It’s not the quantity of life that counts, it’s the quality of it too. In the end, all anyone wants regardless of their walk in life is to live a happy and long life. Some people think that you can’t get the best of both worlds and that you have to either live fast and die young, or wrap yourself in bubble wrap. But this is not true. You can live a very happy life full of experiences and still reach a grand old age to watch your grand or great-grand kids grow up.
Though many think this is possible thanks to advances in medicine, in actual fact, studies have shown that people living in rural areas not only live happier lives with lower stress, they live longer than their urban counterparts too, despite less access to the latest in medicine. This goes to show how happiness and longevity go hand in hand, so if you take care of the former, the latter should come naturally.
So, what do country folk do so well that we are lacking?
They Eat Real Food
It’s way too easy to order a pizza in the city or suburbs. But you won’t find this problem out in the country, where there are no drive thru’s to go through when you don’t feel like cooking.
And if there is a place to eat out instead of cooking, chances are that the food will be of better and healthier quality, and that you won’t go there as often as you would to Macca’s.
What we eat doesn’t just affect our bodies and play a huge part in how we age, it affects our minds too.
Buy fresh, natural ingredients, and start eating real food. And if you’d like to eat out, keep it for special occasions and skip the cheap fast food. Your body will thank you and reward you for it.
They Remain Active
Like eating healthy, staying active is also important for the long-term health of our bodies, and for our happiness. Our bodies did not evolve to be sedentary for 8 hours a day at work, followed by 4 or more at home watching the television.
Cycle to work if you’re close enough, or go for a morning jog. It will keep your body fit and healthy, and your mind clear and focused.
They Stress Less
Here in the city, whenever someone is stressed, you’ll often hear the expression “I just need to get a breath of fresh air”. Indeed, fresh air in the city is hard if not impossible to find. But our counterparts living in rural areas don’t have this problem. Fresh air is everywhere!
Is this why, on average, they tend to be far less stressed? Indeed, I think it is one them. Environment has a huge impact on our wellbeing.
Just the constant noise of city life, where unless you have sound proofed walls it’s impossible to really ever get peace and quiet, has a massive effect on our mental health. Our visual surroundings have a huge impact as well, where multiple studies have shown that being surrounding by nature lowers our stress levels, but being in city environments either has no effect, or is likely to raise them.
So, what can urbanites and suburbanites do? Although we may not have the ability to change where we live, we can at least change how we spend our time. Escaping the city on weekends, practicing meditation, or joining yoga groups, are all highly effective strategies to calm ourselves and not let stress get the better of us.
They Develop Strong Social Networks
Isolation is not good for anyone, but in city and suburban life, it’s becoming more and more common. We are social creatures, and need interaction in the same way we need food, water and air. Going without can have adverse effects on our mental and physical wellbeing’s.
Rural communities are not facing this same problem though. The smaller a community is, the closer that community tends to be, giving our rural counterparts a strong sense of belonging that we’re just not getting anymore.
So, if you find your social life is lacking, or the connections you do have are too shallow, go to local meetups that share the same interest as you, so that you can develop new and deeper connections.
They Have a Purpose
Having a strong sense of community, also gives you a strong sense of purpose. Knowing that you do what you for the benefit of the wider community around you, is a strong motivator to keep you going each day.
If your neighborhood is missing a strong sense of community, give yourself a mission, whether it is to write a book, or start a family, or whatever you’re interested in spending your free time on.
This new sense of purpose will motivate you to take good care of yourself and perform well at your job, as well as giving you an extra dimension to talk about with friends and family.
They Believe in Something
There are a lot of mysteries and unknowns in life. These unknowns can cause a lot of stress in our lives, lowering our quality of life and aging us too.
Belief in a higher power makes it easier to accept life as it is and how it comes, providing inner peace and a sense of satisfaction whatever the circumstances are.
Studies have shown that people leaving living in rural or even semi-rural areas are more likely to have a religious affiliation than their urban or suburban counterparts.
But even if you are not religious, you can still find something to believe in to keep yourself confident about the future. Believe in yourself. Believe in your own capabilities in getting through whatever life throws at you.
Even if you find this impossible at first, you’ll find that as you go through life and overcome whatever challenges life throws at you, your confidence in yourself will grow. And with this, your confidence in dealing with whatever the future has in store for you will as well.