happier??  What strategies do you use?

Best wishes