Lessons from the world's happiest countries

The Social
Did you know that where you live may have an impact on your happiness? Yes, it’s true! According to The World Happiness Report, happiness helps us live longer, healthier, and more productive lives – and there are some countries that have a better idea of how to be happy than others.

The World Happiness Report is an assessment of the state of global happiness. It measures happiness and well-being in countries around the world to help guide public policy. In a world of top 10 lists and countless online surveys, this landmark report differs from many others because of its strong scientific rigor, evidence-based assessment tools, and international research team of leading experts in several fields (economics, psychology, survey analysis, national statistics, and more).

To determine how happy a country is, it is assigned a happiness score on a scale of zero to 10 based on 6 key factors: Gross Domestic Product, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity, and perceptions of corruption.


So, how can we Canadians get happier so we can top the list in the future?

One of the key findings of this report (which is consistent with decades of neuroscientific and psychological research) suggests that there are 4 key factors to focus on to get happier (no matter where you live in the world):
  1. Sustain positive emotion (try to stay positive as much as possible)
  2. Quick/effective recovery from negative emotions/feelings (such as bouts of sadness or anger)
  3. Increase empathy, altruism, and pro-social behavior (by caring about and spending time with family and friends)
  4. Increasing mindfulness (being mindful and allowing ourselves to feel "captured" by emotions like awe or joy)
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