This week the Huffington Post, an important online news and opinion source in the United States, published an article “What Brazil Can Teach The World About Living Well”. Today we review some of the points raised in that article, and see if you agree.
Often we think about the negative aspects of life in Brazil—unequal access to good health care, poor infrastructure, corruption— and forget about some of the best aspects of Brazilian life, things that make Brazilians healthier and happier despite the problems.
The points raised in the Huffington Post article are generalizations, and don’t apply to every American or every Brazilian, yet hopefully we can appreciate some attitudes for both our Brazilian and American readers to consider.
1. Brazilian families stay connected
Even though the Brazilian family is changing—extended families often no longer live together—yet there is still a strong sense of family here that is not found in the U.S. There, it is normal, even advantageous, for a child to leave home to attend college or find a job far away from any family members, and over time, many Americans find their family ties become weak. This is a sad occurrence, as well as unhealthy. A 75-year study done by Harvard (among other research) emphasized the importance of maintaining family connections as a key to happiness and health.
2. Celebration is a way of life
Americans who visit Brazil are almost always amazed how Brazilians love to party and in general, give importance to having fun. North America, settled initially in the 1500s by hard-working, strict, and serious people, typically do not have that same sense of entitlement to fun and joy. But celebrations, whether Carnaval or New Year or one of the many regional festivals, are great ways to connect and let loose and de-stress. Americans have fewer such outlets, and can be over-burdened by a sense of duty to work, leading to more stress.
A balance between fun and work is ideal, and probably both Brazilians and Americans can learn from each other on this point.
3. Everyone participates in the mood-boosting practice of making music
Many Brazilians have memorized the words to lots of popular songs, and will sing along, either alone or in a group, when they hear their music played. This occurs much less frequently in the U.S. In Brazil, there is a stronger culture of dancing, samba, sometimes just moving together in groups making music both vocally and with instruments. All of this dance and music is very good for our health; not only does it lower stress and strengthen our bonds to others, but it improves our ability to think clearly and boosts our immune systems.
You can read the other points raised in the Huffington Post article here. As Brazil inevitably changes, it adopts some ideas and customs from abroad. But it is good to recognize the many admirable things here. We can try to import only the good, and maintain the practices and strengths that are healthy and working well here.
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Esta postagem também está disponível em: Portuguese (Brazil)