Nature: A pathway to longevity and happiness


It’s a beautiful day. Everything seems a little bit brighter now that our days are growing longer, and our temps are warming. There’s a feeling of “we made it through another Minnesota winter. How did our ancestors do it?” I couldn’t live in a region that did not have four seasons.

As the snowpack melts, little streamlets crop up everywhere. Although March is typically our snowiest month, nesting season is underway for some prominent residents including the Bald Eagle and many of our owl species. All these sights and sounds invite us outdoors to soak up the beauty and energy that only comes from nature.

Recently, I listened to a TED Talk by Dan Buettner, a National Geographic researcher, author, educator, and producer who coined the term “Blue Zone,” which refers to a geographical area where people live longer, healthier lives. Buettner, a 63-year-old Minnesotan, found that longevity and happiness stem from a well-being lifestyle-based originating in people’s environment—largely by walking 20 minutes per day, eating increased servings of nuts and beans, napping, or meditating each day, and finding worthy purpose.

To me, nature offers us an easily accessible pathway to Buettner’s suggested life-style initiative in many ways.

goldfinches on finch feederFeeding the birds:

  • requires a certain number of steps each day.
  • requires us to spend a certain amount of time outdoors each day.
  • allows us to visit with others within an interest-based community.
  • allows us to sit quietly and mediate on the beauty of backyard birds at our feeders.

Am I drawing a gratuitous link between Dan Buettner’s Blue Zone research and feeding the birds? Yep.

Feed Birds. Feel Better.