Live Longer & Better? U.S.A. Does Not Make the List
by Amy Lignor
We are talking about wellbeing, here. Yes, ours is the country where “streets were paved with gold” and “anyone who has a dream, can make it here.” We have the open rules and laws and kindness to one another, compassion, great workplaces…oh, wait, this list is going on a bit too far now.
The U.S. takes hits for highest heart attacks and strokes. Seizures, high blood pressure, stress and anxiety that comes from not knowing or being able to care for the baby when it arrives without taking a pay cut, forfeiting pay for twelve weeks, or even being outright replaced if requesting longer. But there are other countries where family, wellbeing, and the state of both body and mind is a priority for the governments and people who dwell there.
Let’s begin with France. In their policy, which is aptly named, “right to disconnect,” the French government has banned companies that are a certain size (50 or more employees) from sending emails out on the weekends or holidays. In other words, the employees are granted that right to take the time off and shut those computers down so that families can be visited and not said ‘hi’ to on the computer. France states that this is their peoples’ definite civil right.
When it comes to America, stepping away from a computer monitor seems almost impossible. Burning out at work and causing stress – incurring both mental and physical effects – is a daily issue. Science actually shows that if people got away from the inbox they would reduce stress levels substantially, but employers are more interested in the work than staying healthy.
In the country of Sweden, not only new parents but also just “daily” parents are allowed parental days off. Swedes are given 480 days of paid parental leave to spend with their kids over the year, whereas the U.S. gives a mom and a dad a big goose-egg. Yup. Absolutely no days are offered where parents can receive pay and spend time with their child. The law is you will not lose your job if you take up to twelve weeks unpaid time off for a new baby. Once they’re born, of course, all bets are off.
You are what you eat? Well, Japan is known for having some of the healthiest diets, restaurants, and more in the world. And their people have diets that are not exactly what you would call restrictive. They are encouraged by the country to live on a nutritional high-grain, high-carb, low-fat diet, eating fish and soybean products. The foods available are many, varied and good. When you add on the fact that Japan’s people own the second-highest life expectancy rate of any other country in the world, enough said. When it comes to an American diet, the “Golden Arches” is still, after all the research, science, study and deaths incurred from high blood pressure, among one of the most popular “restaurants” favored by American citizens.
Moving forward to the Great Outdoors and having the ability to breathe in fresh air and work out in true majesty, New Zealand is the place to be. Even dubbed “the adventure capital of the world,” New Zealand and its many cities and locations are terrific for mental health and heaving off that indoor-behind-the-desk life from someone’s shoulders. When it comes to America, although outdoor enthusiasts are not rare, video games, television sets, and cell phones are the main choices of activity that all together do not help a person’s wellbeing like the Great Outdoors.
Along those same lines, South Korea – which is home to one of the most technologically savvy groups of people in the world – has found that technology has caused negative effects on hardworking people. Which is why the government made the smart move to sponsor many counseling centers with programs to help people with an internet addiction. The treatment is working and working well.
Losing sleep is normal in America. All types of stresses take that much-needed, and prescribed by doctors, eight hours of sleep out of almost everyone’s lives. But people in Spain know the power of the nap and the reality that sleep is definitely necessary to keep a brain and body healthy. Although there is no longer a government mandated “nap time,” the people of Spain don’t need one mandated. The time-honored tradition of an afternoon siesta will remain because, especially for employers, the short sleep actually boosts their workers creativity and productivity a hundred-fold. In America? That’s easy. Without our dependence on coffee, most of us wouldn’t make it through the afternoon.
In other words, countries out there know exactly the small twists and turns, rules and regulations and civil rights that should be allowed to their citizens that will make them happier and a whole lot healthier. America could most definitely take some pointers. Prioritizing happiness is something one and all should do. After all…you never know how long you have left.
Source: Baret News