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219: How to Cultivate Surroundings for Everyday Contentment: ~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #219 ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate: iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify "Your environment, where you live and how you shape your surroundings, is the...

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~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #219 ~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate: iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify "Your environment, where you live and how you shape your surroundings, is the biggest, most important and most impactful thing you can do to favor your own happiness." —Dan Buettner, The Blue Zones of Happiness Have you ever said to yourself - if only I lived [insert your dream destination], I would be happier? First of all, that is perfectly human, and partially correct. Author and researcher Dan Buettner shares in his books and website Blue Zones, which dial into the blue zones of happiness, that while indeed where we live does make a difference to our levels of happiness as we adapt or become conditioned to the habits and way of life around us, so too do the following (as shared on his website - read more here): Trust. Can I trust my neighbor? Tolerance. Can I live out my values? Community. Do I have strong social connections? Healthy life expectancy.  GDP. Money does matter…up to a certain point. Freedom. Do I have the freedom to do the work that is right for me? As I look around my surroundings in Bend, I am examining, asking and then answering these questions for myself. As well, I am doing the same thing with the English countryside and French countryside as both excursions to these countries saw my happiness pique for a variety of reasons, some that were similar and some that were not. But we cannot always pack up and move simply because we aren't feeling as content or as happy as we want. Making such a decision isn't something done lightly or swiftly for most people, but what we can do no matter where we live is tend to what surrounds us right now. Keeping in mind the list above, I'd like to break those down in more detail, paying special attention to specific areas in our lives that we can look at more closely and discover that indeed we can make some improvements to elevate the overall quality of our everyday lives no matter where we call home. 1. Understand how to cultivate healthy relationships The only person we have control over is ourselves. But it is imperative that we find a community in which we are accepted and supported as we are able to be ourselves. Within this community that you cultivate, honor this ability for others as well. I have written a detailed post sharing seven ways to build healthy relationship here. 2. Invest in your social well-being 3. Keep tribalism to a minimum Looking at point #2 above, if we only spend time, live, and congregate with people who think just like us, look just like us and do not engage in healthy disagreements, we are not practicing tolerance of other ideas, cultures and people that live differently than we do. While there is a limit to what each of us can tolerate, understand what is most important as we get to know others outside of our tribe - kindness, respect of others rights and boundaries, and the abillity for individuals to become self-actualized to name a few that come to my mind. If we catch ourselves being judgmental, controlling and stereotyping someone based on something they have no control over, we need to take a step back and ask ourselves if we are contributing to the problem of a healthy society. 4. Examine your health and finesse your diet and fitness routines ~The Six Pillars of Good Health, episode #212 ~Design an At-Home Strength Training Program That Works, episode #201 ~Why Not . . . Take a Walk? Part Deux ~Why Not . . . Feed Your Body Well? 5. Build and then strengthen your income and financial future ~Why Not . . . Build a Strong Financial Foundations? 7 Tips to Try Now 6. Cultivate a sanctuary that feels like home One of the aspects of my recent trip to France was that I chose rentals that would enable me to feel as at home as possible since I was so far away from my own home and would be for some time. Details matter, less but better matters, and choosing details and furniture that enable us to live the life with

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