What makes happy communities?
The writer and researcher Dan Buettner set out to find out what makes for happy societies in his work with National Geographic on the study of Blue zones and lessons learnt form some of the happiest people on the planet.
Having looked at 141 countries, the Blue Zones research found that people embody the principles of pleasure, purpose, and pride which together deliver life long fulfilment.
Blue Zones organisations have been set up to help people primarily across USA to design happier local communities. Take a look at www.bluezones.com for lessons to be adopted anywhere else.
Researchers have also looked at the secrets of Longevity in Japan and the ethos of IKIGAI.
We are part of communities where we live, but make choices about how much we want to know people in the street we live in, our immediate neighborhood, our villages and towns. By the time we are part of a city it can feel anonymous.
Resilient communities are interdependent. Everyone wants their basic needs met, and to live in a clean and natural environment. This includes having access to functioning public services, health care and healthy lifestyles, inclusive education, nutritious food security, having affordable housing options, and not living in fear.
So where do we start with creating sustainable communities, and act as stewards for out planet for local and global citizens?
Simple acts of kindness
Simple acts of friendship and kindness go a long way to connecting with people and creating our communities. For many of us it starts in school.
We all need connections, a feeling of belonging beyond our families and friendship by having some higher purpose and making it count.
We all essentially want to do good with our lives but distractions get in the way and some may lose directions. Then once in a while an inspiration comes along, shakes us up and we think hey we can do good.
Our workplace community
The time spent in our workplace communities is greater than spending time with family and other activities. We form bonds with colleagues and thrive towards common goals.
So does your work fulfill your values and purpose?
We may form bonds and become part of groups forming our leisure or hobby communities.
As we get older, post working life we may seek to be part of interest groups to counteract feeling isolated. We can use our skills and knowledge or simply learn new things. Often this includes taking up charitable activities, getting involved in local community action, or finding other ways of giving back and leading a meaningful life.
We build our neighbourhoods, build strengths, call on people to contribute and partner, and get behind what really matters.
Think of your Why of wanting change. Look for good examples that build the health of communities, innovate solutions for the common good …then scale this up.
None of this is new…its been done time and time again all over the globe. Small initiatives make local places a better place, improve the land and health and livelihood of people, fulfilling basic needs of food, shelter, safety, health and education.