Dan Buettner is a National Geographic Fellow and multiple New York Times bestselling author. He has discovered the five places in the world – dubbed “Blue Zones” – where people live the longest and are healthiest. Buettner now works in partnership with municipal governments, large employers, and health insurance companies to implement Blue Zones Projects in communities, workplaces, and universities.

“When I first set out to learn the secrets of long life, I discovered that the best way to do that was to identify the places where people lived the longest and then to study those places methodically, while making a special effort to absorb the wisdom of individuals who had lived long lives. I think the story of happiness is much the same. The best way to understand happiness is to focus on the remarkable people who rank themselves as very happy (at least an 8 on a scale of 10) and who also believe that they will be happier in the next five years — an optimistic condition that researchers describe as thriving.”

“One of the surest ways to increase your well-being is to volunteer. It can boost your happiness. Volunteers tend to weigh less, to feel healthier, to have less chance of suffering a heart attack, and to score higher in every happiness domain. Volunteering takes the focus off of your own problems and increases your sense of pride in your community or social network. If you’re not a volunteer now, start small.”