We Could Be Happier

From USA Today:

Something to smile about? Americans are not the happiest people on earth, but we do rank a respectable No. 17, among 156 countries evaluated for a new United Nations report.

The second annual World Happiness Report, released Monday, finds the highest levels of happiness in Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden, all in northern Europe. The lowest ranked were Rwanda, Burundi, the Central African Republic, Benin and Togo, all in Africa.

The report, from the U.N. Sustainable Development Solutions Network, is based on how people around the world rate their overall satisfaction with life, not just on how they feel at any moment. It shows that while economic conditions matter, factors such as life expectancy, freedom and social support do, too. The report says human happiness should be a more important part of how we measure nation-by-nation progress.

“There is now a rising worldwide demand that policy be more closely aligned with what really matters to people, as they themselves characterize their well-being,” report co-editor Jeffrey Sachs said in a statement. Sachs is director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, New York.

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  • smurf

    Americans seem to never have “enough”, to never be content. It’s hard to feel happy if you think you are not getting your due. I’m guessing that’s the big difference between us and the Northern Europeans. They know they have what they need while Americans always want more. Those in the poor African countries–often do not have their basic needs met.

  • I suffer under ADHD and thus under repeated bouts of anxiety and depression and I’ve learned something important understood by Kant and Einstein:

    the best way to become terribly unhappy is to actively search hapiness.

    Maybe scriptural references could also be found on this topic.

    Lovely greetings from continental Europe.

    Lothars Sohn – Lothar’s son

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    I would like to pint out that the 6th nation on that list is Canada! (Yay for us!)