What is happiness?

A recent article in Forbes magazine discussed the concept of what happiness is, and how different countries rank in terms of their overall life satisfaction. 155 countries were surveyed by the Gallup World Poll to find their citizens’ life evaluation score (described as their life satisfaction) and their responses to questions about how they felt about the previous day in terms of being well-rested, free of pain, engaged, etc.

Not surprisingly, countries that are economically well-off scored higher. The Scandinavian countries were among the highest ranked in life satisfaction of their residents. However, two types of happiness were measured in this poll, and the wealthier countries only scored higher in the first–the type of satisfaction about one’s successes and thoughts about the future. The other type of happiness is day-to-day and is reliant upon how people’s social and psychological needs are being met. Costa Rica scored very high, and beat out the United States, despite the U.S. being richer. This may be because of the tight social networks in Costa Rica that allow its citizens to feel satisfied about their lives because of their bonds with friends, neighbors, and family.

Happiness is difficult to define, but daily experiences greatly affect our ability to deal with stress and how we look at our lives. While this poll did find that financial success does impact life satisfaction, it is important to note that it only achieves one type of happiness. Surround yourself with people that bring you joy and remember that simple daily experiences can bring lasting life satisfaction.

For original article, see here

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