Updated February 11, 2019
I attended medical school at the University of Hawaii, John A. Burns School of Medicine. I have fond memories of the wonderful state, and for good reason; Hawaii is one of the happiest states in the U.S.
According to the Gallup-Healthways State Wellbeing Report for 2016, phone interviews were conducted with more than 177,000 people across the 50 states and Washington, D.C. to complete a representative sample population. The researchers asked interviewees about five different aspects of their life and asked questions related to each category:
- Purpose: Do you like what you do each day and are you motivated to achieve your goals?
- Social: Do you have supportive relationships and love in your life?
- Financial: Do you manage your economic life in a way to reduce stress and increase financial security?
- Community: Do you like where you live, feel safe and have pride in your community?
- Physical: Do you have good health and enough energy to get things done easily?
The categories of questioning resembles several of the elements of self-care I discussed in a previous blog where I stated, “Self-care is an active and powerful choice to engage in regular activities to reduce stress AND maintain individual short and long-term well-being.”
For the people of Hawaii, happiness and well-being is a way of life that is embodied in 11 native Hawaiian concepts. Apply these concepts to your own life and you may begin to understand why Hawaii is one of the happiest states!
- ALOHA is a value, one of unconditional love. Aloha is the outpouring and receiving of the spirit.
- HO‘OHANA The value of work: To work with intent and with purpose.
- ‘IMI OLA To “seek best life.” Our purpose in life is to seek its highest form. The value of mission and vision.
- ‘OHANA Those who are family, and those you choose to call your family.
- KULEANA One’s personal sense of responsibility and accountability.
- MAHALO “Thank you”, as a way of living. Live in thankfulness for the richness that makes life so precious.
- PONO The value of integrity, of rightness and balance. The feeling of contentment when all is good and all is right.
- AINA Refers to land and nature. People are entwined with the land, and so respecting it and living in it are of the utmost importance for the wellbeing of all.
- MANA Refers to a power or life energy that flows through all things and is highly individual. You can gain or lose mana in everything you do.
- NĀNĀ I KE KUMU The value of personal wellbeing. Seek authenticity, and be true to who you are. Get grounded within your sense of self.
- HO’OPONOPONO An ancient Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness which helps reclaim your personal inner connection with love, resulting in peace, harmony and freedom.
These cultural values guide the attainment of happiness and well-being at a personal level; and the positive effects are powerful enough to ripple to families and entire communities—which explains how an entire state can find happiness. The Hawaiian example proves that self-care is very necessary for your effectiveness and success in honoring your personal and professional commitments. When the elements of self-care are embedded into your daily way of life, you will be able to achieve more life balance.
Call to Action: Have you lived in a place where the cultural beliefs and values promoted wellness on both a personal can communal level?