Are Hawaiians Happier?

Hawaiians earned the title of “The Happiest State in America” with the highest rate of well-being of any state for the 4th year in a row, according to the annual Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.

The index looks at six categories: life evaluation, emotional health, work environment, healthy behaviors, and physical health. According to a Huffington Post blog post entitled “What Hawaii Can Teach the Rest of America About Living Better” by Carolyn Gregoire, Hawaii locals not only live longer, they’re less stressed and happier than any other state. Other states in the top ten were:
10) Massachusetts
09) Iowa
08) New Hampshire
07) Nebraska
06) Montana
05) Vermont
04) Utah
03) Minnesota
02) Colorado

Folks in the top 10 states tend to have lower rates of obesity, and fewer medical problems, such as Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, and chronic pain. They also report enjoying their jobs more. They have lower rates of smoking, and exercise more than those who live in the lower -ranked states.

These five states have been in the lowest rankings every year from 2008 through 2012: West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Arkansas and Mississippi.

Almost 60% of those in Hawaii say they are “thriving,” versus about 45% in West Virginia. Hawaiians live longer, according to recent data from the Center for Disease Control.

So what are the secrets to the Aloha state’s longevity and happiness?

A Slowed down lifestyle.

A sense of family and strong community

Sunshine and exercise: more than 60% of Hawaiians exercise, according to Dr. Bradley Willcox, a longevity expert and professor at the John A. Burns school of medicine at the University of Hawaii.

Courtesy arztsamui
“You get vitamin D from the sun when you’re out, it’s easier to be physically active here –you’re not dealing with 2 feet of snow for a good chunk of the year.”

Okay, let’s talk about these things. If you live in Hawaii, I’d love to hear from you. Please weigh in on:
What you think your state of happiness is, on a 1-10 scale, ten being the happiest.
Has your family had longevity?
Are you really healthy?
Do you exercise and get outside regularly?
Do you feel stressed?
Do you lead a slowed-down lifestyle?
Do you have strong family/community ties?

I will publish the results from the feedback I receive.

On another note, living in Hawaii is always interesting, and does pose its challenges. Last evening while we were in our Jacuzzi down in the yard, we had a visitor:


I felt something brush my ear, and thought a mango tree leaf had dropped into the spa. I reached for it and it moved. I flung it, screeching, and Mike said it began swimming fast across the Jacuzzi. Well, you’ve never seen two adults in relaxation mode move so fast (or sound like 6 year-old girls).
It was about the size of the span of my hand when open, from pinky to thumb, say 6-7 inches. This is our second centipede in a week. I was headed down the hall the other evening at bedtime and just happened to glance down and saw one on the floor. I could easily have stepped on it and been stung, being that I’m always barefoot. Our chosen mode of removal is a giant pair of cooking tongs, at which point they get very angry… And then they are tossed in the toilet and flushed. A friend lays a flat box down and waits for them to crawl in. (What was that ad on TV? Cockroaches crawl in, but they don’t crawl out?)

Anyway, never a dull moment. And how was YOUR Saturday evening?

If you live in Hawaii, please take a moment to respond to the above questions, if you would. Many mahalos!

A hui ho!! If you would like to subscribe to this blog, please click the “follow” button on the homepage.

Aloha, Jamaica

4 thoughts on “Are Hawaiians Happier?

  1. Aloha, I found this particularly interesting because of a unique situation. Allow me to briefly explain. I had travelled to many places in the world which are considered to be “natural energy and/or spiritual vortexes”. I watched many persons experience all sorts of things, but I did not. Then, I came to Maui for a 2 week vacation. Upon stepping from the plane, even while still in the terminal, I knew that I was ‘home’ for the first time in my life.

    I’ll spare you, in this writing, some of the following experiences that led me to live here, but by the end of that 2 week stay, I was looking for a house to move to. After 10 years, I had to leave my island, Maui, and have been working with one desperation in heart… to return. I am returning home soon. With this insight, I wish to respond to the survey.

    1. State of Happiness (1-10)
    I have never been as happy in my life before or after my time in HI. Each individual moment, hour, day, week, month, year was separately and collectively the happiest periods of my life.

    2. Family Longevity
    Yes. I live more spiritually, more connected to the world around me, more at peace of heart, mind, and soul, more contented, and more completed when I am here. When one lives with this type of ho’oponopono, longevity happens.

    3. Health
    It is interesting that I began developing several health issue in the time after I had to leave HI. I can feel that when I am wholly at peace (#2), health improves.

    4. Exercise & Outside
    When away from HI, I have no desire to exercise or spend much time outside. When at home, in HI, I am motivated to look and feel good. I love to be healthily out in the sun, and on the ocean, or even just walking up and down Kihei Rd or the beach walk to Wailea.

    I am incredibly stressed when not at home. My job/s and obligations seems to be never-ending, and there seems to be never enough time to get them all done. However, when I am in HI, I laughingly find myself lazing around and procrastinating about work and other requisites. The interesting thing is that I get them all done well and effectively, and there is always enough time. I even have time to watch the sunsets from Kam III. All of the things that I stress over on the mainland seem to be stress-free in HI.

    6. Lifestyle
    See #2 and #5

    7. Family / Community
    Upon arriving in HI, I fell in love with everything HI`ian. I learned the language, the music, the lifestyle, and the hula (I have a long background in theatre). My friends swore that I was a reborn HI`ian. One day, they took me to a kahu who spent a great deal of time with me. After some time, he left and returned to say that I was probably not a reborn Hawai`ian, but that I was very definitely an island spirit. He was very impressed, however, with my knowledge of HI and the HI`ian culture. He said that he feel ohana in me, and asked if I would take a Hawai`ian name. Of course, I was overwhelmingly humbled and excited to do so. after another brief absence, he returned, and presented me with the name “Anela Uhaneailana”. My friends gasped aloud, and I burst into tears. You see, during the entire 90 minute or so visit, the kahu had never asked my real name. He had said at the beginning that he did not want to know. My friend’s reactions, and my tears, were because my name is Angel.

    Yes, I have strong ties to family and to my island Maui, and to my spiritual home Hawai`i.

  2. Ooh and I forgot! We use scissors on those nasty centipedes. Cut them into pieces!! Less chance to hide. Props on the tongs though, that’s brave!

  3. Aloha Jamaica, I found out about your blog from Mike, he skippered our snorkel trip last week and gave me your card. We’re in Japan and have these same centipede, they are the worst bugs. Looking forward to reading more of your posts. Please say hello to Mike. Take care, Jonathan, Akiko, Leon, Luca.

    • Aloha Jonathan and Family,
      Glad you got a chance to meet Mike, and take a sailing trip on the Scotch Mist. Thanks so much for visiting the blog, and commenting. If people keep reading and tell their friends, I’ll keep blogging! 🙂
      Aloha, Jamaica

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