Want to be happier? Pack your bags and head to Costa Rica. Consistently ranking high on the “happiness” scale, Costa Ricans know how to live. Not only do they report the highest life satisfaction in the world, they have the second-highest life expectancy … second only to Canada (insert big “hell ya!” shout out to my fellow Canucks, here.)

I’m fairly certain that his longevity is due, in part, to Costa Rica’s philosophy:”Pura Vida” — the pure life. This “law of the land” encourages the appreciation of life’s simple things. It’s about slowing down. Enjoying life. It’s about being grateful for your good fortune. For the people in your life. For your health.

juice-box

This laid back lifestyle– along with the abundance of fresh air, the beautiful beaches, and the warmth of the gentle people who call Costa Rica home–are just a few of the things drawing me back to this tropical paradise.

In just three days, we will arrive in Costa Rica, for the second time in 13 months. My suitcase will be light — just swimsuits and sunscreen, bug spray and hiking pants, and a Kindle packed full of must-reads — and so will I.

boat

I’m looking forward to shedding my expectations of everything. Much of the stress that follows us around is of our own making. We expect so much from people. From our jobs. From ourselves. We set the bar so damn high that the only thing that is guaranteed is disappointment.

When I visit Costa Rica, all of those expectations slip away. The clock ticks slower. The sky appears bluer. The food tastes better (and fresher!) I don’t expect anything. And lo and behold – everything wonderful happens. It’s amazing how much happiness and peace you can find around you when you stop thinking and live in the moment.

This time, when I zip up my suitcase, I plan on shoving in a handful of Pura Vida to take home with me. If the Costa Ricans can appreciate the simple things in life – every day of the year —  why can’t I?

costa rica sunset