When my husband and I moved to Lewes, Delaware two years ago, one of our favorite “activities” quickly became frequenting local happy hours. Discounted appetizers and drinks notwithstanding, we found these gatherings to be a great way to meet new people, many of whom–like us–were retired and/or transplanted, enjoying life in Lower Slower.

It didn’t take long to discover that retirees here have taken happy hour to a whole new level. Often times, the bars are packed unless you arrive early, and–I am convinced–it’s not just about the booze and food specials. There is a camaraderie, a lively communal atmosphere that led me to ponder: can happy hours make us happy, and consequently, have a positive impact on our overall health? I say “yes.”

Much has been written about the health benefits of developing a network of social support and community to live a longer life. In Dan Buettner’s book, The Blue Zones Solution, the author identifies five “Blue Zones” throughout the world, that he refers to as “longevity hot spots.” One common denominator of these Blue Zone inhabitants is drinking alcohol in moderation (“moderate drinkers outlive nondrinkers”). Combine that with imbibing with a circle of friends and/or soon-to-be-friends that you encounter in your happy hour travels, and you just might begin to experience that sense of community, belonging, being part of something…that helps foster the kind of emotional support and well-being that could help you live longer.  Cheers!

 

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