Man, did I feel happy.

For starters, I experienced sunny, moderate temperatures six of the seven days of my Thanksgiving week in New England. I explored new places with my son and daughter-in-law in Cambridge and in Gloucester. And I ate delicious food prepared by my girlfriend’s family, not to mention a few favorite local restaurants (Nick's Roast Beef in Beverly, MA anyone?).

Even with all the turmoil that is going on in the world today, I found myself feeling joyous and grateful flying back to Portland in seat 24E as I reflected on my week.

But what was the reason I asked myself for this blissful condition outside of my time in the Bay State?

Then something curious took place about 25 minutes into the flight. Amy handed me the November 2017 issue National Geographic pointing to the cover. I saw the lead article graphically highlighted was “The Search for Happiness,” written by Dan Buettner, New York Times best-selling author of The Blue Zones.

How apropos for my inquiring mind.

In the article, Buettner writes about what epitomizes the world’s happiest places. Much of his research came from the Gallup World Poll, 2015 - 2016. It's an annual poll where the organization tries to figure out what it takes to be happy by posing dozens of questions to people in over 140 countries.

Gallup discovered 5 categories that contribute to well-being. These include:

  • Social
  • Purpose
  • Physical
  • Community
  • Financial

When all was said and done, the author pointed to 3 countries hitting the high mark for well-being and happiness: Costa Rica, Denmark and Singapore.

All of which got to me to more thinking about my own life.

Because the fact is, I've never been happier even before the trip to the East Coast. And if I was to attribute it to anything, it would revolve around high states of satisfaction in those 5 categories.

Now the question is, how would you weigh yourself on the happiness scale?

1.       Do you have good social relationships?

2.       Would you say you have a well-defined purpose in your life?

3.       Is your physical health good?

4.       Are you engaged in your community?

5.       And do you have a path to a healthy financial well-being?

If you answered a strong ‘yes’ to these, my bet is you are one happy human. And if you couldn’t, well, you now know where you might do some searching.

Because even 2,400 years ago the Greek philosopher Aristotle said "happiness depends upon ourselves."