Happiness is an emotional state associated with feelings of joy and fulfillment. Overall, happiness can be described as a combination of positive feelings that provide a general sense of satisfaction.
Annually, the World Happiness Report releases statistics created from data gathered in interviews conducted by the Gallup polling company with over 350,000 people in 95 countries. The premise is simple: individuals are asked to rank how happy they are from zero to 10 (zero being unhappy) and the company does not take into consideration any external factors while classifying the data.
Finland has been named the happiest country for four consecutive years with a happiness score of 7.809 (2021). Before Finland, the title belonged to Denmark in 2012, 2013 and 2016, to Switzerland in 2015, and to Norway in 2017.
Turkey was listed as the 79th happiest country in 2019 with a happiness score of 5.373. After the pandemic hit, Turkey fell to 104th on the list, with a happiness score was 5.132 in 2021. But what makes a country happy? Happier countries tend to have a higher gross domestic product (GDP), citizens who live long, healthy lives, more social support, freedom of choice and are more generous, with equal levels of happiness being reported
As the happiest country, Finland has relatively lower crime rates than most countries and a recently modernized education system. As a result, citizens feel secure and content. Finland also has a world-renowned health care system that caters to all irrespective of their socio-economic background.
Therefore, countries that are on the lower end of the spectrum are riskier to live in, have less social support, poor health care infrastructures and dated education systems. Countries that statistically appear less happy should take into consideration certain aspects of happier countries.
Moreover, countries could improve their quality of life by prioritizing missing aspects collectively and individually. No country can improve its shared well-being by having a pessimistic outlook on the situation.
It is important to keep in mind that if one country is able to provide a relatively equal, high quality and healthy way of life to its citizens, other countries must, to the best of their abilities, make an effort to achieve similar outcomes. Nations should prioritize long-term happiness rather than short-term happiness by establishing fair education systems, ensuring equal opportunities and setting up health care systems with concrete infrastructures.
It is also crucial to think collectively rather than as an individual by taking initiatives that will benefit the country in the long run. However, we must not overlook our personal mental health either. Many professionals say that having a daily routine, socially engaging with others, expressing gratitude, seizing the moment and taking time for yourself can increase happiness.
Additionally, things like money, status or how much we weigh will not contribute to our long-term happiness. Yet, evolutionary psychology suggests that humans are not designed to be happy.
The human brain is more reactive in negative situations compared to during positive or neutral events because of its negativity bias. This belief stems from the notion that our brains serve to protect us from anything that might put us in danger. For instance, the fear of rejection is rooted in the fear of being shunned from the community and dying without its support. Once our brains realize that being cast out and dying are unrealistic scenarios it stops focusing on the problem.
As humans, we should accept these fears, recognize our power against them, trust our bodies and minds, surround ourselves with positive people, stop focusing on small events or external situations, and start enjoying life the way we want to in a respectful and mindful way.
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