Right before I got married, I had a therapist who told me something I never forgot.
“Evan,” he said, “life is just a big hunk of Swiss cheese. The problem is that you only look at the holes and never even notice the cheese.”
He was right. I’m not a pessimist, per se, but I do tend to notice and call out when things seem off, which is just a long, roundabout way of saying that I tend to complain a lot.
Positive friendships are a common theme in the blue zones
I come by it naturally. I’m not proud of it. I’m better than I used to be. But still, my natural bent is to notice what’s wrong with the world and point out how I would make it right.
I’m not the type to berate others just because I’m perpetually dissatisfied; most of my negativity just roils me inside. Regardless, negativity takes a toll everyone around you.
Think of your boss who has never a word of praise for you or that online dating guy who dumps his entire relationship history on you on Date 1.
Sure enough, most people feel life is too short to spend it with negative people.
“Dan Buettner, a National Geographic fellow and author, has studied the health habits of people who live in so-called blue zones — regions of the world where people live far longer than the average. He noted that positive friendships are a common theme in the blue zones.”
Make sense. A huge reason that I married my wife is her naturally sunny disposition. In turn, she makes me into a happier person (an observation validated by all my friends).
And if you don’t have a partner, you’d BETTER have a supportive group of friends. Yet that’s harder and harder to come by as you age, especially if you’re male.
That’s why it’s important not just to cut off (or at least minimize) the negative dead weight in your life, but also to undergo your own conscious gratitude shift.
Not only will it make you happier, it’ll make everyone around you happier, too.
Want to create your own blue zone and surround yourself with five likeminded friends?
Says Buettner, “In general you want friends with whom you can have a meaningful conversation,” he said. “You can call them on a bad day and they will care. Your group of friends are better than any drug or anti-aging supplement, and will do more for you than just about anything.”
Your thoughts, below, are greatly appreciated.