Here’s to Recognizing the Milieu for Health and Happiness

We feel challenged by earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, strong winds and usually reach out to those around us to pool our resources and support each other. Great kindnesses are reported. We reach to save the world and all therein.

The spin side of this is that when we are not threatened by such events, we tend to indulge ourselves with less concern about saving the world. Healthwise, the Earth is in crisis. Take your pick: threatened water, not only in limited supply, but by contaminants; weakened soils; lack of sustaining work for many people; weak infrastructures, such as old dams and bridges in need of repair or removal; increasing senior population in need of health care; dwindling sea foods from contaminated oceans; increased transport of viruses and insects no longer contained locally due to travel ease; questions about our chemtrail footprint and more, threaten our health.

In the last century, Tielhard de Chardin wrote about the Divine Milieu and Dietrich Bonhoeffer gave us A Testament to Freedom. Both document how crucial to our health is our ability to be kind to people everywhere, not only in the US. Today, writer Rebecca Solnit, in A Paradise Built in Hell, documents the “Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster.”  Solnit researched five US catastrophes: hurricanes, earthquakes, and 9-11. She found that most people are altruistic in such situations.

Yet we need to continually remind ourselves to figure out how we can best share and care for each other and the Earth. Lists rating the top ten healthiest/happiest countries in the world vary depending on the bias and due diligence of each researcher but some countries crop up on everybody’s list. US is on nobody’s top ten list. Okinawa in Japan gets top billing for health. Several people on Okinawa live 110 yrs. with a big plus for quality of life.

We could learn from common habits found in top ten picks. They have strong, inclusive social networks and feelings of social responsibility that permeate the culture. This includes acceptance of a higher tax base that funds health care and education. Fewer people work long hours; they enjoy gender equality, have low crime rates, less corruption, and more jobs. Top tens also tend to have transparent governments, safe water quality and more public trust.

Top tens value plenty of exercise. They walk, use public transport or bikes, daily practice Tai chi or some form of movement that keeps everything moveable tuned up.  Okinawans favor plant based diet as their foundation, eating lots of fresh vegetables, fruit, and seaweed; small amounts of protein (fish/meat/eggs/nuts/seeds), fat, and alcohol.

Health and happiness depend less on how much we have and more on how much we share and care for each other all over the world every day. Time to reorient selfies with others.

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