It’s that time of year again, folks. The World Happiness Report was recently released and with it a reason for ever-competitive Americans to be, well, not so happy. The U.S. may not have made the highest marks as a nation but not to fret, there are lessons to be learned from the reigning champion Switzerland and its jovial counterparts such as Iceland, Denmark, Norway and (gasp!) even our mild-mannered neighbors to the North, the Canucks. That’s right folks: Canadians aren’t faking that cheery disposition of theirs. They may be cold but they are a genuinely happy country. Which begs the question, why should we (the unhappy cynics by default) care?
Well, as it turns out there are a plethora of benefits to happiness beyond the obvious “feel good” variety. According to a recent article in CNN, the happiness report, put out by Sustainable Development Solutions Network, found that,
People who live in the happiest countries have longer life expectancies and more social support, experience more generosity, have more freedom to make life choices, have lower perceptions of corruption and have a higher gross domestic product per capita…”
If that’s what happiness has to offer than sign us up. Am I right America?! Seriously though, the criteria for creating a lighthearted country are complex but certainly worth the effort. Science Daily explains that since the World Happiness Report began in 2012 it has...
demonstrated that well-being and happiness are critical indicators of a nation's economic and social development.”
In other words, it would be a good idea for the world’s leaders to take note of what makes a happy country and steer policy decisions in that direction. One of the co-authors of the report, Richard Layard, was quoted in The Washington Post...
our argument lying behind the whole report is policymakers should be making the happiness of the people their goals…”
It may seem like a no brainer. Make sure your country is content in order to produce more productive, constructive and creative human beings. However, there is a shortsightedness that is often apparent in the workplace as well as in our government’s prioritization of the all mighty dollar.
While money is an important piece of the happiness puzzle, it is not the defining factor. In fact, Sustainable Development Solutions Network director Jeffery Sakks explains to CNN that other components of a happy nation include...
Trusting society, having a government that ranks on low in corruption, a society where people are generous and volunteering—all of these are important for happiness.”
As we learn more about what makes a happy country happy and the scientific and sociological benefits of happiness itself, it’s important to remember that the beauty of living in a democracy is that we, the voters, are able to affect change within our own system. So raise your voices, Wellness Warriors, and let the powers-that-be know that we won’t be content until we’ve climbed to the very tip-top of the world’s happiness report!
Image via Flickr
Sustainable Networks Solutions Network via unsdsn.org
World Happiness Report 2015 ranks happiest countries via ScienceDaily
The Happiest Countries in the World via the Washington Post
Happy People Live Longer via WebMD