Just in case anyone needs further motivation to cultivate happiness, Elizabeth Gilbert reports an amazing true story.[1] You may recall that, in the 1986, a nuclear reactor near the Village of Chernobyl, Russia, exploded, leaving the surrounding area highly toxic with radiation.

The government evacuated the area, relocating its residents in what Gilbert calls “soul-crushing” housing projects in other parts of Russia.[2] After a while, however, Chernobyl’s residents began sneaking back into the contaminated area because they are happy there.

These Grannies and Grandpas drink the irradiated water, farm the irradiated land, and eat the livestock that, likewise, live on the toxic water and farm produce. They are not only surviving, but outliving their contemporaries who remained in the places to which they were evacuated. Most are now in their 70s and 80s.

Gilbert credits their longevity to their happiness. She describes them as doing “exactly what they want.” And what they want includes living in close, supportive communities sharing life’s activities, including plenty of laughter.

Have you fallen off the happiness wagon since I posted my series on the subject several weeks ago? I can attest to the fact that it’s easy to do. The evening news alone can knock me off that wagon.

This might be a good time to reread “Simple Steps to “Happiness,” “Happiness and the Power of Thought,” “The Flip Side of Thought Power,” and “Clearing the Path to Happiness.”

Watch funny shows. Laugh heartily. Meditate. Perform random acts of kindness. Focus on what you want, not what you don’t want.

Be happy and healthy!

[1] Grand[e] Dame,” O the Oprah Magazine, Sept. 2016, p. 43.

[2] Ibid.