Who are the (surprisingly) happiest people in the world?

Who are the (surprisingly) happiest people in the world?
Who are the (surprisingly) happiest people in the world

For the third year running, Finland has come top of the World Happiness Report as the world's happiest country. The result might surprise anyone who believes that sunshine is an essential ingredient for happiness: the country sees only 8 hours of daylight during the depths of winter. Even some Finns think they don't deserve the win. So how accurate is the World Happiness Report and what's the secret of Finland's success?

How does the World Happiness Report measure happiness?

The World Happiness Report considers factors such as life expectancy, individual freedom, average income, the trust people have in government and business sectors, and the level of education and social welfare.

The beautiful Land of the Thousand Lakes is not the only Northern European nation to hold a position in the top rankings of happiest countries: Denmark came second while Norway, Iceland, and the Netherlands also scored highly. But while the Finns enjoy a high per capita income and an outstanding quality of life, they also have high rates of suicide and prescriptions of antidepressant medication.

Northern European people may have relatively high incomes, but stressful workplaces mean they also risk professional exhaustion. If you find yourself feeling unhappy and overwhelmed with negative thoughts, Bach Flower Mix 83 can help to overcome professional exhaustion and bring back your zest for life.

Bach flowers personal mix

Bach flowers personal mix:

  • Personal combination
  • Based on your symptoms and character
  • Bach flower remedy personally selected by Tom
  • Fast and good results
Discover how Personal Bach flowers remedy - Wizard can help you

How can we measure happiness?

How to define happiness and how to quantify it are two very complex questions. Is joy the result of individual choices, or does it depend on the way society is structured? Many believe that happiness is very subjective, a fleeting emotion we experience individually. But factors such as the higher incomes and social welfare of wealthy countries create a feeling of satisfaction amongst the people and increase society's happiness in general.

The World Happiness Report leans strongly towards a view of happiness as related to material well-being and the way societies are structured. While the categories it surveys are useful in describing the country's levels of satisfaction, they somehow fail to capture how happy people are.

By connecting happiness directly to income and social welfare availability, the World Happiness Report implies that poorer nations' citizens might be unhappy because of their governments' corruption or inefficiency. But many people from developing countries believe that happiness helps them overcome any social problems they might have.

And if you measure happiness in relation to mental health, why should 7 out of 10 countries on the happy list also be in the top 10 for suicide and use of antidepressants? Finland, Norway, and Sweden face more severe mental health issues than all South American and Caribbean countries put together.

Is this because the people of developing countries need fewer material advantages to be happy? Or could it be that they have religious beliefs that provide emotional support and deter suicides? These questions remain unanswered, but it's clear that material benefits alone don't bring happiness.

Satisfaction doesn’t equal happiness

Of course, income plays a role in happiness. The countries that score highly in the World Happiness Report have a median income more than 25 times greater than the most unhappy ones. But wealth is only significant in so far as it supports the basic requirements for a comfortable life. Once you have enough income to cover the necessities, more riches won't necessarily make you any happier.

Three years ago, Denmark was named the world's happiest country. But Danish researchers agree that wealth is not the only measure of happiness. The Danes are famous for their love of hygge, a convivial, cosy lifestyle where spending quality time with family and friends is what matters.

It all depends on how you define happiness. Northern European people are mostly very satisfied with their lifestyle: they have excellent health care, education, transport and welfare systems. But there are other ways of measuring happiness. Using different variables, Bhutan and Colombia have also been ranked as having the happiest people.

A parting thought

Joy isn't about the big moments in our lives, such as a much-anticipated holiday or special event. Whether it's a beautiful sunrise, coffee with friends, a walk in nature or spending time with your kids, moments of happiness are within our grasp if only we take a moment to appreciate them. It's just a question of changing your focus.

Being happy is a beautiful feeling, but perhaps happiness is too abstract to measure. Maybe we should take reports claiming to know the happiest people in the world with a generous pinch of salt! Whatever country we call home, we should always be mindful of the small moments of contentment that happen every day.


Sources:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/laurabegleybloom/2020/03/20/ranked-20-happiest-countries-2020/

https://www.sciencefocus.com/the-human-body/how-the-happiest-people-on-the-planet-keep-smiling/

Share
Marie Pure

Other articles


7 tips to go from loneliness to happiness

7 tips to go from loneliness to happiness

Everyone feels lonely sometimes, but with the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more difficult than usual to maintain our usual social contacts. Whether you’re confined to your home in lockdown, furloughed from your employment or working from home rather than going into the office, you may be missing the regular contact you previously enjoyed with family, friends and colleagues.

Read the complete article

Jump start your way into  Spring

Jump start your way into Spring

Jump start your way into Spring today. At this time of year when you feel energetic and vibrant and you want to turn your face to the sun with positivity and optimism, we have a range of informative articles to help you do just that! From a healthy new start, to improving your general happiness, we can help.

Read the complete article

Taming your busy mind

Taming your busy mind

Is it possible to achieve inner calm when you have an untidy, noisy mind? It takes practice. Try our helpful tips for taming your busy mind here. 

Read the complete article

Let's go! How to make resolutions work

Let's go! How to make resolutions work

It's the same every year. We start well by making some New Year's resolutions but end up ditching them before January ends. So you how do you choose resolutions you can stick to?

Read the complete article

How to do and have less but enjoy life more

How to do and have less but enjoy life more

How to do and have less but enjoy life more? Have you ever stopped to consider the ways in which you can do less with your life and still enjoy it? This articles aims to take a closer look at how you can consume less, do less and work less. Read on for more information.

Read the complete article

Do you allow others to influence your life (too much) Find out

Do you allow others to influence your life (too much)? Find out!

Don’t let other people influence your life too much! Find out now, how much you care about the opinions of others and how they influence your life.

Read the complete article

Banning negativity from your life Start today

Banning negativity from your life: Start today

Is life getting you down? Negativity can ruin your outlook and stop your productivity. What about banning negativity from your life? Start today.

Read the complete article

Coping with life transitions

Struggling to cope with life transitions?

Are you struggling to cope with transitions in life? Read our article on signs and tips for coping with life transitions. 

Read the complete article

How to deal with negative people

How to deal with negative people

Is someone bringing you down because of their negativity? Read our tips on how to deal with negative people and be a positive person yourself.

Read the complete article

Top 10 age-reversing habits

Top 10 age-reversing habits

From colouring your hair to whitening your teeth, there's a wide array of cosmetic options to make you look more youthful. But there's also a range of solutions that have been shown to slow or even reverse the ageing process.

Read the complete article

Free personal advice for your problem?

Are you unsure which Bach flowers can help you? Contact Tom for free advice.

tom vermeersch
Tom Vermeersch

Yes, I want free advice

No thanks, I will do my own research