March 20 was declared International Day of Happiness by the United Nation back in 2012 when all 193 member states unanimously passed a resolution stating that they recognize happiness to be a fundamental human pursuit and wanted to expand measures of prosperity beyond just economics. The event is day observed around the world in various ways and the UN releases its World Happiness Report the same day, which ranks each country according to well-being indices.
Is Canada the happiest country in the world? Not quite—but we’re not far behind! We ranked 7th in the world, slipping one spot from last year while Norway took the top spot. There are six factors that determine a country’s ranking: GDP per capital, healthy lifespan, social support, trust, freedom and generosity.
There are various happiness trends that are catching on, especially in Canada. See below to learn more about them.
Quiet is the new loud. If you’re a parent (especially of young children), you’re likely wondering how achieving a little peace and quiet is even possible. Neil suggests making a contract with your spouse that schedules in family time, as well as nights out for each parent which they can spend as they wish.
Meditation is exploding, especially with apps like Headspace, Calm.com and 10% Happier. Studies have shown that eye-closed breathing increases activity in pre-frontal cortex of your brain (i.e. the part of your brain that’s responsible for focus and attention).
The number one self-improvement book in Canada is The Little Book of Hyyge
, which is about adopting the Danish term for coziness into our every day life. Examples include lighting candles and indulging in a warm cup of tea. And it must be working—Denmark is often one of the top countries in the World Happiness Report.
Retiring to travel
Retiring doesn’t mean doing nothing with your time. We just need the 4 S’s of meaning in our lives. They are:
Spending less time on devices
- Social (having friends)
- Structure (reason to get up in the morning)
- Stimulation (always learning)
- Story (part of a higher purpose)
Keep your phone plugged into the basement (or another room you don’t frequent) and avoid screen time during the last hour of your day. Also, airplane mode isn’t just for airplanes. Leave your phone on airplane mode to avoid notifications, which can be really intense and overwhelming.