Saturday, July 21, 2018

Happiness Comes in Waves

I'm going to live forever.

At least, that's been the consensus for a while now among friends and family. With the exception of getting mowed down by a bus while I'm out walking, everyone seems to think my lifestyle will ensure that I join the centenarian club, thus continuing to annoy others with my sass and optimism for decades to come.

Back in the '90s, I read of studies confirming that people who flossed daily lived two to six years longer and that day took up daily flossing after a lifetime of merely brushing. I seem to recall telling Lady G about my discovery and how quickly I'd taken up the habit and her responding, "Of course you did."

Mock me all you want, but I don't leave the house at night without having flossed. Just ask my brother-in-law, who was giving me floss brand recommendations at his daughter's wedding last fall.

And just in the last couple of days, Facebook friends have provided the latest findings from the medical science community, providing still more validation for my lifestyle choices.

Leave it to Gallery 5 (where I've seen more shows than I can count) to let me know that behavioral scientist Patrick Fagan has come out with a study saying that attending a concert once every two weeks adds nine years to your life. Nine years. When I told Mac this momentous news at lunch yesterday, she barely stopped chewing, instead deadpanning, "Wow, you really are going to live forever, aren't you?"

Seems that live music increases a feeling of self worth, closeness to others and mental stimulation, all of which go toward upping our sense of well-being. And here I thought that happy feeling I get when the lights go down and the band starts playing was just me.

And now I learn from a posting by the drama queen that neuro-scientists strongly recommend that we go to the beach frequently. Seems that the sense of calmness and peace you have at the seaside is now officially called "blue space" for what the combination of soothing smells and the sound of the waves do to your brain.

Well, duh. Since my parents first took me to the beach at two months old, I have known that nothing makes me feel as completely unwound and at ease as hearing and smelling the ocean. The interesting part of that equation is the absence of sun in it.

As I was pointing out to my favorite lake person just yesterday, a rainy day at the beach is better than a sunny day at home any day. Even when an umbrella is necessary to walk the beach, I can still take in the briny air. Even when a thunderstorm has interrupted an afternoon reading on the beach, I can still be soothed by the sound of the waves.

That's because science has concluded that it's a change in the way our brains react to our environment at the beach that results in us feeling relaxed, happy and re-energized.

So next time I'm sitting on the porch swing at the beach having poetry read to me, know that I'm doing it for my health. Ditto going to shows. I can't believe I ever entrusted my longevity to merely flossing.

Apparently, I'm going to need all three to stay healthy enugh to avoid that bus.

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