Happiest Places in the World: The Geography of Bliss

Monday, January 14, 2019

Are you happy or still in search of bliss? Do you know the recipe, how people of the happiest places in the world live? You would be surprised to know how significant a role the culture plays in your happiness. You are what your community is. The people you live with, the traditions they (and you) follow have a significant impact on your mental health.

Here in this article, you will read about some of the happiest places in the world and how they are what they are. And it’s fascinating to know that the citizens of even the all-powerful US aren’t the happiest beings. So, what does it take to be happy and how do you measure happiness?

Eric Weiner, in his book – The Geography of Bliss – tries to find out the answer. With examples, he is trying to communicate what it takes for a country to be happy and develop their happiness index. Eric is a speaker who worked for National Public Radio in various cities, and he also writes for various newspapers.

Listen to the summary at Blinkist or listen to the book at Audible.

How are the happiest countries happy?

Dutch have a huge happiness index thanks to their tolerant attitude.
Dutch have a huge happiness index thanks to their tolerant attitude.

The Dutch are one of the happiest people in the world, and researchers and happiness experts visit the Netherlands for happiness conferences. They discuss their methods and Ruut Veenhoven, a Dutch professor, even maintains a database – World Database of Happiness. This database has statistics from studies and researches from around the world, on happiness.

So, is it possible to define happiness or we count the smiles? Although the happiness index definition does have a money factor, most of the happiest places in the world have other subtle reasons. Research shows that rich are happier than the poor and the Netherlands is one of the wealthy European countries. However, their tolerant attitude also plays a role in being blissful.

Read more: Danish Lifestyle and the Secret of Their Happiness

Another wealthy one in the list is Switzerland, but they don’t talk about money, nor show it off. According to the Swiss, money is a roadblock to happiness. Instead, their precision in work and the passion for cleanliness, remove many causes of unhappiness. And the beautiful geography is also an advantage.

Role of spirituality in happiness

Spirituality is one of the main contributing factors that makes Bhutan one of the happiest places in the world.
Spirituality is one of the main contributing factors of the happiness of Bhutan people.

While the Alps contribute to the beauty of Switzerland, there is a happy country among the range of the Himalayas. Spending their days in peace and not-so-concerned with money, Bhutan is concerned about the Gross National Happiness.

The free education and healthcare contribute to their being content with what they have, and so does Buddhism. Studies show that spiritual persons are happier than others. The residents of Bhutan believe in their efforts and don’t compare their achievements and failures with others. They know that this comparison is one of the significant causes of unease in people.

Read more: 10 Beautiful Spiritual Places to Visit in Bhutan!

Being a spiritual person, however, doesn’t mean someone is happy. In India which is full of spiritual gurus, where people believe in miracles, also think that happiness comes from fate. For Indians, being happy is something you can’t aim for.

Experimenting with happiness

Iceland is another country high on happiness, the main contributors being their natural and social environment that encourage experimenting.
Iceland is another country high on happiness, the main contributors being their natural and social environment that encourage experimenting.

Another country which has a place in happiest places in the world is Iceland. They do what they love, and they never fear experiments. You will find many artists there and why? Because the culture is such that others encourage you to try. They know that all days are not the same and they accept the failures. So what if you fail, the world has not ended.

And while we talk about experimenting, the British even staged a reality show to know how to make people happy. Fifty people signed up for a 3-month training program to undertake activities to make others happy. But do you think it can make a long-term impact? Who knows. Happiness comes from within, and the surroundings play a significant role.

Does money bring happiness?

Can money really buy happiness?
Can money really buy happiness?

Contrary to popular belief, money isn’t a reason for being happy. Happiness isn’t a commodity that we can buy, nor is happiness a currency we can exchange. The US, for example, which ranks high in terms of economy, is low on the scale of joy.

While their wealth is increasing manifold, a proportional rise is recorded in mental health problems. Money increases their expectations, make them restless, and they end themselves running for more. They spend more time with their work, are never satisfied and thus, are a lot less happy. The USA performs poorer than even Canada, its neighbor. While the Canada happiness index ranks sixth, America is twenty-third among the happiest places in the world.

Read more: What Do You Know About the Scarcity Psychology?

Another rich but unhappy country is Qatar. Qataris are wealthy, the education and healthcare facilities are available for free, and they don’t even have to pay for water and electricity. And this absence of hard work and discomfort doesn’t let them have happiness. All they have is money.

Happiest Places in the World

So, what we know now is that the culture and environment affect a person’s happiness. There are happy people and also sad ones, and there’s no hard and fast rule of being happy. Therefore, go on, have a change of place, enjoy your life to heart-full and see happiness seeping into your life… forever!

Abhijeet Kumar a freelance content writer for aSabbatical.com
We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.