What makes a nation happy?
Definition: The state of pleasurable contentment of mind; or contentment with one’s circumstances
The World Happiness Report 2023 tells us what makes a nation happy. The annual report uses a happiness index to rank 150 countries. The World Happiness Report uses a number of measures to assess what contributes most to people’s happiness: criteria include health, social support, the freedom to make life choices, and perceptions of corruption as well as GDP per capita.
Again, Finland has topped the list for six years straight. Denmark and Israel follow in second and third place respectively. I love how this year, more than in previous years, kindness and benevolence have been emphasized. The report’s authors write that “year after year we have found that generosity is a meaningful predictor of happiness.”
When we focus on kindness and benevolence, we acknowledge that there is a common ground that connects us all. This kind of kindness is not about giving things away; it’s about being present with people and showing them that they matter to you.
Being kind is about taking the time to listen deeply to other people’s stories, to let them know they’re heard, seen, and understood. It’s about letting them know you understand their struggles and pain. This kind of kindness is not only powerful—it’s healing!
The report is a reminder of the kinds of factors that drive societies towards healthy democracies, but how does one quantify something so subjective as happiness? What makes one person happy may not necessarily make another person happy. A person’s happiness is their own, and no one can tell you what will make you happy.
That said, there are definitely some things that have been proven to make people happier than others:
* getting enough sleep and downtime (it’s all about balance)
* making time for friends and family (your tribe)
* being grateful for what you have