People who live in blue zones such as Italy and Greece, are often studied for the reasons for their longevity.  Obviously the first reason is because the Almighty granted them long life.  But there is also an aspect of diet and lifestyle.  However, it is interesting that most diets in the various blue zones are different from each other so diet may not be the most determining factor. 

However, in the blue zones people tend to live in closely knit societies with lots of family and friends. They drink wine and they dance a lot and they are generally happy people.  Perhaps the secret is in their happiness.  They have a joy of life. 

When people live with true joy, their health is better. It is known that when people are happy, they have better medical outcomes.  Joy mitigates harsh judgments.

Americans are often not as joyous as other cultures. Why is that? One major reason is because American society promotes separation, materialism (shopping, more buying) and selfishness .   So people are not happy.  Everyone is searching for happiness. That is why so many people turn to drugs, liquor etc. to try to find happiness….but that is a false happiness. 

We need to develop an inner happiness based on our service to the Creator of the world and gratitude for all the blessings He bestows upon us.  Jewish people are called Yehudim, from the name of the tribe of Yehuda (which comes from the word hodaah, thanking Hashem).  So gratitude and joy go together.

But in order to really feel joyous, we need to do things to bring about joy. The month of Adar teaches us to dance. Get up and dance. Through joy all harsh decrees are changed around from one extreme to the next:  from darkness to light, from sadness to joy.

It behooves each of us to do more to create a happy atmosphere at home. Get up and dance. It works.

Let us prepare for Purim, the most joyous holiday of the year. Through our joy may our inner and outer enemies fall. And may the walls of exile disappear.